Chase Elliott – Chase Elliott will be a driver to watch at Sonoma. Last year on this track type he was a very solid competitor. Between the combined road course races he scored the 10th most points, had a 10.5 average finish and had a 12th place average running position. At Sonoma, he has two starts under his belt and his performances are vastly different. Last year he was a competitive performer. He finished 8th and earned the 10th best driver rating. Additionally it should be noted he finished 9th in Stage #2. In 2016 he had a forgettable track debut. He finished 21st and had a 20th place average running position. There just wasn’t anything to really talk about other than him being a low twenties performer. Last year at Watkins Glen, Elliott finished 13th. On Sunday I would look for him to be a low-double digits driver who has a good chance to finish in the top ten.
AJ Allmendinger – AJ Allmendinger is always a popular Fantasy NASCAR option at Sonoma, but in a way he’s also a “suckers pick.” Good finishes for him at Sonoma just haven’t panned out. His average finish is 22.4 and since 2010 he’s only finished in the top ten once. If you pick him look for him to be a 9th to 14th place driver and not a real contender. Last year at Sonoma, he ran well early and looked like a top five competitor but his race was far from incident free. When Stage #1 ended he finished 2nd. On lap 38 is when his problems started when he spun and Kyle Larson clipped him while running in the top five. After his spin he radioed his team and said he killed it. Then later in the race on lap 72 while he was in 16th he had electrical problems which doomed him to a 35th place finish. In 2016 he had a strong car but he got a penalty when equipment left his box. When the checkered flag waved he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position, finished 14th and led 20 laps. In 2015 he ran well, but his race wasn’t incident free. He started on the pole and consistently ran in the top two over the first 50 laps. Just after the mid-point while he was running in 8th he complained about fuel pressure related issues. That later led to him going to the garage to replace his fuel cell which led to a disappointing 37th place finish. In 2014 he had one of the best cars. He started 2nd and led 35 laps. Performance wise he was top five good but his race wasn’t incident free. Pit strategy shuffled him back to the mid-teens around the midpoint and while he was working his way towards the front he had contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and got heavy damage which led to his 37th place finish. In his four Sonoma races prior to that he had a 10.5 average finish.
Jamie McMurray – Jamie McMurray has been a solid performer at Sonoma. In 3 of the last 4 races he’s finished in the top 11. Over these four combined races he has a 10.5 average finish, a 13.3 average running position and the 6th best driver rating. Last year he had a very respectable showing. He started 2nd, finished 10th, had a 9th place average running position and earned the 7th best driver rating. In 2016 McMurray got a pit penalty and didn’t have a great race. In the event he finished 17th and earned the 18th best driver rating. In 2015 he had a solid afternoon. He finished 11th and earned the 10th best driver rating. In 2014 he had a great car. He started first, earned the best driver rating and finished 4th. Throughout the race he was a consistent front runner and his 5th place average running position ranked as the best. On Sunday I would look for him to be a low-double digits driver who has a good chance to finish in the top ten.