NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Return to Auto Club Speedway

 
Well the Daytona 500 never disappoints, and this year was no different. In the end one of my sleeper picks, one of our rookies, Austin Cindric, took the checked flag. My other sleeper pick, Harrison Burton, ended up taking a wild ride which ended his day courtesy of Brad Keselowski. So will Bad Brad pick up where he left off last week? Stay tuned.

This Week's Pick Strategy:
Think quintessential wheelmen this week. This rough and worn track eats up tires. Only the best of the best run well here. Pick tried and true veterans, then throw in some younger drivers who aren't afraid to make some bold moves and take it five wide.

Drivers with Most Top 10s in the Last 4 Races at Auto Club Speedway:
Both with 4: Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch
All with 3 - Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney

Top 10 Average Finishes in the Last 10 Races at Auto Club Speedway

 

Driver

Races

Win

T5

T10

Led

AvSt

AvFn

1

Kyle Busch

9

3

7

8

564

7.3

5.1

2

Chase Elliott

5

0

1

3

5

14.6

9.4

3

Tyler Reddick

1

0

0

0

0

19

11

4

Kurt Busch

10

0

4

6

67

14.7

11.4

5

Brad Keselowski

10

1

5

6

87

10.8

11.7

6

Kevin Harvick

10

1

5

6

178

7.7

11.9

7

Erik Jones

4

0

0

2

0

16.3

12

8

Joey Logano

10

0

5

6

57

9.9

12.6

9

Martin Truex, Jr.

10

1

2

5

228

15.7

13.7

10

Kyle Larson

7

1

3

3

110

10.9

14.7

SOURCE: racing-reference.info
 
Recent Pole Winners:
2020 Clint Bowyer
2019 Austin Dillon
2018 Martin Truex Jr.

2020 Race Winner: Alex Bowman

Active Race Winners at Auto Club Speedway
Driver                     Wins     Seasons
Kyle Busch                 4         2005, 2013, 2014, 2019
Alex Bowman            1         2020
Martin Truex Jr.        1         2018
Kyle Larson                 1         2017
Brad Keselowski       1         2015
Kevin Harvick             1         2011
Kurt Busch                  1         2003 
SOURCE: NASCAR Media

The Likely Suspects: My Auto Club Speedway elite include Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Erik Jones.

My 2 Cents:  My no-brainer pick this week is Kyle Busch. My next choices are Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick, and Chris Buescher. I will complete my team with Erik Jones and Cole Custer.

Second-Look Driver: My sleeper pick this week is Tyler Reddick. This will only be Tyler's second Cup start here in the NASCAR Cup Series. In the 2020 race he finished in 11th after starting 19th on the grid. He is the type of wheelman that can make things happen fast. I expect Tyler to make some bold moves on Sunday.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones

Points to Ponder:
  • Five NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won multiple poles at Auto Club Speedway – Kurt Busch (four), Denny Hamlin (three), Brian Vickers (two), Jamie McMurray (two), Austin Dillon (two) and Jeff Gordon (two).
  • Kurt Busch leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Busch Pole Awards at Auto Club Speedway with four (2015, 2007 and 2006 sweep).
  • Nearly 42% (41.94%) of all wins at Auto Club Speedway come from the top five starting positions.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in runner-up finishes with three. 
  • Kyle Busch leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Top 5 finishes at Auto Club Speedway with 11 as well as Top 10s with 16.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 26, and pick your starters by 3:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, February 27th.

Enjoy the race!
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Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 15 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at frcs.pro. formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.



NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Return to Auto Club Speedway NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Return to Auto Club Speedway Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, February 24, 2022 Rating: 5

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