The NASCAR Cup Series will compete at Auto Club Speedway this Sunday (if the weather cooperates ☹). This track puts on a good race be the surface is worn out and it requires drivers to search for grip. Each pit stop will require four tires and we will see a lot of movement throughout the pack because of the high tire wear. This will likely be the last race at the two-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway and that is a shame. At least we have one more chance to win some cash in our DFS contests at Auto Club Speedway.

*We have a race with no practice, no qualifying and very popular drivers starting in the back. That means it is going to be very difficult to win this week, since everyone is going to have the same drivers. I plan to scale back my play this week and spend the money next week at Las Vegas.




The best way to predict the future is to analyze the past. There were three high tire wear tracks in the playoffs last year. I am using the data from the races at Darlington, Las Vegas and Homestead from the 2022 playoffs to see which teams have found speed at tracks similar to Auto Club Speedway and to see which drivers have been the best at finishing up front at these tracks.

Here are the average DFS points on the high tire wear tracks…




The race Saturday is scheduled for 200 laps (400 miles). That means there are 50 points available for leading laps and 90 points available for fastest laps (140 total dominator points). The trend in this race is to have one driver lead roughly 90 laps and score 38 fastest laps (39.6 dominator points). Another driver leads roughly 30 laps and scores 24 fastest laps (18.3 dominator points). A third driver leads roughly 20 laps and scores 16 fastest laps (12.2 dominator points). This is typically a two-dominator race, and we need to have these two drivers in our lineups. It will be hard to win any cash if we do not score the roughly 58 dominator points they score.

Practice and qualifying were washed out for the Cup Series and that means many of the drivers I was planning to start this week start in the back of the pack. My strategy this week will be to pick one or two dominators and then load my lineups with the drivers who start deep in the field.

The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race today are Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Alex Bowma, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell

The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley,



DRAFTKINGS MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats) 

 Finish = Finishing Points                PD = Position Differential              Fastest = Fastest Laps Led = Laps Led

* The number in front of the driver is his projected finishing position based on stats.



FANDUEL MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats) 




TOP-TIER DRIVERSKYLE LARSON ($10.8K / FD $14K), DENNY HAMLIN ($10.6K FD $13K), CHASE ELLIOTT ($10.5K FD $13.5K), KYLE BUSCH ($10.3 FDK $11.5K),  ROSS CHASTAIN ($9.9K FD $9.5K), JOEY LOGANO ($9.7K FD $11K), CHRISTOPHER BELL ($9.5K / FD $12.5K), MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($9.3K FD $10.5K), TYLER REDDICK ($9.1K FD $9K)






KYLE LARSON ($10,800): Larson has been the best driver at Auto Club since he entered the Cup Series. He knows how to search the track for grip and run up against the wall to pass other cars. Larson starts 15th Sunday so you may think his ability to score dominator points will be limited. Larson started 37th last year because their car failed inspection. All he did was lead 28 laps, scored 16 fastest laps, scored 13 place differential points and won the race. That was good enough 72.2 DK Points. He should have a similar race Sunday.

TYLER REDDICK ($9,100): Reddick is a lock for Cash Contest lineups Sunday. He starts 35th and he totally dominated this race last year. Reddick led 90 laps, won both Stages before a tire went down. Reddick had the third-best Driver Rating on high tire wear tracks last year. The No. 45 car should be up against the wall passing a lot of cars Sunday.

 AUSTIN DILLON ($8,100): The best tracks for Dillon are Homestead and Auto Club. He is one of the best drivers at saving his tires over the long runs. Dillon finished second in this race last year and he has finished three of his last four races at Auto Club in the top-10. The No. 3 car should be a lock for Cash Contest lineups from the 28th starting position.

ERIK JONES ($7,700): I was considering picking Jones as my race winner Sunday until qualifying was rained out. Now Jones will start 34th Sunday. That makes the No. 43 car a lock for Cash Contest lineups. Jones finished second in this race last year and he won the hire tire wear race at Darlington. He should quickly make it to the top-10 and score a boat load of place differential points.

CHASE BRISCOE ($7,500): Briscoe seems to be a great value pick for $7,500, especially when he is starting 31st. Briscoe started 28th and finished 14th in this race last year. He also led 20 laps and scored 9 fastest laps. That was good enough for 56 DK Points. I expect the No. 14 car to have a similar race Sunday and score at least 45 DK Points for your Cash Contest lineup.

ARIC ALMIROLA ($6,500): Almirola is one of the best “value picks” in the field Sunday. He always gets off to a hot start early in the season and then fades as the temperatures heat up. Almirola has finished 6th, 8th, 9th and 12th at Auto Club since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing. He should be able to finish in the top-12 again Sunday from his 17th starting position.




* I am going to gamble and play an all-Chevy lineup in my Tournament Contest. The Chevy’s took the top-four spots in this race last year and the word in the Garage is that they should have a slight advantage Sunday.  

KYLE LARSON ($10,800): I had to pick between the two Kyle’s as my top dominator for my Tournament Contest lineup. I will be playing both of them together in many lineups, but I will play Larson alone in this one. He won this race last year and he won the last race on a high tire wear track (Homestead last October). There is no reason to believe Larson will not dominate this race Sunday.

WILLIAM BYRON ($8,900): Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott will be popular picks form the back, but I will pivot to Byron. He had one of the cars to beat in this race last year and he ranks as the second-best driver on high tire wear tracks (behind Kyle Larson). Byron had the second fastest pit crew last year. They should be able to get Byron to the front and give him a chance to be the top place differential driver and a slight chance to score some dominator points too.

ALEX BOWMAN ($8,300): Bowman completely smoked the field at Auto Club in 2020 when he led 110 laps, nearly won both Stages and won the race. He looked like he was going to finish in the top-three again last year, but he had a tire go down late in the race. Bowman starts fourth Sunday, and he is one of my top dominators in this race. I doubt he will have a lot of ownership as well.

 AUSTIN DILLON ($8,100): I know Dillon is going to be a highly owned driver but there is go chalk and bad chalk. Dillon falls into the good chalk category. Auto Club is his best track, the Chevy’s should be fast, and he has Kyle Busch to help set up his car. Dillon should have a good chance to finish in the top-10 Sunday.

ERIK JONES ($7,700): Jones is another driver who falls into the good chalk category. His stats at the high tire wear tracks rank fourth in the Cup Series. He proved he can win at these tracks when Jones went to Victory Lane at Darlington last year. He is just too good to fade from the 34th starting position.

JUSTIN HALEY ($5,900): Haley was good on the high tire wear tracks last year. He started 35th and finished 23rd in this race last year. Haley also started 29th and finished 3rd at Darlington and the No. 31 car started 28th and finished 14th at Las Vegas. Haley starts 29th Sunday. He should have a good chance to move up 8-10 spots and be a great “punt play” for our Tournament Contest lineups.








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