The NASCAR Cup Series travels to Auto Club Speedway this week for the Wise Power 400. This is one of my favorite tracks because the front and back-stretches have a lot of bumps the teams need to set their cars up to navigate and the corners are wide which produces a lot of speed. The car used at this track in 2020 had a tough time passing the leader though. Hopefully that is not the case Sunday.
STATS FOR AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
Auto Club is a high tire-wear track. It is a tri-oval, with a rough surface, similar to the old Atlanta track. I looked at the data from the races at Atlanta and Auto Club in the last four years and also took some date from Homestead and Darlington since they are also high tire-wear tracks. Here are the stats, sorted by DraftKings Points…
DFS STRATEGY FOR AUTO CLUB
The race Sunday is scheduled for 200 laps. That means there will be 50 points available for leading laps and 90 points available for fastest laps (140 dominator points for DraftKings contests and 20 dominator points FanDuel contests). We are going to definitely need the top dominator in our lineups Sunday.
I looked at the trends for laps led and fastest laps for the last 10 races at Auto Club since we do not know how the Gen-7 car will perform Sunday. The trend in these races is for one driver to lead 100 laps and another leads 60 laps. That means the race will likely be dominated by two drivers. My strategy will be to have at least two potential dominators in each DraftKings lineup because the drivers leading the race score most of the fastest laps too. The top dominator scores 55-60 dominator points. We will not win many contests without those dominators in our lineups.
* I am scaling back my play this week. I will only play half the contests I usually play because this race is setting up to be a wreck-fest. The Cash Contests are pretty easy to build lineups for Sunday, so I will play mostly Cash Contests.
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)
WISE POWER 400 CORE DRIVERS
KYLE LARSON (DK $11.6K FD $14K) and CHASE ELLIOTT (DK $11K FD $13.5K): I like both of these drivers Sunday but I do not recommend using both Hendrick Motorsports drivers in your lineup. The only way both drivers will return value and be in the optimal lineup is if they both lead over 80 laps and score over 55 DK Points. That typically does not happen at Auto Club. I prefer Elliott slightly over Larson Sunday.
KYLE BUSCH (DK $10.4K FD $13K): Auto Club Speedway is the best track for Busch finished 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 8th, 25th, 1st, 1st, 2nd and 3rd dating back to 2012 at this track. He complained about a vibration in his car in practice, but is must not have affected him much. Busch posted the second-fastest speed in practice and qualified third. He should be the top dominator if his car stays together.
RYAN BLANEY (DK $10K FD $11.5K): Blaney is one of my favorite drivers this week. Fords have only won one race since 2009 at Auto Club, but Blaney should have won the last race at this track. He was leading with three laps to go when he had a tire go down. This should be a breakout season for Blaney. The No. 12 car is my favorite Ford in the race Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (DK $9.8K FD 12K): Truex has a decent price since he dominated a lot of the races using the high horsepower, low drag aero package, but those races were with Cole Pearn on top of the pit box. I am not sure I trust James Small yet. Trues starts 11th and should move up 3-4 spots and be a top-10 driver for your contest. I do not mind saving some salary and taking a chance with his teammate Christopher Bell (DK $8K FD $8.5K) who starts 19th. Dirt track races tend to run well at Auto Club Speedway.
KEVIN HARVICK (DK $9.2K FD $ ): Harvick is a lot better at Michigan than he is at Auto Club but he will be a great pick Sunday. Harvick spun out at the beginning of practice and smacked the wall. The No. 4 team went to a back-up car so Harvick will start 32nd. I wish he had some time to practice, but I am not too worried about it. Harvick should still move up 15-20 spots Sunday. I will have him in all Cash Contest Sunday.
ALEX BOWMAN (DK $9K FD $10K): Bowman is good at two things… Racing at tracks were tire-wear comes into play and racing on the west coast. He won the last race at Auto Club and he also won a race at Chicagoland Speedway (another high tire-wear intermediate track). Bowman starts 14th and should have a good chance to finish in the top-10. He is a good pick for Cash and Tournament Contests Sunday.
KURT BUSCH ($8.8K FD $9.2K): It was not a good Friday night for the No. 45 team. Their car failed inspection four times, so Busch will start dead-last and have to serve a pass-through penalty. I am not worried about the penalty. There are going to be a lot of cautions for him to get caught up. Busch should move up 20 spots Sunday. He is a lock for all Cash Contests.
TYLER REDDICK (DK $8.4K FD $9.5K): Reddick may be my highest owned driver Sunday. His price is just too low. I expect a breakout season from Reddick so I plan to play the No. 8 car a lot while we are getting a discount. Reddick will be right up against the wall and passing a lot of cars. His 76 quality passes (that is passing cars running in the top-15) last year on high tire-wear tracks was 29 more than any other driver. This should be a good race to use Reddick.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (DK $8.6K FD $9K): If NASCAR truly leveled the playing field, we are getting Keselowski at a tremendous discount. His stats at Auto Club are second-best to Kyle Busch and he is the fifth-best driver at tracks where tires wear out quickly. The only reason Keselowski is priced in the mid-$8K range is because he is driving for RFK Racing and not Team Penske. Keseloswki posted the eighth-fastest speed with the eighth-fastest long-run speed in practice. Keselowski will be a good Tournament Contest play Sunday.
BUBBA WALLACE (DK $7K FD $ ): Wallace was not on my radar heading into this race and then he spun out in practice. As a result Wallace will start 34th. He has not been very good at Auto Club, but he does finish around the 20th spot. That will be good enough for 14 place differential points Sunday. I will have Wallace in most of my Cash Contest Sunday.
JUSTIN HALEY (DK $6.7K FD $ ): Haley did not get a lot of time to practice because the team found on issue with the car as soon as practice began. The worked during practice to fis the car so now Haley will start 35th. His teammate, Daniel Hemric posted the 13th-fastest speed in practice and qualified fifth. You would think Haley would have similar speed. He will be in most of my Cash Contests and some Tournament lineups too.
COLE CUSTER (DK $5.9K FD $4K): I know Custer struggled last year but all of Stewart-Haas Racing was off with their setups. Custer should not be priced under $6K on DK and $4K on FD. Custer won an Xfinity Series race at Auto Club before and was awesome in the Xfinity Series race Saturday. I will roll the dice with Custer Sunday.
DFS EXAMPLE LINEUPS
NASCAR said they are going to crack down on teams messing with the chassis that they provide. I expect there will be a lot of cars who fail inspection early in the season. When the top cars fail inspection, it changes the DFS lineups completely. For this reason, I will post the final picks after the inspection is complete (90 minutes before the race).
Each year I get told the same thing… I used your lineup and I did not win the big jackpot. That is because 25-50 other people copied and pasted my lineup too and you had to split the pot 25-50 ways. The lineups posted this year will be examples on how to create a lineup for the race. You can copy and paste, but just know a lot of other people will have the same lineup. (It is OK to copy and paste the Cash Contest lineup). There is plenty of information in this article to help you create your own unique lineup to give you a better chance of winning.
DraftKings Cash Contest Lineup
DraftKings Tournament Contest Lineup
FanDuel Cash Contest Lineup
FanDuel Tournament Contest Lineup
– No one will own Kyle Larson since he is starting in the back. I like a lower owned Larson
– Denny Hamlin will be my pivot from Kyle Busch
– Tyler Reddick knows what he has to do… run the wall and pass people
– Alex Bowman should finish in the top-8 and be a good value
– Is anyone going to have Ricky Stenhouse? No. I will take a shot in a crap-shoot race.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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