The MENCS competes in Fontana, California this week in the Auto Club 400. Allocations are very important in the Driver Group Game but this is not the week when you want to take a chance with a “sleeper” for your team. This race comes down to horsepower and speed. The well funded teams have it and the smaller teams don’t. So use your top drivers this week and we will take some chances next month at the smaller tracks (Martinsville, Richmond, Bristol and Dover).
Here are my picks for Auto Club…
Kevin Harvick (7): I really hate to burn another allocation with Harvick this week but he clearly has the car to beat this week. There is no guarantee that the No. 4 car will run this well all season so I plan to play Harvick while he is hot. I am sure that Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will catch up to him in the next few months. If we do not use him now, I have a feeling we will look back and wish we did when the other teams find more speed.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Kyle Busch 3) Kyle Larson 4) Martin Truex Jr. 5) Brad Keselowski 6) Joey Logano 7) Denny Hamlin 8) Jimmie Johnson
Erik Jones (9): Jones may be the best choice in Group B this week. Joe Gibbs Racing is very good at this track. Jones had a lot of speed in practice so I expect him to be fast in the race. He starts 4th and should run up front in the race. Jones was in the top 10 on all speed charts and he should finish in the top 10 Sunday.
Kurt Busch (8): The Stewart-Haas Racing cars have been blazing fast this week. Busch starts 7th and I expect him to hang in the top 10 for the entire race. Busch led 52 laps and finished 8th at Atlanta. The racing surface at Auto Club Speedway is similar to Atlanta so I expect similar results from Busch Sunday.
Group B Rankings: 1) Erik Jones 2) Ryan Blaney 3) Kurt Busch 4) Clint Bowyer 5) Jamie McMurray 6) Austin Dillon 7) Chase Elliott 8) Ryan Newman
William Byron (9): All of the Hendrick Motorsports cars failed qualifying inspection Friday so they will all start in the back Sunday. Alex Bowman had engine problems at the end of final practice. His engine was overheated and sputtering. I will play it safe and use Byron this week.
Group C Rankings: 1) William Byron 2) Alex Bowman 3) Chris Buescher 3) Darrell Wallace Jr. 4) Michael McDowell 5) David Ragan
Good luck this week!
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