The Driver Group Game picks have been good but luck has not been on our side. All of the drivers (accept Aric Almirola) were running well with five laps to go. My Group C Driver (Ross Chastain) got spun out and it resulted in my Group B Driver (Ryan Blaney) to give up the lead to pit. My Group A Driver (Kevin Harvick) joined him on pit road. This caution lost my team 56 points! Are you kidding me?! Well, hopefully we have better luck in California. The Auto Club 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox.
Here are my picks for Auto Club…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Joey Logano: I came into this race planning on using Kyle Busch but after the No. 18 car got into the wall in final practice, I decided I will go with Logano. The No. 22 team will have momentum after their win in Las Vegas. Logano also has a history of running well at Auto Club Speedway. He finished 2nd in this race last year and has not finished outside the top 5 at the track since 2015. Logano was only 16th fastest in final practice but his Ford Mustang was 2nd-fastest on the long runs. Logano should be a great pick Sunday.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Joey Logano 2) Kevin Harvick 3) Kyle Busch 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Chase Elliott 7) Denny Hamlin
Driver Group Game B Picks
Ryan Blaney: It has been a year of bad luck for Blaney. He could have easily won the Daytona 500 and he had the car to beat with 3-laps to go in Las Vegas. He is going to get to Victory Lane soon and it could happen this week at one of Team Penske’s best tracks. Blaney posted the 2nd-fastest speed in final practice with the 4th fastest long-run speed. He should score a lot of Stage points and finish up front Sunday.
Alex Bowman: I planned on using Kyle Larson in this spot because his history at Auto Club Speedway is so good but it is hard to ignore the No. 88 car this week. Bowman ran really well last week at Las Vegas and his team brought another fast car to California. Bowman was fastest in both practices and has the best long run speed. His race-trim speed was fastest than the other cars qualifying trim. When a car is this fast, you have to select the driver for your lineup.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Alex Bowman 3) Kyle Larson 4) Kurt Busch 5) Matt DiBenedetto 6) Jimmie Johnson 7) William Byron 8) Clint Bowyer 9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 10) Erik Jones
Driver Group Game C Picks
Ross Chastain: My Group C pick this week is a result of the rules for the Driver Group Game. We can only use a driver 8 times during the season. I know I will use all of my allocations with Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick. That is 24 starts in 36 races. We can get by at the 4 Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) with Ty Dillon or Michael McDowell. We can also get through the 3 Road Course races (Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Roval) with McDowell. That means we need to find 5 starts from drivers not name Bell, Custer or Reddick at the down-force tracks. Hello Mr. Chastain.
Chastain ran well last week in Las Vegas but he was spun out with 10 laps to go. The No. 6 team changed the power steering and the controls in the car for the race this weekend. The car is more setup to his liking than it was last week. Chastain posted the 11th fastest speed in final practice so his car should be able to run in the top 15. I will use an allocation with Chastain this week and save the rookies for tracks after they gain more experience.
* I would use Tyler Reddick if I had him as an option this week.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Tyler Reddick 2) Ross Chastain 3) Cole Custer 4) Christopher Bell 5) Ty Dillon
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
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