The Cup Series will travel back to California this weekend to compete at Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR removed this track from the schedule last year, but they decided to give the two-mile track one more run before it is replaced by a short-track, similar to Bristol. The racing is usually pretty good at Auto Club because drivers can search the track for grip. It will be interesting to see how the Gen-7 car performs in the Wise Power 400 Sunday, but I expect we will like what we see.
Fantasy Live Strategy
The Fantasy Live picks got off to a hot start, mostly because of the strategy that was used for the race. I decided to stack the Fords in my lineup and it worked. I have a different strategy this week which should give us a good chance to score well.
No one really knows what to expect this week because the Gen-7 car has not been tested on a two-mile oval. The teams only had 15-minutes to “shake-down” the car in practice. There were a lot of spins in practice but I the drivers will not push the cars as hard as they did in qualifying. I am using the drivers who have a history of running well on high tire-wear tracks and looked good in the limited practice.
Fantasy Live Lineup
Kyle Busch (10): It doesn’t matter what car is used at Auto Club Speedway this week. Busch could drive a dump truck to Victory Lane at this track. He finished 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 8th, 25th, 1st, 1st, 2nd and 3rd dating back to 2012 at this track. . Rowdy posted the second-fastest speed and qualified third. Auto Club is the best track for Busch so it would be a good idea to have him in your lineups.
Denny Hamlin (10): If you like drivers who are consistent, you may want to use Hamlin Sunday. He has finished 5th, 2nd, 6th, 6th, 2nd, 11th, 7th, 8th, 12th and 6th in his last 10 races on the two-mile ovals. There are no wins in those races, but he did lead laps in nine of the 10 races. Hamlin posted thefastest speed in practice and qualified fourth. He is a safe pick for a top-five finish Sunday.
Ryan Blaney (10): The track most similar to Auto Club is Michigan International Speedway. Roger Penske designed both track to be the same and his cars always run well at these tracks. Blaney won the race at Michigan last year and he finished seven of the last 10 races on the two-mile ovals in the top-10. Blaney was leading this race with three laps left in 2020 before he had a tire vibration. He also won at Atlanta last year (another high tire-wear track). Blaney will have a good chance to win Sunday.
Joey Logano (10): There is a lot to like about Logano Sunday. He always starts off the season on a hot streak and that seems to be the case again this year. Logano also has a history of running well on the two-mile ovals. He won at Michigan in 2019, 2016 and 2013. His average finishing position in his last six races at Auto Club Speedway is 5th. Logano posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice and he looked like he was going to win the pole until he hit a bump and spun out in qualifying. Team Penske has won all of the races so far in the Gen-7 car. Logano should have a good chance to win Sunday.
Chase Elliott (10): I need to save six allocations with Elliott for the road courses so that gives me four to play with. I will go ahead and burn one of them this week. Elliott has the best average finishing position on the two-mile ovals. Elliott posted the fastest speed on the long-runs in practice and qualified eighth. The No. 9 car should have a good chance to win this week.
Garage Driver: Tyler Reddick (10): Reddick is going to surprise a lot of people this year. His stats on the two-mile oval tracks are nothing to write home about, but it is a small sample size. Reddick posted the third-fastest speed in practice and qualified 11th. The No. 8 car will be running right against the wall and should pass a lot of drivers Sunday. Reddick has a lot of upside, so I will have him in the Garage this week.
Fantasy Live has a new Bonus Picks section this year. Instead of selecting the winning team or manufacturer, we will earn 10 bonus points for selecting the driver who finishes the best in a Head-to-Head matchup. Here are my picks for the matchups…
Austin Cindric vs. Ryan Blaney (My Pick: Ryan Blaney)
Alex Bowman vs. William Byron (My pick is William Byron)
Bubba Wallace vs. Chase Briscoe (My pick is Bubba Wallace)
Erik Jones vs. Daniel Suarez (My pick is Erik Jones)
Good Luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing CheatSheet Pro
* Team Information from Jaysky.com
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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