Auto Club 400 Betting News and Notes

Auto Club 400 Betting News and Notes

Auto Club 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

If you live on the West Coast and were looking for a NASCAR race to go to this season, you had better hurry because time is running out. This week’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca will be the third West Coast race in five weeks. Over the next 31 races, only two will be run in the west with next one being late June at the road course in Sonoma and then in November at Phoenix. It’s perhaps not the best scheduling made by NASCAR, but it certainly does give us left coast people a feel like were right in the middle of NASCAR season.

Brad Keselowski took over the point lead last week in Bristol and is the only driver to finish in the top-5 of all four races. When last season ended, the team I had initially thought would struggle the most with the new Gen-6 car was Penske Racing. Even though Keselowski won the 2012 Sprint Cup Championship, the thought of changing manufacturers, engines and adapting to the new car seemed like too big of a transition to overcome.

Well I couldn’t have been more wrong about anything I’ve ever written. Keselowski is running better than anyone and has adapted to the new car perhaps better than anyone. He’s currently 7/1 odds at the LVH Super Book to win the title this year.

Another driver that has made quite an impression is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’s currently second in points and has finished in the top-10 of all four races, something only Keselowski can claim. He hasn’t dominated any race yet, nor has he looked great in any of the practice sessions, but at the end of races, there is the No. 88 car sliding into a great finish position. If you think he can continue the pace, 12/1 odds to win the title sounds like a good price.

As for who should be best suited to win this week at Fontana, you have to start with Jimmie Johnson who has a 5.4 average finish in 18 starts that includes five wins. This is considered Johnson’s home track because he hails from El Cajon, Ca. He’s always taken things up an extra notch at Fontana because of all the friends and family in the stands. It’s also the site of his first Cup win ever.

With four races run on four different tracks this season, we don’t have a lot of data on the new car to go off of for this race, but we can use Las Vegas as the closest model. Although the banking at Fontana is much flatter than Las Vegas and it’s also a half-mile larger, the key ingredient here is power and speed. These new cars will be running at max rpm’s, similar to Vegas.

And if we’re going to talk about Vegas, we might as well talk about Carl Edwards who finished fifth there two weeks ago. Edwards has 8.7 average finish and won at Fontana in 2008. In 15 starts, he finished worse than 13th only twice. With the display he put on in Vegas and winning at Phoenix, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him makes his second celebratory flip of the season this week. nbsp;

Matt Kenseth is a three-time winner at Fontana and should be right there near the end racing for his fourth win on Sunday. We can expect his JGR teammate Kyle Busch to be there as well. Busch won at Fontana in 2005 while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, and has come close several times during his tenure with JGR, but doesn’t have any wins with them yet. He was runner-up last season and third in 2011.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
2) #20 Matt Kenseth (10/1)
3) #18 Kyle Busch (10/1)
4) #99 Carl Edwards (10/1)
5) #5 Kasey Kahne (8/10

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NASCAR Notes: 2013 Auto Club 400 at Fontana
Nascar.com

No Time To Rest For Streaking Keselowski

And you thought Brad Keselowski’s championship year was stellar. He’s wasted no time fashioning a follow-up season that has the potential to be even better.

Four races down, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has assumed the standings lead. He heads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by nine points entering Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles.

Fear the Keselowski? It appears so.

The 29-year-old Keselowski hasn’t won – yet.

But he’s done the next best thing, recognizing that putting yourself in position to win is the next best thing. He’s certainly done that so far.

Keselowski is the only driver to have finished among the top five in each of the season’s four opening races. A third-place finish in Sunday’s Food City 500 follows a similar placing in Las Vegas and fourths at Phoenix and in the Daytona 500.

He’s also the only leader of all four races.

Keselowski’s start is the best in the series since Jimmie Johnson performed similarly in 2005. A fifth consecutive top five would be the first time that feat has been accomplished since NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace’s 1998 start, which also came in a No. 2 Miller Ford. Fellow Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough holds the all-time season start mark of nine in 1974.

"Obviously, we're off to my best start ever. That's really cool. I'm happy for my team and all that stuff," said Keselowski, who stood 14th in last year’s standings after four races. "We can't keep our feet still. We know that Kyle [Busch] and Jimmie [Johnson] are going to continue to make their cars better. We have to keep digging and push on our stuff, too. I think we got a pretty good feel on the 2 team."

Daytona 500 winner Johnson had been the points leader until Sunday, when an accident relegated him to a finish of 22nd. Busch has top-five finishes in each of the past two races.

For Keselowski, Auto Club Speedway remains a question mark. His best career finish – although in just four races – is 18th in last year’s weather-shortened event.

Keselowski, however, has been on a tear when it comes to erasing poor finishes. He logged career track-best or matching performances at 16 different tracks in 2012, a season in which he won five times. Three of those victories – Chicagoland, Dover and Kentucky – came at tracks where Keselowski had not previously won.

Backyard Victory Proves Elusive To SoCal’s Toyota

Toyota has visited Auto Club Speedway’s Victory Lane 11 times in NASCAR national series competition. But never in NASCAR Sprint Cup. The manufacturer’s 0-for-10 record is frustrating for several reasons. The track is one of two in the series (with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) at which the NASCAR Sprint Cup Camry is winless.

Adding salt to the wound is that Toyota Racing Development, the firm’s competition arm, is located in Southern California.

The drought, however, could end on Sunday.

Three current Toyota drivers – Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch – are Auto Club winners, just with other nameplates. Kenseth won in Las Vegas several weeks ago and threatened to double up at Bristol before being collected by Jeff Gordon’s tire failure and subsequent accident.

Martin, the Phoenix Coors Light Pole winner, sat out last week’s short-track event but returns to the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota that stands fourth in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner standings.

Busch, second at Bristol, comes off consecutive top-five finishes and significant momentum considering that both performances were marred by pit road infractions.

Martin and Busch must be considered Auto Club masters, each having won in NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck events at the two-mile facility.

Neither Clint Bowyer nor Denny Hamlin has a NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in Southern California. That might change this weekend.

Bowyer fashioned four consecutive top 10s at ACS between 2009 and 2011, including a third in 2010. Last year’s points runner-up stands fourth in current standings after finishing fifth at Bristol.

Hamlin was last year’s Auto Club 400 pole winner, the second time the Virginian had been the track’s fastest qualifier. He has competed in 12 previous Southern California events with a best finish of third among four top 10s.

Golden State Drivers Top Auto Club Entry, Winner’s Circle

California dreamin’, indeed. Native California competitors not only dominate this weekend’s Auto Club 400 entry list – there are seven, most from any state – but also top the track’s roster of winners. Californians have won nine of the track’s 23 events. NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon) and Jeff Gordon (Vallejo) have won a combined eight times. Bakersfield’s Kevin Harvick won at Auto Club Speedway in 2011.

Johnson won at ACS in four of five championship seasons (2007-10). How good is Johnson at Auto Club? His average finish of 5.4 is best at a single track among active drivers with 15 or more starts. He’ll make his 19th appearance at what he terms his home track on Sunday.

Gordon won the Southern California track’s inaugural race in 1997, a title year, and again in 1999 and 2004.

Front Row Motorsports teammates David Gilliland and Josh Wise both hail from Riverside, a community 20 or so miles east of Auto Club Speedway. Gilliland, whose best finish is 17th, will make his 12th start. Wise, a series rookie a year ago, will make just his second appearance. Casey Mears, from Bakersfield, has opened strong in 2013 with a pair of top-15 finishes – most recently last Sunday at Bristol. He has a pair of top-10 performances at ACS. Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger, driving the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, will make his third straight Auto Club start with a different owner. He scored top-15 finishes with Penske Racing a year ago and with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011. Allmendinger qualified second for the old Red Bull Toyota team in 2008.

Kahne, Junior Looking To Pile Onto Hendrick’s Championship Haul

As far as titles go, none of today’s drivers can touch five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and four-time titlist Jeff Gordon. But fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have issued a statement to start 2013: Don’t forget about us.

With four top-10 finishes in four races – a feat that has launched him to second in the standings – Earnhardt is enjoying the best start of his career. Never before has Earnhardt started off the season so prolifically. In 2004 and 2008, he went 3-for-4 in top 10s. And in 2004, he was third in the points after four races. Those were his previous benchmarks as far as "best starts" go, both trumped by 2013.

Can Earnhardt go 5-for-5, and potentially claw his way into the points lead? It’ll be tough, considering his history at Auto Club Speedway, site of Sunday’s Auto Club 400. True, Earnhardt finished third last season. But in the seven races prior, he has suffered through an average finish of 25.0.

But then there’s this: Earnhardt went 12-for-12 in top 10s in races at intermediate race tracks (those measuring 1.5 or 2 miles), the only driver to accomplish the feat.

Likewise, Kahne has set a blistering pace to open the season – especially compared to 2012, his first with Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne slogged through some first-year jitters last season, sitting 32nd in points after four races.

Now, he’s seventh in the points after his win at Bristol on Sunday that tied him with Ernie Irvan at No. 50 on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list with 15. Kahne was this week’s guest on the national NASCAR teleconference. Click here to listen to and download the audio from the teleconference.

At Auto Club Speedway, Kahne has a win (2006) and nine top 10s in 16 starts.

Stewart Going Back To Cali … Fortunately

A bizarre start to the 2013 season has greeted three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.

Two decent finishes at Phoenix and Las Vegas have been bookended by results outside the top 30, resulting in his current points position of 24th. It’s only the fourth time in his 15-year career that Stewart has been outside the top 10 in points after four races, and the first time he’s been outside the top 20.

But it’s early. And Auto Club Speedway’s on deck. And, if worse comes to worse, there’s the Wild Card – and Stewart wins in bunches.

Stewart has won two of the last three races in Fontana, including last year’s rain-shortened event. In that one, the then-defending champion combined talent and veteran guile to steal the win after faking a pit stop and staying in the lead shortly before the race was called. It was the latest in a string of successful Southern California visits. Stewart has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races at Auto Club. His pre-race Driver Rating of 102.4 is fourth in the series.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Etc.

Mark Martin returns to the seat of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota on Sunday after a one-week hiatus. Brian Vickers drove it in Bristol to an eight-place finish, pushing the No. 55 to fourth in the owner points standings. … The No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet also resides in the top 10 in points – it’s eighth – despite a revolving door of starting drivers. AJ Allmendinger has run two races, and Regan Smith and Austin Dillon have run one each. Allmendinger’s slated to run this weekend. … Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Timmy Hill, who won NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie honors in 2011, will make his first start of 2013 in the No. 32 FAS Lane Racing Ford.

Rookie Larson Starting To Turn Heads

When NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson, of Elk Grove, Calif., returns to his home state for Saturday’s Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway, he will have a lot of people paying attention to his on-track performance.

After racing down and challenging Kyle Busch in the closing laps of last Saturday’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 at Bristol, Larson impressed many throughout the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage. His side-by-side racing showed how much the 20-year-old had learned in the past month.

In the opening race of last month’s inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach, Larson turned race leader C.E. Falk into the infield on the final turn of the last lap to seize the victory. Although he did what was necessary to win, the move drew the ire of some fans and those inside the garage.

In last Saturday’s race, Larson was again aggressive on the track, but instead of punting the leader into the infield wall, and possibly out of the race, he chose good, clean racing. It’s a sign that he’s already learned that knocking people from the lead or race is not always the best way to get to the front.

Through the first four races of the 2013 season, Larson has proven that he’s more than capable of winning his fair share of those last-lap duels without unnecessary contact. He finished the first two races in 13th place. At Las Vegas, he had to head to the garage prematurely after an accident left him 18 laps shy of the checkered flag.

With the series off to California, Larson sits ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide standings, 49 points behind leader Sam Hornish Jr. In the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, Larson is second behind Alex Bowman, who is eighth in the standings (-47) after two top-10 finishes.

"I’ve done a lot of traveling over the past couple years, so it will be nice to come back to California and Auto Club Speedway," Larson said. "It’s always nice to come home and race in your home state."

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Auto Club 400 Chassis Selections

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.

#2-Brad Keselowski: and the #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team will race chassis PRS-843 at Auto Club Speedway, a brand new chassis for 2013. The backup chassis is PRS-847, also a brand new chassis for 2013.

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis and the #5 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-763 for Sunday's event at Fontana. Kahne last raced this car at the Charlotte test session in January. In 16 Cup starts at Fontana, Kahne has recorded one win, four top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He lined up from the pole position in 2004 for his first Cup start at the two-mile track and has gone on to earn nine more top-10 starting spots. Kahne enters Sunday's race with an average start of 10.2 and an average finish of 14.9 at the two-mile track.

#7-Dave Blaney chassis not reported on race preview.

#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.

#10-Danica Patrick will pilot chassis No. 10-781, a new car that has only seen testing in a wind tunnel. The Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, will mark Danica Patrick¡¦s 15th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and her first at Fontana.

#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-708 debuted in May 2012 in the Southern 500 at Darlington where Stewart rallied Chassis No. 14-708 from its 17th-place starting spot to finish third. Its second start came in June at Dover. It endured a much different outing, qualifying 29th and finishing 25th, 69 laps down after getting caught up in a 12-car accident on lap 10. With new sheetmetal all around, Chassis No. 14-708 returned to the concrete for its third career start in August for the night race at Bristol. There, the car rallied from being a lap down in 34th place early in the race to vying for the lead with Matt Kenseth on lap 333. Stewart and Kenseth banged fenders and crashed, whereupon Stewart threw his helmet with pinpoint accuracy at Kenseth's car. The resulting 27th-place finish was at least offset by the "10" Stewart received from the Bristol crowd. Chassis No. 14-708 made its fourth career start and second at Dover in September. Its struggles on concrete persisted, as it qualified 24th and finished three laps down in 20th. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-708 returns to racing this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Primary chassis No. 758 is new. It's the first new 2013 Gen6 specific chassis to be raced by MWR. The backup chassis (No. 724) raced to top-five finishes at Bristol (fourth) in March and Dover (fifth) in June. It also finished seventh at Bristol in August, tested at Charlotte in January 2013 and served as backup in Las Vegas.

#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M Window Film Ford Fusion team will bring Primary Chassis RK-817, which was slated to run the 2012 season finale at Homestead, but an accident in practice took the winning chassis out of the race. RK-817 made its debut in 2012 at Indy with a third-place finish. After that 817 went on to win Michigan, then a 13th-place finish at Chicago, followed by a fourth-place run at Charlotte. The backup Chassis RK-809 last ran at Texas and finished 10th.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 NOS Racing team will be using RK-815 at Auto Club Speedway and last ran at Martinsville in 2012 and finished 18th as the #99 car. Chassis RK-815 is a chassis that the #99 team ran various times in 2012. It is the same chassis that Stenhouse and the #17 team tested with in Las Vegas. The backup Chassis RK-811 raced various times in 2012 by the #99 team, it's last race ay Phoenix in 2012, finishing 11th.

#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.

#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.

#22-Joey Logano: and the #22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford Fusion team will race chassis PRS-846 at Auto Club Speedway, a brand new chassis for 2013. The backup chassis is PRS-844, also a brand new chassis for 2013.

#24-Jeff Gordon: chassis not reported on race preview.

#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 414 at Auto Club Speedway. This #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevy SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable this season. Menard has 10 starts at Auto Club Speedway. His best start of 15th and best finish of 16th both came in 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 2,241 of 2,279 laps attempted (98.3%) at the two-mile oval, leading three of them.

#29-Kevin Harvick: will pilot chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Auto Club 400. Harvick last ran this Jimmy John's RCR machine to an eighth-place finish during the 2012 season-finale event at Homestead. Harvick will make his 20th-career Sprint Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday afternoon in front of a hometown crowd. The California native went to Victory Lane in 2011 and has earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Throughout the years, Harvick has completed 98.4% (4,463 of 4,534) of the laps contested, with 60 laps led.

#31-Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 416 this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. This is a brand new #31 Caterpillar Chevy that will see its first on-track action during Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session. Burton has 23 starts at Auto Club Speedway with one pole award (1999), six top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes and led 127 laps. Johnson Machinery will be featured on the deck lid of the #31 Caterpillar Chevy this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.

#35-Josh Wise chassis not reported on race preview.

#36-J.J. Yeley chassis not reported on race preview.

#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.

#39-Ryan Newman will pilot Chassis No. 39-748 at Auto Club Speedway. This chassis debuted at Texas last November, where Newman was able to overcome his starting position of 36th and a loose right-front wheel that dropped him from the top-10 to 25th with just 110 laps remaining to record a 12th-place finish. Since then, Chassis No. 39-748 has been outfitted with a new front clip and a Chevrolet SS body and will see its first laps of the season this weekend at Fontana.

#42-Juan Pablo Montoya: chassis not reported on race preview.

#43-Aric Almirola:: The #43 Farmland team has prepared chassis No. 839 for California. The team built the chassis in the off-season and used it at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway test.

#47-Bobby Labonte chassis not reported on race preview.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: will drive a new chassis, No. 784, at Auto Club Speedway. Chassis No. 720 serves as the backup, a car that won twice in 2012.

.#55-Mark Martin: will drive MWR chassis 759 at Auto Club Speedway and the backup will be chassis 720.

#56-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.

#78-Kurt Busch chassis not reported on race preview.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.:crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716 for this weekend's 400-mile event at Auto Club Speedway. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 10th-place finish last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 20 Sprint Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway, Earnhardt has scored four top-five finishes and five top-10s. He recorded a career-best runner-up finish at the Fontana, Calif., racetrack in September 2006. Last year, he notched a third-place result, his best in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Subway team will roll out RK-821 which last ran at Texas Motor Speedway in the Fall and finished 4th. The backup chassis is RK-831, a new chassis brought to Las Vegas as backup. Subway returns to the spotlight for the first time since the victory in Phoenix. This will be the second of Subway's six paint schemes for the 2013 season.

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Driver's Tale of the Tape at Fontana


Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Window Film Ford)


· One win, four top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 17.2
· Average Running Position of 12.7, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.9, eighth-best
· 215 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 1,024 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.400 mph, seventh-fastest
· 2,269 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), eighth-most
· 583 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 11th-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota)

· Two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 10.8
· Average Running Position of 13.2, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 91.7, 11th-best
· 1,003 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most

Kurt Busch (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing-Serta Chevrolet)

· One win, four top fives, nine top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 14.7, 13th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.2, 13th-best
· 90 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· 1,141 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.930 mph, 12th-fastest
· 2,127 Laps in the Top 15 (64.8%), 10th-most
· 631 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota)

· One win, six top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.3
· Average Running Position of 9.6, third-best
· Driver Rating of 106.4, second-best
· 195 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.427 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,603 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%), third-most
· 701 Quality Passes, third-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)

· One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 8.7
· Average Running Position of 12.3, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 98.5, sixth-best
· 153 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.437 mph, third-fastest
· 2,472 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), sixth-most
· 640 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)

· Three wins, 10 top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 11.8
· Average Running Position of 9.8, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.7, seventh-best
· 200 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 1,123 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.397 mph, eighth-fastest
· 2,502 Laps in the Top 15 (76.2%), fourth-most
· Series-high 715 Quality Passes

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)

· One top five, four top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 18.5
· Average Running Position of 14.6, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.8, 12th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.018 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,738 Laps in the Top 15 (62.5%), 13th-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)

· One win, four top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 15.5
· Average Running Position of 12.3, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.5, ninth-best
· 1,097 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.138 mph, ninth-fastest
· 2,381 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), seventh-most
· 632 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet)

· Five wins, 12 top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 5.4
· Series-best Average Running Position of 5.4
· Series-best Driver Rating of 122.4
· Series-high 456 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 172.113 mph
· Series-high 3,142 Laps in the Top 15 (95.7%)
· 708 Quality Passes, second-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)

· One win, four top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.9
· Average Running Position of 14.6, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 92.6, 10th-best
· 107 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 1,072 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.924 mph, 13th-fastest
· 2,072 Laps in the Top 15 (63.1%), 11th-most
· 627 Quality Passes, 10th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Three wins, eight top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 10.3
· Average Running Position of 9.5, second-best
· Driver Rating of 105.2, third-best
· 128 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 1,044 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.459 mph, second-fastest
· 2,689 Laps in the Top 15 (81.9%), second-most
· 646 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Mark Martin (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)

· One win, six top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.6
· Average Running Position of 9.9, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.7, fifth-best
· 146 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.430 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,207 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%), ninth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)

· Two wins, six top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.5
· Average Running Position of 10.1, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 102.4, fourth-best
· 216 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.426 mph, sixth-fastest
· 2,502 Laps in the Top 15 (76.2%), fourth-most
· 655 Quality Passes, fifth-most

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Re: Auto Club 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Auto Club
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Auto Club Speedway for Sunday's Auto Club 400. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com brings you our weekly analysis to help steer you toward Sunday's 200-lap event.

Who's HOT at Auto Club

• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers in wins (5), laps led (851) and average finish (5.4).
• Kyle Busch has a 2.5 average finish and has led 231 laps in the last two races.
• Kevin Harvick, the 2011 winner, has finished in the top 10 in the last five races.
• Tony Stewart has won two of the last three races.
• Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon each are three-time winners.
• Carl Edwards has finished seventh or better in seven of his last nine starts.

Keep an Eye On at Auto Club

• Kasey Kahne, who has finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts at Auto Club, has led the most laps (213) in the four races with the Gen-6 car this season.
• Brad Keselowski, who is still seeking his first top 10 at Auto Club, has recorded the second-best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car.
• Ryan Newman, (8.2), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.6) and Greg Biffle (9.2) each are ranked in the top five in average finish among all drivers in the last five races on 2-mile speedways.
• Clint Bowyer has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts at Auto Club.
• Mark Martin, who finished 12th in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing last season, has finished sixth or better in three of his last five starts.
• Kurt Busch, who will make his first track start with Furniture Row Racing, is coming off his fourth top 10 in the last six races at Auto Club.
• Denny Hamlin ranks in the top five in average running position and laps in top 15 with the Gen-6 car.
• Martin Truex Jr. is coming off his first top 10 with Michael Waltrip Racing at Auto Club.
• Joey Logano, who will carry the race sponsors colors this weekend, will be making his first Auto Club start with Penske Racing. He finished fifth in this event in 2010.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Matt Kenseth
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Tony Rizzuti: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Joey Logano

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Bristol unless noted)

Brad Keselowski: Auto Club is one of two tracks on the schedule he's yet to score a top 10; 18th-place finish is best in four starts; Will drive a new chassis (No. 847) in the Auto Club 400; Second-best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Coming off first top 10 in eight starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.6) in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same chassis (No. 716) that he last finished 10th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway; Fifth-best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car.

Jimmie Johnson: Leads all drivers in wins (5) and laps led (851); 3.3 average finish in the last 10 races; Will debut a new chassis (No. 784) in the Auto Club 400; Best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car.

Clint Bowyer: Finished 13th in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing last season; Has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.6) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).; Will drive a new chassis (No. 758) in the Auto Club 400.

Greg Biffle: Coming off sixth top 10 in 18 starts; Winner of the 2005 spring race; Third-best average finish (9.2) in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same chassis (No. 817) that he finished fifth with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: Last of four top 10s in 12 starts came in the 2010 fall race; 18.4 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Kasey Kahne: Finished 14th in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports last season; Winner of the 2006 summer race; 17.0 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Fourth-best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same chassis (No. 763) that he tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway in January.

Carl Edwards: Winner of this event in 2008; Coming off 12th top 10 in 15 starts; 12.6 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same chassis (No. 821) that Matt Kenseth drove to a fourth-place finish last all at Texas Motor Speedway.

Paul Menard: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in 10 starts; 16.0 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will drive a new chassis (No. 414) in the Auto Club 400.

Kyle Busch: Posted a 2.5 average finish and has led a total of 231 laps in his last two starts; Won the 2005 summer race with Hendrick Motorsports; Tied for the fifth-best average finish (10.2) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: Making first track start in the Sprint Cup Series; Will return in the same chassis (No. 815) that Carl Edwards drover to an 18th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway.

Joey Logano: 17.5 average finish in six starts; Finished fifth in this event in 2010 with Joe Gibbs Racing; 25.8 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will drive a new chassis (No. 844) in the Auto Club 400 in his first track start with Penske Racing.

Matt Kenseth: Three-time winner; Last win came in this event in 2009; Making first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing; Fourth-best average finish (6.0) in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Third-best driver rating in the first four races with the Gen-6 car.

Jamie McMurray: Two poles and a 22.3 average finish in last four starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of five top 10s in 17 starts came in this event in 2006; 20.4 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Marcos Ambrose: Has yet to finish inside the top 20 in seven starts; Coming off best finish in 21st; 17.0 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Kurt Busch: Coming off ninth top 10 in 19 starts; Making first track start with Furniture Row Racing; Winner of this event in 2003 with Roush Racing; 22.8 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Kevin Harvick: Winner of this event in 2011; Has finished in the top 10 in last five starts; 13.2 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same chassis (No. 378) that he finished eighth with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr: Coming off third top 10 in 12 starts; 21.5 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 15.0 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Mark Martin: Started third and finished 12th last year in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing; Has finished sixth or better in three of his last five starts; Winner of the 1998 race with Roush Racing; 17.8 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Aric Almirola: Has yet to finish inside the top 20 in five starts; 20.7 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same chassis (No. 839) that he tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Re: Auto Club 400 Betting News and Notes

Auto Club 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

Mark Martin was fastest in the final practice session at Auto Club Speedway Saturday the final chance for the 43 drivers and crews to maximize speed before Sunday's Auto Club 400. Martin not only had the fastest individual lap (183.351) during happy hour, but he was also fastest in five and 10-consecutive lap averages. Martin is a past winner at the roomy two-mile track, but it came in 1998, the second Cup race ever held at Fontana.

Toyotas led the way with the top three times during happy hour. Martin's MWR teammate Clint Bowyer was second fastest, followed by JGR's Matt Kenseth. Jimmie Johnson was the fastest Chevy with the fourth quickest lap, followed by Brad Keselowski's Ford in fifth.

Although Las Vegas and California are two completely different tracks, they are both downforce tracks, and a lot of what was learned at Las Vegas can be applied this week for the still-unknown Gen-6 car. Three-time Fontana winner Matt Kenseth stole the Las Vegas win two weeks ago and gets high marks this week because of it. It also helps that Kenseth is pretty fast as well.

Johnson hasn't struck fear into the rest of the field yet this season in his Gen-6 car, but his Fontana resume might do it alone. The El Cajon, Ca. native is a five-time winner at his home track with a track-best 5.4 average finish in 18 starts.

Overall, despite's Johnson's record, it looks like the Toyotas will be tough to beat on Sunday.

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