2007 NASCAR Fantasy Preview: Auto Club Speedway

Sharp Aquos 500

Two Races Left Until The Chase

There are only 2 races left until the Chase begins and I’m sorry Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans but I think the field is set. Dale sits 158 points behind Kurt Busch for the 12th spot and is 166 points behind his teammate, Martin Truex Jr. who is in the 11th spot. That is a lot of points to make up in just 2 races. So, barring anything catastrophic during the next 2 races the Chase field is set.

My Pick To Win California

This week we head back to California for a 500-mile race that starts during the day and ends under the lights. This season it seems like drivers are winning in spurts and Carl Edwards is the driver to do that right now. Carl won last week at Bristol and had a good chance to win at Watkins Glen before he drove through the gravel pit late in that race. Carl has 4 top 5 finishes in 6 races at California and he and his crew chief are clicking right now.

California Front Runners

Matt Kenseth has won the last 2 spring races at California and finished 7th in the last 2 fall races there. This team along with the other drivers in the top 5 in points have already secured a spot in the Chase and are only racing for wins right now. Points don’t matter to any of them. A 2nd place finish is no better than a 43rd place finish right now because the points are going to be reset when the Chase starts and the drivers get a 10 point bonus for every win they have.

Jimmie Johnson excels at California during the spring but falls off slightly in the fall. Jimmie has 1 win, 3 2nd’s and a 3rd in 5 spring races at California but has finished 16th, 14th, 16th and 11th in his 4 fall starts here. It could be because this team was already guaranteed a spot in the Chase over the last 3 years and was experimenting at California.

Denny Hamlin likes the flat tracks and California is one of these. After a disappointing finish last week at Bristol, Denny will look to rebound and get himself another win heading into the Chase. Look for him to run up front the whole race this weekend.

Kasey Kahne had a great weekend at Bristol winning the Busch race on Friday and finishing 2nd in the Cup race on Saturday after leading a majority of the laps and starting on the pole. Kasey won this race last fall and finished 4th last spring. However he lost an engine and finished 38 this spring. I’m not sure that this team has the flat tracks figured out just yet.

Use At Your Own Risk!

Tony Stewart is great at Indy but struggles at California for some reason. Tony has way to many finishes in the mid teens here to take a chance on him this weekend. There are better tracks to start Tony at other than California.

Jeff Gordon will be looking to get back in the win column this weekend and get those extra 10 bonus points for the Chase. Jeff was runner-up to Matt Kenseth this spring and won here in the spring of 2004 but has been inconsistent here. He is another driver that you can start on tracks that he has a better record at.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has struggled at California throughout his career although he did finish 2nd here last fall. This spring Dale lost an engine and finished 40th. The way DEI has been having problems with their engine program lately this isn’t the place to take any of these drivers. A 500-mile race on a flat track is going to test an engine to the limit and I wouldn’t be surprised to see DEI have troubles once again this weekend.

Yahoo! Fantasy Picks

Group A

  • Carl Edwards (starter)
  • Jeff Gordon

Group B

  • Kyle Busch (starter)
  • Jamie McMurray (starter)
  • Kurt Busch
  • Denny Hamlin

Group C

  • JJ Yeley (starter)
  • David Ragan

Dark Horse

  • Jamie McMurray
  • Brian Vickers

Stay Away From

  • Kasey Kahne
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr