NASCAR First Look: Auto Club 400

It’s really hard to wait for me until Friday night to write about NASCAR, so we’ve decided to start a weekly preview article. Each week we will break down the upcoming race, post recent results, and throw out a few tips as well.

If there’s anything you’d like to see in this preview article, just leave a comment below and we will do our best to make it happen.

Track Preview

Auto Club Speedway

- 2-mile D-shaped oval

- 400 miles/200 laps

- Comparable to Michigan

- Track Width: 75 feet wide with 15-foot apron

- Turns 1-2; 3-4: 14-degree banking

- Front Stretch: 11-degree banking; 3100 feet in length

- Back Straightaway: 3-degree banking; 2500 feet in length

Weekend Strategy

Looking back at past results, there have been two to four people who have led over 10% of the laps per race. This week I recommend finding two guys you think can lead a lot of laps and finding four guys with place differential upside. Qualifying is always important, but even more this week. Below are charts that you can sort to get an idea of where the place differential guys are coming from.

Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are the two drivers I’m looking at the most for qualifying position. If either one of them qualify up front, they should lead a good amount of the laps on Sunday. They’re both very solid at this track, and they are the early favorites for me.

Brian Vickers should be back in the #14 car this weekend, though nothing is official yet. He has an average finish of 14.6 in 13 career races here and should be a good value play if he’s priced in the 5K range again.

Stats from 2005-Present

Top 5 Driver Rating

Denny Hamlin – 103.3
Tony Stewart – 103.0
Jimmie Johnson – 100.8
Brad Keselowski – 99.8
Kyle Busch – 97.2

Top 5 Average Running Position

Chase Elliott – 10.206 (1 Race)
Denny Hamlin – 11.093
Brad Keselowski – 11.263
Kevin Harvick – 11.292
Tony Stewart – 11.371
Jimmie Johnson – 11.392

Top 5 Average Finish

Denny Hamlin – 10.2
Brad Keselowksi – 10.7
Tony Stewart – 11.0
Jimmie Johnson – 11.3
Greg Biffle – 12.4

Top 5 Fastest on Restarts

- Average speed of first two laps under green.

Rank Car Driver Team Avg. Finish Speed
1 10 Danica Patrick Nature’s Bakery 26.1 126.245
2 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s 14.2 122.424
3 23 David Ragan Dr. Pepper 26.5 122.415
4 38 Landon Cassill Snap Fitness 31.5 122.143
5 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite 10.7 122.075

2015 Race Results

Driver Starting Spot Finishing Spot Car
Brad Keselowski 8 1 #2
Kevin Harvick 2 2 #4
Kurt Busch 1 3 #41
Paul Menard 11 4 #27
Ryan Newman 9 5 #31
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 17 6 #88
Joey Logano 13 7 #22
Martin Truex Jr. 12 8 #78
Jimmie Johnson 14 9 #48
Jeff Gordon 7 10 #24
Aric Almirola 23 11 #43
Justin Allgaier 31 12 #51
Carl Edwards 15 13 #19
Tony Stewart 20 14 #14
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 27 15 #17
Austin Dillon 21 16 #3
Kasey Kahne 19 17 #5
David Ragan 4 18 #18
Danica Patrick 22 19 #10
Chris Buescher 33 20 #34
Jamie McMurray 26 21 #1
Brett Moffitt 30 22 #55
Casey Mears 37 23 #13
Cole Whitt 32 24 #35
Landon Cassill 40 25 #40
Kyle Larson 5 26 #42
Brian Scott 25 27 #33
Denny Hamlin 6 28 #11
Trevor Bayne 36 29 #6
Clint Bowyer 10 30 #15
Matt Kenseth 3 31 #20
Greg Biffle 29 32 #16
Alex Bowman 28 33 #7
A.J. Allmendinger 18 34 #47
David Gilliland 43 35 #38
Josh Wise 35 36 #98
J.J. Yeley 41 37 #23
Michael Annett 24 38 #46
Jeb Burton 34 39 #26
Mike Bliss 39 40 #32
Brendan Gaughan 38 41 #62
Matt DiBenedetto 42 42 #83
Sam Hornish Jr. 16 43 #9

Top 5 Lap Leaders

Kurt Busch – 65
Denny Hamlin – 56
Matt Kenseth – 43
Kevin Harvick – 34
Martin Truex Jr. – 5

Top 5 Positive Place Differential

Justin Allgaier +19
Landon Cassill +15
Casey Mears +14
Chris Buescher +13
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +12

Top 5 Negative Place Differential

Matt Kenseth -28
Sam Hornish Jr. -27
Denny Hamlin -22
Kyle Larson -21
Clint Bowyer -20

Top 5 Average Running Position

Kurt Busch – 2.225
Kevin Harvick – 2.340
Matt Kenseth – 6.553
Denny Hamlin – 6.708
Jimmie Johnson – 6.713

2014 Race Results

Driver Starting Spot Finishing Spot Car
Kyle Busch 14 1 #18
Kyle Larson 11 2 #42
Kurt Busch 17 3 #41
Matt Kenseth 1 4 #20
Tony Stewart 10 5 #14
Jamie McMurray 25 6 #1
Brian Vickers 19 7 #55
A.J. Allmendinger 18 8 #47
Paul Menard 30 9 #27
Carl Edwards 9 10 #99
Austin Dillon 20 11 #3
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15 12 #88
Jeff Gordon 6 13 #24
Danica Patrick 27 14 #10
Casey Mears 31 15 #13
Clint Bowyer 5 16 #15
Sam Hornish Jr. 13 17 #11
Cole Whitt 34 18 #26
Michael Annett 23 19 #7
Ryan Newman 16 20 #31
Reed Sorenson 36 21 #36
Alex Bowman 40 22 #23
Martin Truex Jr. 12 23 #78
Jimmie Johnson 3 24 #48
Landon Cassill 43 25 #40
Brad Keselowski 2 26 #2
David Ragan 41 27 #34
Justin Allgaier 28 28 #51
David Reutimann 33 29 #35
Marcos Ambrose 8 30 #9
Ryan Truex 39 31 #83
Joe Nemechek 42 32 #66
Travis Kvapil 35 33 #32
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 22 34 #17
Brian Scott 37 35 #33
Kevin Harvick 4 36 #4
Josh Wise 38 37 #98
David Gilliland 29 38 #38
Joey Logano 7 39 #22
Greg Biffle 24 40 #16
Kasey Kahne 26 41 #5
Parker Kligerman 32 42 #30
Aric Almirola 21 43 #43

Top 5 Lap Leaders

Jimmie Johnson – 104
Brad Keselowski – 38
Jeff Gordon – 23
Matt Kenseth – 19
Kyle Busch – 5

Top 5 Positive Place Differential

Paul Menard +21
Jamie McMurray +19
Landon Cassill +18
Alex Bowman +18
Casey Mears +16

Top 5 Negative Place Differential

Kevin Harvick -32
Joey Logano -32
Brad Keselowski -24
Marcus AMbrose -22
Aric Almirola -22

Top 5 Average Running Position

Jimmie Johnson – 4.437
Matt Kenseth – 4.573
Kyle Busch – 6.097
Brian Vickers – 6.883
Jeff Gordon – 7.262

About the Author

  • Stephen Young (stevietpfl)

  • The long-time host of the popular Morning Grind, Stephen Young, aka stevietpfl is also one of the top NASCAR analysts in the industry. The RotoGrinders lead NASCAR analyst is a multiple time finalist for the Fantasy Sports Writer Association Racing Writer of the Year. Stevie is also a top baseball mind who excels in multiple sports in DFS. He has qualified for multiple live finals including a 3rd place finish at the 2015 FantasyAces Basketball Championship.

    RotoRadio Interview

    RotoGrinders AMA

  • pdaddis

    This is incredible info to start with. Thanks, Stevie.

  • flames0099

    Great job! You should try throwing together a once a week show for nascar, like rotogrinders does for Golf.

  • dogg47

    pauly m feeling like he can actually win this week. value is there imo

  • latingrinda

    Good work Stevie. Don’t know a thing bout NAS but now I’m hooked. Haha

  • thejulionation

    Good stuff here nascar starting to peak my intrest.

  • johnnycatnip

    DiBenedetto is due

  • pdaddis

  • pdaddis

    @flames0099 said...

    Great job! You should try throwing together a once a week show for nascar, like rotogrinders does for Golf.

    They have in the past. It was called NASCAR After Dark. I believe they did one a few weeks back as well. Seems to be few and far between now, which is a bummer because I enjoy them.

  • VChair23

    This is a great start for the race

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