Auto Club Fantasy Racing Preview

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Kurt Busch (finished third for the second straight year) and Kevin Harvick (led 24 laps and finished second) led the field to the green flag last year at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Jeff Wackerlin takes a look at some notes and statistics for Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

Who's HOT at Auto Club
• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers in wins (5), laps led (955) and average finish (6.8).
• Kyle Busch has finished in the top three in his last four starts, including two consecutive wins.
• Kevin Harvick led 34 laps and finished second last year for his sixth top 10 in the last eight races.
• Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts, including consecutive two third-place finishes.
• Matt Kenseth, who has two top 10s in three track starts with Joe Gibbs Racing, led 43 laps last year in this event before an axle broke on his Toyota.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards have posted respective average finishes of 5.8 and 8.0 in the last four races.
• Paul Menard has finished in the top 10 in the last three races.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Auto Club 
• Team Penske's Brad Keselowski (defending race winner) and Joey Logano each have finished in the top 10 in the last five races at 2-mile tracks (Auto Club and Michigan International Speedway).
• Martin Truex Jr. led all drivers with a 4.7 average finish in the three races at 2-mile tracks last season.
• Denny Hamlin led 56 laps last year at Auto Club but suffered a pit road penalty on Lap 186 when an uncontrolled tire left his pit.
• Brian Vickers, who will be back in the No. 14 Chevrolet, has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts at Auto Club.
• Ryan Newman posted two top 10s in the three races last season at 2-mile tracks. This weekend, Austin Dillon will be driving the same chassis Newman finished fifth with at ACS last year.  
• Rookies Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott each have finished in the top 10 in two of the three races with the new lower-downforce rule package.

Note: Be sure to check back with MRN.com for practice speeds on Friday and Saturday.

Qualifying Facts

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Kurt Busch - 4
Kyle Larson - 8.0
Pole - 1 times
Denny Hamlin - 3
Jimmie Johnson - 9.5
Top Five - 9 times 
Jamie McMurray - 2
Kyle Busch - 11.4
Top 10 - 14 times 
Brian Vickers - 2 Joey Logano - 11.8
Top 15 - 15 times
Six drivers with one Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne - 11.8
Worst - 31st, one time

* - Must be Entered in the Auto Club 400.  

Best Average Finish at Auto Club

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kurt Busch 3.0
Four Races 
Kurt Busch 5.0
Six Races
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8.5
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson 7.8
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson 7.2

* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Auto Club Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2015, 17 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
*Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson - 6.0
2. Kyle Busch
2. Kyle Larson
2. Kyle Busch - 8.9
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Matt Kenseth - 8.9
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick - 11.9
5. Greg Biffle
5. Carl Edwards
5. Carl Edwards - 12.7
*Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3635
1. Jimmie Johnson - 827
1. Jimmie Johnson - 119.4
2. Matt Kenseth - 3249
2. Kyle Busch - 808
2. Kyle Busch - 110.0
3. Kyle Busch - 3001
3. Carl Edwards - 799
3. Matt Kenseth - 106.1
4. Carl Edwards - 2873
4. Kurt Busch - 788
4. Carl Edwards - 97.1
5. Kevin Harvick - 2871
5. Kasey Kahne - 782
5. Kevin Harvick - 96.8

*Must be entered in the Auto Club 400.
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop. *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Auto Club Click Here to view the Auto Club 400 Pre-Race Loop Data Book.

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Kyle Busch - 6.0
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Chase Elliott
2. Kevin Harvick - 6.4
3. Kurt Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 7.4
4. Kyle Busch
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Jimmie Johnson - 7.4
5. Chase Elliott
5. Kyle Busch
5. Joey Logano - 7.8
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Martin Truex Jr. - 1044
1. Kevin Harvick - 432
1. Kevin Harvick - 119.5
2. Kevin Harvick - 1035
2. Jamie McMurray - 404
2. Kyle Busch - 109.4
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1021
3. Jimmie Johnson - 396
3. Jimmie Johnson - 108.0
4. Kyle Busch - 1012
4. Brad Keselowski - 395
4. Joey Logano - 103.3
5. Joey Logano - 1012
5. Kurt Busch - 365
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 102.8

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Early In a Run: *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Joey Logano
Robbie Mays:  Kyle Busch
John Singler: Joey Logano

Driver Notes - Ordered by Top 20 in Average Finish in the Last Five Races at Auto Club

Kyle Busch missed last year's race due to injury, but has gone to Victory Lane in his last two starts at Auto Club. His two wins extended his streak of consecutive top-three finishes at ACS to four. Since his 2014 win at ACS, Busch has posted a 33.5 average finish in four starts at 2-mile tracks (all at Michigan).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has posted a 5.8 average finish in his last four starts at ACS with two top fives, including a runner-up in 2013. Earnhardt has the second-best average finish (7.0) among all drivers in the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan), including five consecutive top 10s.

Kurt Busch has finished third in his last two starts at ACS with Stewart-Haas Racing. The finishes extended his top 10 streak at the track to four. Busch does have one win in the last six races at 2-mile tracks when he took the checkered flag last June at Michigan International Speedway. This weekend, Busch will debut a new car (chassis No. 978) in the Auto Club 400.

Brian Vickers last raced at Auto Club Speedway in 2014, finishing seventh with Michael Waltrip Racing. The finish was his sixth top 10 in 15 overall starts at the track. Dating back to 2014, Vickers has made three starts at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan) and has posted a 22.7 average finish.

Carl Edwards finished 13th in his first Auto Club Speedway start with Joe Gibbs Racing last season. The finish snapped a streak of consecutive top 10s at four. Edwards is coming off his best finish with JGR at a 2-mile track (ACS and Michigan), finishing sixth at Michigan last August.

Ryan Newman finished fifth in this event last year for his fifth top 10 in his last six starts at Auto Club Speedway. Last year's finish was his best in the three races at a 2-mile track (ACS and Michigan) and he posted a 10.3 average finish in that span.

Kevin Harvick led 34 laps and finished second last year at Auto Club Speedway. Since 2014 with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick has posted four runner-up finishes in six starts at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan). This weekend, Harvick will return in the same car (chassis No. 846) that he led 355 laps en route to the win at Dover International Speedway last fall.

Paul Menard has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts at Auto Club Speedway, including a fourth-place run last season. Menard is one of four drivers that has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan) and leads all drivers with a 6.8 average finish in that span.

Jimmie Johnson is the all-time win leader at Auto Club Speedway with five. Johnson, who last won at ACS in 2010, finished ninth last season for his 15 top 10 in 21 overall starts. He led 104 laps in 2014 and appeared to be headed to a win, but a flat tire relegated him to a 24th-place finish. In the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan), Johnson has posted a 16.8 average finish and three top 10s, including a win in the 2014 June race at Michigan.

Matt Kenseth started third and led 43 laps last season at Auto Club Speedway, but finished 31st due to a broken axle. The finish snapped his streak of consecutive top 10s at the track with Joe Gibbs Racing at two. Kenseth did win the last time the series competed at a 2-mile track when he led 146 laps en route to the checkered flag at Michigan International Speedway last August.

Austin Dillon has posted a 13.5 average finish in two starts at Auto Club Speedway. Dillon is coming off a fourth-place finish in the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan) in the August Michigan race. This weekend, Dillon will pilot the same chassis (No. 504) that Ryan Newman scored a fifth-place finish with at ACS last season.

Kyle Larson finished second in 2014 for his first of eight top fives in his rookie season. Larson's last top 10 in six starts at 2-mile tracks (Auto Club and Michigan) came in 2014 at Michigan. He finished 26th last season at ACS.

Martin Truex Jr. finished eighth last year in his second Auto Club Speedway start with Furniture Row Racing. Last year, Truex had the best average finish (4.7) in the three races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan).

AJ Allmendinger finished eighth in this event in 2014 for his only top 10 in 11 starts at Auto Club Speedway. The finish is also his only top 10 in the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan).

Kasey Kahne finished ninth in this event in 2013 for his only top 10 in four Auto Club Speedway starts with Hendrick Motorsports. He does have one win, but it came back in 2006 with Evernham Motorsports. Kahne's fifth-place finish in the 2014 June race at Michigan International Speedway is his only top 10 in the last six races at 2-mile tracks.

Brad Keselowski is coming off his first win in seven starts at Auto Club Speedway. The win is part of a run of five consecutive top 10s at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan).

Greg Biffle's last of seven top 10s at Auto Club Speedway came in 2013 when he scored his second consecutive sixth-place finish. Biffle has posted a 26.8 average finish in the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan) and his 10th-place finish at Michigan in 2014 is his only top 10 in that span.

Joey Logano finished seventh last year in this event for his second top 10 in three Auto Club Speedway starts with Team Penske. Logano is one of four drivers that has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan).

Danica Patrick has posted a 19.7 average finish in three starts at Auto Club Speedway. Patrick has posted an 18.2 average finish in the last six races at 2-mile tracks (ACS and Michigan) and has only finished outside the top 20 once in that span.

Clint Bowyer has yet to finish in the top 10 in his last four starts at Auto Club Speedway. Bowyer has also yet to finish in the top 20 in his four starts this season with HScott Motorsports.

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