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Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Auto Club 400

The trips out west have always been a challenge for most of the teams in NASCAR.  Considering that NASCAR is based in North Carolina, that means for three consecutive weeks, teams have to travel from the shops in the Charlotte area to first Las Vegas, then back.

It then means a trip out to Phoenix, and back.  And now, we’re at the third leg of “NASCAR Goes West.”  What is different about all these trips…the track style.

Las Vegas is progressive banking, with multiple lanes to choose from to get around the track.  Phoenix, on the contrary, is rather flat, with a kick out on the backstretch, while still having plenty of room to run below the actual racing surface.

Now, NASCAR is in the shadow of Hollywood, at the Auto Club Speedway.  This place, two miles around, with a bit of average banking.  But, the wide track allows so many different lanes, so many different options, and most of all, so much speed.  It’s no secret that this place runs at speeds over 200 mph entering the first turn, and even approaching 190 entering the third.  It is a place that can be about fuel mileage, or drafting, or just being the fastest when it matters the most.

It is the final leg of a western trip for the sport, and it could potentially mean a fifth different winner to start the 2017 season.

It may also mean finally a competitor in the League will actually record a victory.  Four races, 13 participants, but zero wins.  Maybe this is finally the weekend someone breaks through into the victory category.

Let’s take a view at who each want to claim the trophy in the Auto Club 400:

 

Misan Akuya:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.

Rob Blount:  Brad Keselowski

No reason given.

Billy Fellin:  Kyle Busch

No reason given.

Dalton Hastings:  Chase Elliott

No reason given.

Ashley Hobbs:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.

Ashley Hull:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.

Ashley McCubbin:  Chase Elliott

No reason given.

Klarissa Mitchell:  Chase Elliott

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Jimmie Johnson

Alright, I’m torn this week.  Larson is fast, and he won at Michigan.  Elliott also is a strong pick.  Harvick and Keselowski are too, but they are without their main man on the pit box.  So, I decided to look historically at this track.  All I have to do is look back at his first race here, and the most recent.  One in the same.  I’ll take the 48.

Patti Rodisch:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Jimmie Johnson

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Chase Elliott

This driver is not aware of the sophomore jinx.  He might be oblivious of this because he and his No. 24 team are as competitive as ever.  Consider that this driver nearly won at a similar track in the Irish Hills of Michigan last year.  In the words of Mr. Spock, it’d be most logical to pick Chase Elliott to win at Fontana this weekend!

Penny Whitecotton:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

 

Standings following Phoenix:

Rob Tiongson (174) Kyle Larson finished 2nd – [0] 0

Billy Fellin (142) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 2

Dalton Hastings (146) Jimmie Johnson finished 9th – [0] 2

Ashley Hull (122) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 0

Dustin Parks (118) Joey Logano finished 31st – [0] 1

Ashley McCubbin (104) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 2

Misan Akuya (113) Chase Elliott finished 12th – [0] 3

Ashley Hobbs (103) Jimmie Johnson finished 9th – [0] 0

Rob Blount (85) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 0

Penny Whitecotton (84) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 1

Sal Sigala Jr. (73) Kevin Harvick finished 6th – [0] 0

Klarissa Mitchell (81) Jamie McMurray finished 15th – [0] 0

Patti Rodisch (73) Brad Keselowski finished 5th – [0] 2

 

Summary of Picks:

Chase Elliott-4

Kyle Larson-4

Jimmie Johnson-2

Kyle Busch-1

Kevin Harvick-1

Brad Keselowski-1

About Dustin Parks

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