Jimmie Johnson is this week’s race favorite as he is a three-time winnerAat Auto Club Speedway, including the win last season. Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes with 16, followed by Matt Kenseth (15). It’s no surprise both drivers rank in the top five for driver’s rating at the track. Johnson also leads the series in average finishing position at Auto Club with a 6.5.
Kyle Larson is the second favorite at +700. He has one win to his name, a victory last season at Michigan, the sister track to Auto Club Speedway. Larson is one of the hottest drivers in NASCAR after recording his third consecutive runner-up showing last at Phoenix. Larson’s Chip Ganassi Team has been extremely consistent this year. Last season, Larson got his first career Cup Series win at Michigan and had five additional top-five finishes the rest of the way. He is also the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader through four full-length races and the Daytona Duels.
With the Auto Club 400 being a 200-lap race, place-differential becomes increasingly important. Drivers with a positive place-differential the past 10 races at the track include Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Ragan, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard and Danica Patrick. Of those, Stenhouse (+6) should provide a good salary relief with nice upside.
Source: Sporting News