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Fantasy Picks: Who to pick and Who not to pick at the Auto Club Speedway

Back out west we go as race number five of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will be raced at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

The Auto Club Speedway is 2.0-mile D-shaped oval that has 14 degrees of banking in the turns and is a race track where drivers can run the high side, middle, bottom and even the apron on occasions and still be fast.

Who To Pick

Jimmie Johnson – The El Cajon, California native is by far the favorite this weekend as he rolls into the Auto Club Speedway race weekend with zero finishes outside the top-twenty in nineteen career races at the 2.0-mile D-shaped oval. Along with never finishing outside the top-twenty, Johnson has five victories, twelve top-fives, fourteen top-tens and enters the twentieth career race at the speedway with an overall finishing average of fifth.

Carl Edwards – With a win out-of-the-way and a ticket punched for the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Edwards can focus on strong finishes from here on out and the Auto Club Speedway is a track where strong finishes seem to find the Roush Fenway Racing No. 99 team. In sixteen Auto Club Speedway races Edwards has one win, eight top-fives, and he has only failed to finish in the top-ten in three of his sixteen career races at the formally known California Speedway.

Edwards enters the weekend with an average finishing average of eighth at the Fontana, California race track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Jr. may not have the overall stats that jump off of the page at the Auto Club Speedway in his Sprint Cup Series career as he has five top-fives and six top-tens in twenty-one career races at the Auto Club Speedway but Jr. has finishes of 2nd and 3rd in the last two Fontana races.

With his recent finishes at the Auto Club Speedway and the way the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team is running so far this year Junebug wouldn’t be that bad of a pick for this weekend’s Auto Club 400, and I expect him to bounce back from his first hiccup of the season last weekend in Bristol.

Clint Bowyer – Look for Bowyer to break out of his early slump and chalk up is first top-ten finish of the season this weekend in the California sunshine because he has two top-fives, seven top-tens and has only finished outside the top-twenty on one occasion, which happened to be in last year’s Auto Club 400, in thirteen career Auto Club Speedway races.

Who Not To Pick 

Denny Hamlin – I would pass on Denny Hamlin this weekend because he has finishes of 25th, 11th, 39th, 8th and 29th in the last five Auto Club Speedway races, and he has just one top-five finish and four top-ten finishes in thirteen career Auto Club Speedway races.

Marcos Ambrose – Ambrose was able to score his first top-ten and top-five finish a week ago in Tennessee but don’t expect an encore performance this weekend in Fontana as the Richard Petty Motorsports driver has failed to finish inside the top-twenty in eight prior tries at the Auto Club Speedway.

Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing have unloaded extremely fast Fords at the first four races this season but this weekend may be the time to pass on picking Brad because he has never finished in the top-ten at the Auto Club Speedway in his five Sprint Cup Series races at the speedway, and in four of those races, he finished outside of the top-twenty.

Brad has finishes of 23rd, 18th, 26th, 21st and 26th at the Southern California race track.

Paul Menard – Paul Menard brought home a top-ten finish in last year’s Auto Club 400, but it was his first top-ten finish in eleven Auto Club Speedway races and in six of those eleven races, the Richard Childress Racing driver finished outside the top-twenty.

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