RACE PREVIEW

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STP GAS BOOSTER 500

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

APRIL 7th, 1 PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV

.5 MILES 12 DEGREES of BANKING

Spring short track race #2. Like Bristol Motor Speedway this is a half-mile track, but that is where the similarities end. This track has less banking on the turns than Bristol has in the front stretch. Flat and shaped like a paper clip, we’ll see the less seasoned drivers start to lose their brakes about three fourths of the way through the race. We’ll also see patience in short supply; and with tempers boiling over from California, this race could be a powder keg. More short tempers, more chrome horns, and more wrecked sheet metal are about the only things you can bank on at the short track that lacks serious banking. In the last ten years the Hendrick guys have won 11 of 20 races. Jeff Gordon and his teammate Jimmie Johnson have won here seven times each. The Hendrick Motorsports dominance helps give Chevrolet 15 wins in the last 20 races! Will Hendrick Motorsports find their way back to victory lane? We’ll find out Sunday.

Tuesday look for the Top 10 drivers on short tracks.

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TOP 5 DRIVERS:CALIFORNIA

CALIFORNIA Auto Club 400

My #5 driver is coming off a great run at Bristol, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle is equally excited to get here where he has 19 starts, one win and six Top 5’s. Kyle has the fourth highest average finish here and his last two stops were both Top 3 finishes.

 

The #4 pick won here two years ago, #29 Kevin Harvick. Kevin used to struggle here, but lately has found the winning formula. Kevin has 19 starts, one win and just four Top 5’s. More importantly his last five stops were all Top 10’s.

 

The #3 driver also gotten good here lately too, #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint is a great downforce track driver and his team Michael Waltrip Racing has really stepped up this year. Last week Clint finished in the Top 5 at Bristol and I’m looking for a repeat of that.

 

My #2 pick is sitting #2 in points right now, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale has 20 starts, no wins and four Top 5 finishes. Dale finished 3rd here last year.  He is #2 hottest over the last six races and Jr. is happy to be in a Chevy here, where the last five winners wore the bow tie.

 

My #1 driver to watch has the highest average finish here, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 18 starts with five wins and 12 Top 5’s. His last win at this track was in 2010.  His last ten races were all Top 10’s, with eight of those being 3rd place or better. Jimmie’s team, Hendrick Motorsports, has nine wins in the 24 races run so far at California; the most of any owner.

 

Monday we’ll preview the STP GAS BOOSTER 500 from Martinsville Speedway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS:

AUTO CLUB 400

 

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

2. CLINT BOWYER #15

3. KEVIN HARVICK #29

4. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

5. KYLE BUSCH #18

6. CARL EDWARDS #99

7. TONY STEWART #14

8. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

9. GREG BIFFLE #16

10. KASEY KAHNE #5

11. MARK MARTIN #55

12. MATT KENSETH #20

13. KURT BUSCH #78

14. RYAN NEWMAN #39

15. DENNY HAMLIN #11

16. PAUL MENARD #27

17. JOEY LOGANO #22

18. JEFF GORDON #24

19. JEFF BURTON #31

20. MARTIN TRUEX #56

21. A.J. ALLMENDINGER #51

22. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1

23. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA #42

24. RICKY STENHOUSE #17

25. DAVID REUTIMANN #83

26. ARIC ALMIROLA #43

27. MARCOS AMBROSE #9

28. CASEY MEARS #13

29. DAVID RAGAN #34

30. DAVID GILLILAND #38

 

 

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

TOP 10 TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST BRISTOL

1. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

2. PENSKE RACING

3. JOE GIBBS RACING

4. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING

5. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

 

6. FURNITURE ROW RACING

7. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

8. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

9. EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING

10. STEWART HAAS RACING

 

For the third week in a row Hendrick Motorsports stay at #1. Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing trade places. Roush Fenway Racing stay at #4. Michael Waltrip Racing moves up two spots to #5. Furniture Row Racing the only one car operation in the top 10 move up two spots to #6. Richard Childress Racing slip to #7. Richard Petty Motorsports drops three spots to #8. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing moves up to #9. Lastly Stewart Haas Racing drop s pot to #10.

 

 

 

Thursday look for out Top 30 drivers at Auto Club Speedway.

TOP 10 DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: DOWNFORCE TRACKS

1. TONY STEWART #14

2. CARL EDWARDS #99

3. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

4. MATT KENSETH #17

5. KEVIN HARVICK #29

6. CLINT BOWYER #15

 

7. KASEY KAHNE #5

8. DALE EARNHARDT #88

9. MARTIN TRUEX #56

10. DENNY HAMLIN #11

Top 10 drivers on Downforce tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway. 

RACE PREVIEW

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AUTO CLUB 400

AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

MARCH 24th, 3PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV

2 Miles, 14 Degrees of Banking

 

We are now four races into the year. We have raced the new Gen6 car on a Plate track, Flat track, Downforce track and a short track. I classify this as a Downforce track so it will be the first time we repeat a “track type.” On the minds of drivers will be handling: the battle between making your car go fast combined with “grip” or “downforce” will be paramount. The team that finds the best mix of speed and downforce can win this race. All three manufacturers look good at this early point in the season: Ford, Chevy, and Toyota each have win. Always looming on the horizon at California is fuel mileage. Because this track is wide and cautions few, sometimes it comes down to the team with the best fuel strategy. Interestingly the last five of the Auto Club Speedway races have been won by Chevrolet teams. Hendrick Motorsports has nine team wins here. Roush/Fenway is second with seven team wins. Will Chevy domination continue? We’ll know on Sunday.

 

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Drivers on Downforce Tracks.

TOP 5 DRIVERS:BRISTOL

 

FOOD CITY 500 from BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

The #5 pick has the second highest average finish here, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has 26 starts, one win, and seven Top 5’s. Interestingly, Jr. has 24 straight Top 20 finishes and is #2 hottest over the last six weeks.

 

The #4 driver to watch has won five races here, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle has 16 starts, five wins, and seven Top 5’s. Kyle won the very first race with the COT car or the Gen 5 car in 2007 – we’ll see how he does here in the debut of the Gen 6 car on a short track.

 

The number #3 driver to watch has won two of the last three races here, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad has those two wins in just six starts! Brad is #1 hottest over the last six races and at #2 in points, we know he is doing very well in the Gen 6 car.

 

My #2 driver is loving his brand new team, #20 Matt Kenseth. Matt has great stats here – 16 starts, two wins and ten Top 5’s. Matt is coming off a big win in Las Vegas and has quickly dispelled any doubts about his transition to Joe Gibbs racing.

 

My #1 driver is the #1 short track driver, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 20 starts with just one win and seven Top 5 finishes. The season may have just started, but Jimmie is #1 in points which means early-on he is the best driver in the new Gen 6 car.

 

 

Monday look for our preview of the Auto Club 400 from the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.