TOP FIVE DRIVERS

CALIFORNIA Auto Club 400

My #5 driver is the best driver on tracks like this, #19 Martin Truex. Martin comes in with 19 career starts, and only two Top 5’s. Both Top 5’s came in the last three years and one was a win in 2018. Martin is my #1 rated downforce driver and is currently 5th hottest.

My #4 driver to watch is a former winner and finished 4th here last year, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 26 starts with one win and seven Top 5’s 27%. He won here in 2011. Kevin is our #6 ranked Downforce driver and is #3 hottest over the last six races. Lookout for the closer!   

The #3 driver is a former winner here, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad won here five years ago. He has that one win in just 11 starts. He has four Top 5’s and they have come in his last five starts. Brad is my #4 ranked downforce track driver and is #19 hottest over the last six races.  He has to turn his rough start around and I feel confident his Top 5 streak will continue again this year. He finished third here last year.

The #2 pick is the defending champion of this race driver, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle has not only won here before but has done it four times. Kyle has 21 starts here, four wins and ten Top 5’s 47%! He comes in ranked #2 on tracks like this but he is also #28 in points and #7 hottest over the last six races.  

My #1 driver has never won here, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has 13 starts here and six Top 5’s 46%. Four of those Top 5’s came in the last four straight races. Joey is #3 ranked downforce track driver and is #2 hottest driver over the last six races.

Monday we’ll preview the Fan Shield 500 from Phoenix Raceway.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

AUTO CLUB 400

  1. JOEY LOGANO #22
  2. KYLE BUSCH #18
  3. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  4. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  5. MARTIN TRUEX #19
  6. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  7. RYAN BLANEY #12
  8. KYLE LARSON #42
  9. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  10. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  11. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  12. ERIK JONES #20
  13. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  14. CLINT BOWYER #14
  15. RICKY STENHOUSE #47
  16. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  17. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  18. KURT BUSCH #1
  19. CHRIS BUESCHER #37
  20. MATT DIBENEDETTO #95
  21. BUBBA WALLACE #43
  22. ROSS CHASTAIN #6
  23. DANIEL SUAREZ #96
  24. JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK #38
  25. TYLER REDDICK #8
  26. TY DILLON #13
  27. COREY LAJOIE #32
  28. COLE CUSTER #41
  29. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #34
  30.  RYAN PREECE #37

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

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP TEN TEAMS WEEK 2

  1. TEAM PENSKE (LW #3)
  2. STEWART HAAS RACING (LW #2)
  3. JOE GIBBS RACING (LW #1)
  4. WOOD BROTHERS RACING (LW #5)
  5. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (LW #6)
  6. CHIP GANASSI RACING (LW #4)
  7. ROUSH FENWAY RACING (LW #7)
  8. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS (LW #10)
  9. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (LW #9)
  10. GO FAS RACING (LW OFF)

Team Penske get the win in Las Vegas from #22 Joey Logano. They also have the top two drivers in points that helps to move them from #3 to #1. Stewart Haas Racing have another good week and hang in at #2 in a very tight top 3. Joe Gibbs Racing were #1 35 out of 36 weeks last year so it comes as kind of a surprise to se them drop TWO spots to #3. Wood Brothers Racing started the year at #7 and this week we find them at #4. Hendrick Motorsports move up a place to #5. Chip Ganassi Racing move back two places to #6. Roush Fenway Racing stay in place this week with #17 Chris Buescher driving his second race for the team and #6 fill in driver Ross Chastain driving his first race. That is a big statement about how strong the team is. Richard Petty Motorsports moves up two spots leaping over there sister team Richard Childress Racing. Lastly we find a new team to the Top 10 this year GoFas Racing. JTG Daugherty Racing fall out of the Top 10. 

Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers for the Auto Club 400 and Friday we break down the Top 5 driver’s.

TOP TEN DRIVERS BY TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: DOWNFORCE TRACKS

  1. MARTIN TRUEX #19
  2. KYLE BUSCH #18
  3. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  4. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  5. JOEY LOGANO #22
  6. KYLE LARSON #42
  7. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  8. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  9. KURT BUSCH #1
  10.  RYAN BLANEY #12

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

AUTO CLUB 400

AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

MARCH 1st, 3:30PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV

2 Miles, 14 Degrees of Banking

Stages end after laps 60/120/200

We are now two races into the year and the drivers 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. 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. Again this year we’ll have three race stages. The first stage ends after 60 laps, the second after 120 laps and the third and last stage goes 80 laps. There have been 11 races run here in the last ten years. Interestingly, six of those races have been won by Chevrolet teams, the most of the three manufacturers. Hendrick Motorsports has two of those wins. The HMS motor shop provided motors in all five of the six race wins. But the Toyota’s of Joe Gibbs Racing have won three of the last seven including #18 Kyle Busch in last years race. The JGR/TRD shop have won four of the last seven races here challenging HMS. Will Chevy domination continue? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Drivers on Downforce Tracks

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

LAS VEGAS: PENNZOIL 400

My #5 driver is the most recent winner here, #19 Martin Truex Jr. Martin has 16 starts here, that win plus one in 2017 and five Top 5’s. He got all five Top 5’s in his last six starts. He is #1 ranked for me on tracks like this and #4 hottest over the last six races he has been in.

My #4 driver to watch is due for a win here, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has eight straight Top 10’s five of those eight were Top 5’s. He has 13 starts one win and five Tops 5’s 38%. He is #5 hottest over the last six races and ranked #5 for me on tracks like this.

The #3 driver finished Top 5 in both races last year, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin comes into “Sin city” with 21 starts two wins and 7 Top 5’s 33%. In fact he got Top 5’s in three of his last four starts! He is ranked #6 for me on tracks like this and is #3 hottest over the last six races.  

The #2 driver is a former winner here year and if he wants to could sleep at his parents house, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle sits #3 is the #6 hottest driver over the last six races. He has 17 starts, a win in 2009 and seven Tops 5’s, 41%. Kyle finished 3rd in this race last year he is also my #2 rated driver on tracks like this. 

My #1 pick is the only three time winner here, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad won here in 2014 and in 2016 and in the Playoff race in 2018. He has 13 starts, the three wins and seven Top 5’s, 54%. Three wins in just 13 starts is very strong. He has finished 7th or better in his last nine starts here. Brad is my #3 ranked driver on tracks like this. He needs a big win because he sits 18th hottest over the last six races.

 Monday look for our preview of the Auto Club 500 from California.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 DRIVERS:LAS VEGAS 

  1. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  2. KYLE BUSCH #18
  3. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. MARTIN TRUEX #19
  6. KYLE LARSON #42
  7. RYAN BLANEY #12
  8. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  9. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  10. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  11. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  12. CHRIS BUESCHER #17
  13. CLINT BOWYER #14
  14. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  15. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  16. RICKY STENHOUSE #47
  17. ERIK JONES #20
  18. DANIEL SUAREZ #96
  19. KURT BUSCH #1
  20. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  21. MATT DIBENEDETTO #21
  22. ROSS CHASTAIN #6
  23. TYLER REDDICK #8
  24. BUBBA WALLACE JR. #43
  25. COREY LAJOIE #32
  26. TY DILLON #13
  27. RYAN PREECE #37
  28. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #34
  29. COLE CUSTER #41
  30. CHRISTOPHER BELL #95

Friday we break down the Top five drivers to watch.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP TEN TEAMS WEEK1

  1. JOE GIBBS RACING (LW #1)
  2. STEWART HAAS RACING (LW #4)
  3. TEAM PENSKE (LW #2)
  4. CHIP GANASSI RACING (LW #3)
  5. WOOD BROTHERS RACING (LW #7)
  6. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (LW #5)
  7. ROUSH FENWAY RACING (LW #6)
  8. JTG DAUGHERTY RACING (LW #8)
  9. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (LW #10)
  10. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS (LW OFF)

Joe Gibbs Racing was #1 for most of the year last year so it is not at all surprising that they remain at the top spot after #11 Denny Hamlin got the win in Daytona. JGR had the most wins last year and the way they are starting it looks like they might do it again. Stewart Haas Racing have great finishes from #4 Kevin Harvick, #10 Aric Almirola and #14 Clint Bowyer that helps move them up two places to #2. Team Penske drop back a place with great finish from #12 Ryan Blaney but his two team mates didn’t fare nearly as well. Chip Ganassi Racing move back a place to #4 but they are still the highest ranked Chevy team. las. At #5 we find Wood Brothers Racing moving up two spots to #5. Hendrick Motorsports had rough night and they slip back a spot to #6. Roush Fenway Racing had the worst night of any team and they drop back a place to #7. JTG Daugherty Racing stay at #8.  Richard Childress Racing move up a position to #9. Richard Petty Motorsports were left off our preseason Top Ten, so they make their debut at #10. Germain Racing drop out or the Top Ten.  

Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers for the Pennzoil 400 and Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

LAS VEGAS

  1. MARTIN TRUEX JR. #19
  2. KYLE BUSCH #18
  3. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  4. KYLE LARSON #42
  5. JOEY LOGANO #22
  6. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  7. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  8. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  9. RYAN BLANEY #12
  10. KURT BUSCH #1

These are the Top Ten drivers on Downforce tracks. Wednesday look for our Top Ten teams and Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers ranked for the Pennzoil 400 from Las Vegas.

RACE PREVIEW

PENNZOIL 400

LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

February 23rd, 3:30PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV

1.5 MILES 20 Degrees of Banking

Stages end after 80/160/267 laps

I have never missed this race or this weekend.  This has been one of the most fun cities to watch a race in, but in the beginning it wasn’t the most fun race to watch. All of that changed the minute the 2006 race ended.  Right after the checkered flag flew workers began to make changes to this track. Garages were bulldozed and the track surface was ripped up, re-banked, and rebuilt. The 12 degrees of banking was replaced with a steeper, faster, and racier 20 degrees of banking. Now the country’s most exciting city might just have one of its most exciting tracks. So exciting and popular that this year for the third time we’ll see two races here. In addition to the Pennzoil 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host a Playoff race, the South Point 400 in September. Talk about a must see stop on the circuit!

We have a wild race to kick off the season with a Toyota winning at Daytona. At this race we’ll see two 80 lap stages followed by a 107 lap final stage.

Roush Fenway used to dominate here with five wins in the first seven races. Since they reconfigured the track Roush has only had two wins – still pretty good, but not the domination they once had. Chevy has three wins in the last ten years or 12 races.  Hendrick Motorsports has one of those wins and Stewart Haas Racing has two. Stewart Haas Racing has since changed to Ford. They got a win with a Ford in 2018 giving SHR three wins in 12 races or ten years. Team Penske had four wins in the last ten years and Roush added a win in the Ford column. Giving Ford six wins in 12 races. Team Penske have four wins.  Stewart Haas has three total wins, two from Kevin Harvick. The Toyota camp of Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing have racked up three wins, talk about parity. Will Chevy or Ford continue their slight lead in most wins or will Toyota catch up? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on Downforce Tracks.