Saturday, March 19, 2016

Final Fontana Driver Ratings: 2016 Auto Club 400

Austin Dillon looks sharp once again during practices.
Joe Gibbs Racing put on a show during Saturday's final two practices at Auto Club Speedway that give indication one of their five cars is most likely to win Sunday's Auto Club 400. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards finished 1-2 in the final session while Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. were 1-2 in the early session.

Perhaps the best indicator of who will win Sunday is what occurred in average speeds during the session and JGR was tops in that category as well. Kyle Busch had the best 10-consecutive lap average early and Truex Jr. was best in the late session.

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Micah Roberts' Top-10 Rated NASCAR Drivers
Auto Club 400
Auto Club (California) Speedway
Sunday, March 20, 2016 - 12:44 pm (PT) 
Rating     Driver       Odds     Practice 1   Qualified  Practice 2   Practice 3
 1. Kyle Busch 6/1                       15th                6th              4th               16th
Three-time winner, including his past two starts. Best 10-consecutive lap average practice 2.
 2. Martin Truex Jr. 12/1           2nd                17th             2nd               7th
Career-best sixth-place (twice) in 15 starts. Best 10-consecuitive lap average practice 3.
 3. Carl Edwards 12/1                25th                5th              1st                2nd 
2008 winner with second-best 8.8 average finish in 18 starts -- 7.7 average past five starts.
 4. Matt Kenseth 8/1                 24th               20th            18th               1st
Three-time winner, the last in 2009. Nine top-five finishes in 23 starts -- 569 laps led.
 5. Kevin Harvick 5/1                3rd                 2nd            17th              27th
2011 winner; using winning 2015 Dover chassis that also fijnished second at Fontana.
 6. Jimmie Johnson 5/1             7th                19th             13th              14th
Five-time winner, including first career Cup win in 2002. Track-best 6.7 average finish.
 7. Austin Dillon 30/1                  1st                 1st                5th               6th
Consistent practices and results on the fast low downforce tracks show a win is coming soon.
 8. Joey Logano 8/1                    19th                9th              28th              4th
Career-best third-place in 2013. Second-place finish at Las Vegas a good sign he'll be strong.
 9. Denny Hamlin 15/1              16th                3rd              23rd             21st
Career-best third in 2008, 19.6 average in 15 starts. Joe Gibbs cars all look stout this weekend.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10/1      12th              27th             10th             13th
Leads all active drivers with most starts (23) without winning -- 5.7 average in past four starts.

Note: Results from the 1.5-mile layouts run at Atlanta and Las Vegas already this season serve as a good barometer for what might happen on Fontana's wide 2-mile layout.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting NASCAR odds since 1994. Follow him on twitter @MicahRoberts7

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