After the exciting start to the XFINITY season, the cars are back on the track, this time at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California for the first time in two years. Auto Club is a two-mile asphalt oval banked at 14 degrees in the turns, 11 degrees in the front stretch, and three degrees in the backstretch. This is a tough track to pass and we’ve seen in years past that dominator points can be quickly racked up by less than a handful of drivers and tire wear plays an important role here so good pit stops and strategy have more of an emphasis in that regard. The drivers will turn 150 laps for 300 miles s0 let’s get into the strategy to look at for this race.
As mentioned above, Auto Club is a tough place to pass, specifically to pass the leader when they’re in clean air. The last three races here are very indicative of that. See below:
2018: Winner – Joey Logano, started 2nd, led 139 laps.
2019: Winner – Cole Custer, started 3rd, led 29 laps. Kyle Busch finished 2nd, started 2nd and led 98 laps.
2020: Winner – Harrison Burton, started 2nd, led 40 laps. Brandon Jones finished 30th (after running into trouble), started on the pole and led 73 laps.
Needless to say that this isn’t the most exciting race, dominator points are paramount, but they are only really distributed to a few drivers at most. We don’t necessarily need the dominators if we simply want to cash 50/50s and double-ups but If we’re going to win tournaments, we’ll need the dominators. Based on trends the drivers starting in the front two rows are typically the ones that rack up the dominator points.
Most comparable tracks: Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Michigan International Speedway
*Note: all pricing is DraftKings focused
A.J. Allmendinger ($10,500), Starting on the Pole
After an impressive qualifying effort, Dinger is the favorite to lead this race early and dominate throughout. Despite not having much success over his career at Auto Club, Allmendinger has never started from the pole here and the emphasis on that is massive when considering him as a dominator.
Cole Custer ($9,800), Starting 2nd
One of the Cup Series regulars, Custer will be running this race in the 07 car for SS Green Light Racing which is usually piloted by Joe Graf Jr. Custer has had success here in the XFINITY series with a win and two top 10’s in three races. His salary break from the pole sitter Allmendinger is enticing as someone who could challenge Dinger for laps led early on.
Brandon Jones ($9,300), Starting 3rd
I mentioned above that Jones has had success leading laps at Auto Club despite having just two top 10’s in five races here and an average finish of 18.2. Jones has had success at like tracks Homestead and Darlington ut is always a wild card to make a mistake late in a race. Despite all of that, the experience, equipment, and starting position are all aligned for Jones to be a dominator worth considering.
Trevor Bayne ($9,100), Starting 4th
Bayne should be popular simply because of his salary and the equipment he’ll be in. Bayne, a former Cup Series driver, and Daytona 500 winner will be driving the number 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this season in seven races with this being the first. It’s no secret that the Gibbs stable is strong and with Bayne barely above 9K he should be another trendy play and for good reason.
Place Differential Targets
Myatt Snider ($8,100), Starting 31st
After a tough qualifying effort, Snider finds himself staring back in the …. position at a track that he ran last season and finished 11th after starting 19th. At Homestead, a similar track to Auto Club, Snider has run three races in his XFINITY career logging a win and two top 10’s with an average finishing position of seventh. This is a good young driver in a position to succeed at a track that fits his driving style.
Anthony Alfredo ($7,300), Starting 28th
Alfredo, the full-time driver for the Our Motorsports 23 car has run well at Auto Club, Homestead, and Darlington in his XFINITY career with a sixth-place finish at Auto Club under his belt. Starting 28th, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Alfredo finish in the 18-20 range.
Justin Allgaier ($10,100), Starting 20th
In 12 races at Auto Club at the XFINITY level, Allgaier has a top-five and six top 10’s and has finished worse than 16th once, due to engine failure. After his poor qualifying effort, he should be able to make up track position at a place where he’s posted an average finish of 12th.
Joey Gase ($5,000), Starting 36th
There isn’t much to expect from Gase here other than picking up a few position differential points. Starting nearly dead last with track time here, Gase shouldn’t kill you at his extremely affordable salary.