The NASCAR Goes West part of the schedule for the Cup drivers is in its second week this week with a trip to Southern California and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. This track is a sister track to Michigan International Speedway in terms of distance and shape, D-Shaped, but the banking and racing surface are different enough that it changes the nature of the race for the Auto Club 400.

This is a 2-mile D-shaped oval with the banking in the corners being 14 degrees and the banking in the straightaway at 11 degrees with a nearly flat backstretch. Speaking of the surface, this is easily one of the roughest ones out there not only on the driver’s comfort inside the car but also on the tires which this surface obliterates pretty quickly; a 1.5-second per lap fall off over a 20-lap run isn’t out of the ordinary, and frankly is on the low end of what should be expected. Balance in the car will be a really important thing to get right for the race as the long-run speed will be king for the race and with the temps being forecast to be cooler on Sunday than they were on Friday for practice, the grip level will be higher, meaning some tire wear might be worse but it will also mean that the cars with the long-run speed will be the ones that can move through the field better than those that trimmed out for qualifying.

Auto Club Speedway has produced a different winner in each of the last five years and they have been spread across the manufacturers pretty evenly as well, meaning this is more a driver track than a manufacturer track, unlike some other tracks we come across. Dan and I went over strategies for each format on the podcast this week and each of the last four years, the winner or second place car has led more than half the laps in the race meaning there is a chance for laps led dominator points even in the 200-lap race.

Average Points By Starting Spots

This isn’t a hard and fast chart but it does show the average points scored over the last five Auto Club 400s strictly by starting spot regardless of the driver in that starting spot or the car they had.

Starting Position Avg. DK Pts. Rank Avg. FD Pts. Rank Starting Position Avg. DK Pts. Rank Avg. FD Pts. Rank
1 61.50 1 57.32 2 21 34.85 10 48.72 9
2 60.80 2 60.06 1 22 18.25 34 34.24 35
3 34.40 11 50.16 8 23 22.00 26 38.70 26
4 51.65 3 54.86 4 24 20.00 30 37.12 28
5 28.30 14 46.26 11 25 26.85 16 41.66 15
6 18.05 35 35.12 33 26 25.90 18 40.64 19
7 20.25 29 41.14 16 27 40.80 5 51.64 6
8 43.20 4 56.36 3 28 19.65 32 35.82 31
9 25.20 19 41.80 14 29 24.75 20 38.78 24
10 21.70 27 40.08 21 30 19.40 33 35.02 34
11 39.10 6 53.62 5 31 29.90 12 41.10 17
12 17.20 36 37.38 27 32 16.10 37 27.00 38
13 35.70 8 45.30 12 33 26.38 17 36.80 29
14 23.60 24 40.80 18 34 19.85 31 34.10 36
15 29.40 13 46.32 10 35 28.15 15 39.50 23
16 5.30 40 25.84 39 36 22.60 25 35.52 32
17 23.65 23 39.72 22 37 24.00 22 36.14 30
18 20.70 28 38.72 25 38 15.00 38 29.95 37
19 38.05 7 50.26 7 39 9.17 39 24.27 40
20 24.20 21 40.32 20 40 35.00 9 44.40 13
(Max 3)
      
 DriverStartMakeCar Fanduel DraftKingsBreakDown
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Ma. Truex38Toyota19 $12500 $9400UPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Ky. Larson9Chevrolet42 $ $UPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Ji. Johnson2Chevrolet48 $10000 $10200UPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Wi. Byron21Chevrolet24 $9300 $7700UPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Ch. Buescher11Ford17 $6800 $5800UPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
UPGRADEUPGRADE
Co. Lajoie26Ford32 $3000 $5700UPGRADE