The NASCAR Cup Series continues on today as it visits Auto Club Speedway for the Pala Casino 400. This will be the last race held on this configuration of the Auto Club Speedway, as NASCAR sold the track to Speedway SBC Development LLC, who is planning to redevelop the track site. Last year’s edition was won by Kyle Larson, who turned it on late, leading 28 laps and holding off Austin Dillon for his second Auto Club win.
Driver to Fade:
After a 34th place finish in the Daytona 500, William Byron comes to arguably one of his worst tracks on the schedule in Auto Club Speedway, where he has had 3 15th place finishes in 4 career starts here. Byron will be starting deep in the field today in 32nd place, and with no Practice or Qualifying for this race, will have a long uphill battle ahead of him. Byron has no chance of finishing in the top 10 today.
Driving the 43 car for Legacy Motor Club, Erik Jones put together a solid campaign in 2022, with 1 win, 3 top 5’s, and 13 top 10 finishes. Jones comes into Auto Club with hopes of a good run, as he has finished in the top 10 here each of the last two years, and has 4 top 12 finishes in 5 career starts, highlighted by his 3rd place finish here last year. Jones will also be coming from deep in the field today, starting the race from 34th place. A win isn’t completely out of the realm, but another top 12 finish is certainly realistic for Jones.
Fresh off of a runner-up finish at the Daytona 500, Joey Logano looks to build on his past success at Auto Club Speedway, as he has finished in the top 5 in 5 of his last 6 starts here and in the top 10 in 7 of his last 9 starts here. Logano will start today’s race in 3rd place and will no doubt be in the mix all race long. A win is always possible on any given day for Logano, but a top 10 finish is a lock today.
Daytona was not a great indicator of Kyle Busch’s potential at Richard Childress Racing, as he got caught up in a wreck in both his Duel race and at the end of the Daytona 500 on the way to a 19th place finish in both races. Auto Club Speedway has been very good to Busch of late, as he has 3 wins, 2 runner-up finishes, and 2 3rd place showings in his last 10 starts at the track. With no Practice or Qualifying, everyone will have no clue what sort of car they have until they roll out on the track for the first lap, but if anyone can adapt quickly to the unknowns that today’s race presents, it’s Busch. Starting from 21st place, we predict that Kyle Busch will work his way to the front and bring home a win for the 19th straight season!