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Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway Preview

Posted by chadmusselman on August 28, 2008

This week’s stop is in Fontana, California for the Pepsi 500. This track is very similar to Michigan; D-shaped, very wide, and lends itself to long green-flag runs. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a snooze fest and there’s some good side-by-side racing.

It was tough picking the chaser this week since six of them (Gordon, Edwards, Johnson, Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Kenseth) have very good records here, but for this week I decided to pick the guys with the hot hand.

On to my picks this week:

Chaser: Carl Edwards
Carl has done great at this track. In 8 races he has a win, 6 top 5s, and 7 top 10s with an average finish of 6.8. He’s won the last two races on the circuit and is looking to go on a three race winning streak.

Alternate Chase: Kyle Busch
If anyone will prevent Carl from winning three in a row, it’s Kyle. He’s been almost as hot as Carl in the past few races, and his record in California is almost as good. In 8 career races he has 1 win, 3 top 5s, and 6 top 10s with a 10.2 average finish.

Kasey Kahne
Kasey has been successful here as well. In 9 career races he’s compiled a win, 3 top 5s and 6 top 10s. An average finish of 13.7 is pretty good when you consider he’s finished 41st and 21st in two of the races. If Kasey can keep his nose clean he’ll do fine.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale is a story of two racers at this track. In 13 career races he’s finished 32nd or worse six times because of engine problems or accidents. In the seven races he has finished and didn’t get caught up in wrecks he averages an 8.3 place finish. So, if Jr. can stay out of trouble he should finish in the top 10.

Darkhorse: Brian Vickers
I’m basically picking Brian by default. There’re really not many good options to choose from. Brian seems to be the only guy outside of the top 15 in points worth choosing for this race. He has had two top 10s in the last three here, so he could compete for a good finish.

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