After very eventful practice and qualifying sessions, the field is now set for Sunday’s race at Fontana. Daytona 500 Champion and cup series rookie Austin Cindric continues to grab headlines scoring his first career pole. One lap into the group “A” practice, the first of the day for the Cup Series, Kevin Harvick spun his #4 Subway Ford in turn 4 making contact with the wall, and a lap after going green again in the same corner, Ross Chastain destroyed his Casa Del Sol Tequila #1 Chevrolet.

Things didn’t get much better from there as more drivers continued to spin and hit the wall both in practice and qualifying. This led to no qualifying attempt by Justin Haley (31), Bubba Wallace (23), Ross Chastain (1), and Kevin Harvick (4). Aric Almirola (10) spun during his qualifying lap recording no time and Kurt Busch (45) failed tech inspection three times and was not allowed to qualify. He will also serve a pass-thru penalty after the green flag drops Sunday. All of these guys will start and be scored from 31st-36th.

Joey Logano will also start from the rear after making repairs to his Penske Ford that tagged the wall but will be scored from his qualifying position of 7th place. 

DraftKings Strategy For the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway 

This weekend could be very interesting. This race has been notoriously caution-free and a clean race, but you throw in the unknowns of this NextGen race car, the chaos we saw in practice and qualifying, the first time we will see 4 tire pit stops every pit stop with the new one lug nut tire, and things could get wild.

Nobody is quite sure what to expect on Sunday. With so many good drivers on solid teams starting near the back, place differential could be key this weekend, especially if this ends up being a survival of the fittest race. The guys starting in the back will be very chalky plays, so you need to decide how much chalk you want, who you think will get the most dominator points, and where you can differentiate yourself. 

Top Play: Kyle Larson ($11,600) 

Starting 13th this will give the defending champion a chance to earn some place differential points. Larson Is the odds-on favorite to win the race on the DraftKings Sportsbook (+500) and we all know why. He dominated the series in 2021, and it’s expected for him to continue to be a top performer this season. He’s done well here before in the lesser Ganassi cars with a win and two 2nd-place finishes. Hendrick Motorsports has always done well at Auto Club Speedway, winning the last time the series was here in 2020 with Alex Bowman.  

Great Play: Kyle Busch ($10,400) 

Busch is a guy that will be less owned than Larson. He was 2nd fastest in practice and qualified his Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry in 3rd for Sunday’s race. We talked about this on the NASCAR Gambling Podcast: Kyle Busch is one of the best here at Auto Club with three straight top 3 finishes. He comes in with momentum from the Busch Clash and the Daytona 500. He rolled off the truck fast and could easily jump out front, scoring fast laps and leading laps along the way. 

Sneaky Back Play: Aric Almirola ($7,400) 

With all the cars starting in the back with bigger names, I think Aric will be forgotten by the majority. He starts 31st with a much cheaper salary than the bigger name in Kevin Harvick ($9,200), who starts only spot behind Almirola in 32nd. They both have the same Stewart-Haas racing machines and Almirola has been sneaky good here in the past few races with two straight top 10 finishes. 

Under the Radar Play: Harrison Burton ($6,900)

Starting 22nd at a very nice $6,900 price tag, Burton will be overlooked this week. The rookie took flight and was the first driver to go upside down in the NextGen car last week at Daytona, so hopefully this week Burton can keep his car going in the right direction. Burton has one appearance at Auto Club Speedway in a 2020 Xfinity Series start, and he won that race. This #21 Wood Brothers car has been known to be fast on these big tracks, look for that again this week. 

I am a lifelong, die-hard NASCAR fan, following the sport since I was a kid in the 90s. I am obsessed with all areas of NASCAR from watching as a fan and playing fantasy to my favorite part the betting aspect! Co-Host of the NASCAR Gambling Podcast.