The algorithm is back! Now that unpredictable Daytona is over with, we now have our first “real” race of the season this Sunday with the WISE Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Honestly, nobody really knows 100% what to expect with this NextGen car this early in the season, but we do have tons of historical data to look at, plus a brief practice and qualify sessions from this weekend in Fontana. I’ll go ahead and warn you to take this predicted finishing order with a grain of salt, but you should know that by now.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon racing at Michigan International Speedway 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Austin Dillon – Both Richard Childress Racing cars could be very strong this weekend, so keep an eye on both Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick on Sunday. RotoDoc and I talked about each with stevietpfl on Stacking Dennys this week, and while most people will be looking at the upside of Tyler Reddick on Sunday because of how talented he is, Austin Dillon has similar upside here. Looking back to last season, don’t forget that Austin had a legitimate race-winning car at Michigan (the other 2-mile race track on the schedule), and he also came home 6th and 12th in the two Atlanta races (a high-wear track).

The Rookies and “Limited Data Drivers” – This early in the season, it is extremely difficult to handicap rookies and drivers who don’t have much experience in the Cup Series (or do, but were in significantly worse equipment when they did race). So for guys like Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, and Todd Gilliland, it’s going to be very difficult for the algorithm to be very accurate with them. Just keep that in mind with the rankings, especially in the first part of the year. As we get more data on these guys, the predictions should become more accurate.

WISE Power 400 at Fontana Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

RankDriverPower
Index
1.Busch, Kyle38.85
2.Blaney, Ryan38.71
3.Hamlin, Denny37.37
4.Elliott, Chase36.94
5.Larson, Kyle36.63
6.Logano, Joey34.04
7.Truex, Jr., Martin32.75
8.Bowman, Alex31.41
9.Harvick, Kevin31.37
10.Byron, William29.58
11.Busch, Kurt28.96
12.Reddick, Tyler24.52
13.Dillon, Austin23.71
14.Bell, Christopher23.35
15.Keselowski, Brad20.92
16.Almirola, Aric14.55
17.Jones, Erik08.69
18.Buescher, Chris05.80
19.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-01.90
20.Chastain, Ross-04.21
21.Custer, Cole-07.87
22.Wallace, Bubba-11.93
23.Suarez, Daniel-18.25
24.Briscoe, Chase-21.87
25.McDowell, Michael-24.01
26.Cindric, Austin-26.43
27.Hemric, Daniel-27.78
28.Burton, Harrison-28.74
29.Dillon, Ty-29.75
30.Haley, Justin-30.05
31.LaJoie, Corey-31.35
32.Gilliland, Todd-35.49
33.McLeod, BJ-40.54
34.Ware, Cody-41.02
35.Bilicki, Josh-44.69
36.Smithley, Garrett-44.77
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.