NASCAR DFS: Fontana
For some, a night out...or this case, afternoon out...to the club is all you need. However, sometimes that club is Club Dread.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series does exactly that this weekend, heading to Auto Club Speedway in the sunny confines of Fontana, CA, the final stop in a three race West Coast swing. The drivers may be heading west one more time this weekend, so here's what you can do to ensure that your DFS team won't go south.
Race: Auto Club 400
Laps: 200 (400 miles)
Venue: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA (2 miles)
TV: 3:30 PM, FOX
Active Event Winners: Matt Kenseth (3), Jimmie Johnson (2), Kyle Busch (2), Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski (defending winner)
Being located mere minutes away from Hollywood, it's no surprise that Fontana has played host to some of the biggest winners in the sports, as well as served as the setting for some well known movies including Charlie's Angels and The Bucket List. Races at Fontana were recently cut down from 500 to 400 miles, and the excitement has paid off on the track. Over the past two seasons, the California race has ended under a Green-White-Checkered finish, so drivers will be sure to strategize and prepare for unexpected happenings in the late stages of this fast race.
Three To Start
Austin Dillon (Starting 1st)-The season is still very young, but Dillon is finally starting to show the potential that earned him a spot in the iconic #3 car. Currently situated in the 8th spot in the standings through four races, Dillon has gotten off to a marvelous start in 2016, finishing in the Top 11 in each of the first quartet of races on the season, including 3 Top 10s. To put that in perspective, he had a grand total all 5 Top 10's all last year. Starting on the pole, his first since bursting onto the scene in the 2014 Daytona 500, Dillon has a great chance to improve on already solid Fontana numbers, albeit with a small sample size. He has finished in the Top 16 in both of his Cali starts and owns 2 Top 5's from his time on the Xfinity circuit.
Jimmie Johnson (Starting 19th)-Johnson's name appears all over the Fontana record book like the nearby Lakers' names do all over the NBA records (well, not recently but you get it). Johnson's average finish of 6th, is highest among all time drivers at Fontana, as are his 5 wins, 12 Top 5's and 955 laps led. From 2007-12, Johnson finished in the Top 10 in 10 consecutive Fontana events (the track hosted two races at this time). This is also a bit of a homecoming for Johnson, an El Cajon, CA native whose surefire Hall of Fame career got a major kickstart here at home, when he was his first career race here, all the way back in 2002.
Kurt Busch (Starting 26th)-Don't let Kurt's tough starting spot fool you. After all, this is Hollywood where everyone loves a good rise from adversity story. Busch's average finish of 11th at Fontana is his highest at any track where he's made a minimum of 20 starts, and recent times have been very kind to him. Over the past four years, Busch has posted a quartet of Top 10's, including 3 Top 5's. Last year, he started on the pole and led 65 laps en route to a 3rd place finish. Dating back to 2009, He has 7 Top 10 finishes over the previous 9 California events.
Three To Park
Denny Hamlin (Starting 3rd)-At tracks where Hamlin has made at least 10 career starts, Fontana is the worst non-road course spot for Hamlin, who has a career average finish of just over 19th at the track. Save for an 8th place finish in 2010, the past 7 California starts (he missed the 2014 race) have not been kind to Hamlin, failing to finish in the Top 10 in each remaining event. In addition, of those past 7, Hamlin has failed to finish the race three times, twice due to an accident. Don't let the good starting position fool you either. Despite an average starting position of 2nd, Hamlin's past four finishes at Fontana have been 39th, 11th, 25th, and 28th, with DNFs in half of those.
Brad Keselowski (Starting 15th)-Just how unexpected was Keselowski's win at Fontana last season? For starters, he led just one lap in the entire event (the last of course) and it was the first time he had ever finished high than 18th at the track. Keselowski's numbers are 3rd lowest for him all time, coming home with an average finish of 21st...and that's counting his win last year.
Greg Biffle (Starting 22nd)-Another former winner at Fontana, Biffle has been long looking for a Hollywood ending ever since. He briefly found something close to it with back to back 6th place finishes in 2012-13, but those have been his only Top 10 finishes at Fontana over the past 6 events. In addition, Biffle has failed to lead a lap at Fontana since 2009, and that lone win came all the way back in 2005. Biffle has gotten off to a bit of a tough start on the 2016 season, and counting him to snap out of his funk at Fontana isn't exactly smart money.
Enjoy the race, everybody!
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