who to watch at the auto club 500
roger penske built the track at california but you would think roush and hendrick own it. in 11 races penske has 2 wins with rusty and mayfield. elliot saddler has 1 and the roush and hendrick teams have battled for the 8 remaining wins. so it is safe to say that one of the hendrick/ roush teams will walk away with the win. question is whick one? they make up about 23% of the field. biffle is clearly the favorite with his success there last year and strong qualifying and practice for tomorrows race. hes bringing the car he won with 4 times last year including california and its sister track michigan.
kenseth has some ground to gain in the points and im sure has something to prove after feeling robbed of a chance to win the daytona 500 last weekend.
gordon still seems to struggle when mired in traffic, much like last year and the jury is still out whether theyve turned the corner on these intermediate tracks with latarte as the crewcheif. none of the roush cars have any problems driving up through the field. i think j. johnson will run about the same as if knaus were there. i dont think the absence will affect him but it may not translate into another 1st place finish.
the dodge camp is split between running the 2004 intrepid and the 06 charger. while kurt bush has been great in capturing the pole and placing 3rd in practice, i dont expect him to dominate but could hold off for a win if he captures the lead late. newman is racing in the busch race and could find himself up front with some late pit strategy with info learned from tonights race. i will be watching reed sorensen and clint boyer as 2 rookies who could make some noise in this race. this track has been friendly to rookies.
1. matt kenseth
2. greg biffle
3. t. stewart
4. brian vickers
5. kurt bush
darkhorses include: mark martin (who should never really be looked at as a darkhorse),
kasey kahne, jimmie johnson (only a darkhorse cause he is w/o knaus), and jamie mcmurray who has excellent equipment.
bold prediction: kyle petty will stay out to lead atleast 1 lap (and get me some desperately needed fantasy points). it will be fairly uneventful and 1driver will easilly lead atleast 50% of the laps. most likely biffle. dale jr.s name will rarely be mentionned during the broadcast.
pick your winner or better yet top 5
Last edited by tony hipchest; 02-25-2006 at 05:31 PM.