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Fantasy Racing: Auto Club 500

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 19 2010

Auto Club 500
Auto Club Speedway
Sunday February 21, 3PM ET, FOX

AutoClub_500_Wht_TypeWhat we learned at Daytona: I promise not to mention the p-word anywhere in this column… Well, we really didn’t learn too much given that it’s a restrictor plate track, but I do think that the Richard Petty Motorsports cars are going to be better than people expect on the intermediate tracks. Hint: this will make sense later… We probably also learned that Daytona will be infinitely more exciting than Fontana. Hopefully I’m wrong… Fox forgot that Marcos Ambrose was in the race. Anyone have any idea what happened to him?

Five to Drive:

Carl Edwards: Edwards is a no-brainer lock to be a contender, but there’s a giant caveat to picking Edwards this week. NASCAR’s most talked about pregnancy of 2010 (until Jimme and Chandra’s baby is due) still hasn’t gone into labor yet, so there’s a chance that Carl may miss the race.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin might have had the best car at California in the fall, but admitted that he let Jimmie Johnson get in his head, which led to his wreck. Hamlin doesn’t have to worry about Johnson this time around.

Kurt Busch: Kurt was pretty stout at the intermediate tracks in 2009 and there’s no reason to expect any dropoff right away. And when Steve Addington and Kyle Busch hit their setups on intermediate tracks, they were almost unbeatable.

Joey Logano: Logano improved dramatically towards the end of the season last year, especially on the intermediates. He was 26th in this race last year and 14th in the fall. 2nd is obviously a little much to expect, but improvement isn’t out of the question.

Clint Bowyer: People purportedly in the know say that the Richard Childress cars will be very good this weekend and Bowyer historically hasn’t been too bad at California. He’s your best bet if you got with a RCR car.

Two to Boo:

AJ Allmendinger: Dinger hasn’t had a good time at California, finishing 29th and 33rd last year. The whole Ford thing could help that, however. Still, I’m going with history until proven otherwise.

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been incredibly consistent at ACS, but come on, he just got a new crew chief! I still can’t believe Jack Roush pulled the trigger after the first race of the season, at a restrictor plate nonetheless.

Stone Cold Lock of the Week:

Kasey Kahne: Combine Kahne’s prowess at intermediate tracks and Ford horsepower and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. I’d be shocked if Kahne finished outside the top 10. But of course, I think he’s going to dominate and win.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 19 2010
One Comment

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  • Bob says:

    Hopefully with RPM going over to Ford will help that organization. I would like to see Kasey Kahne content for the championship this year. I know he made the chase, but would like to see him upfront.

    I too was incredibly shocked that Roush made a crew chief change so quickly, there must have been more to the story, maybe Matt wasn’t happy with Blickensderfer.