Mar 21, 2014; Fontana, CA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth (20) during practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Picks - California

The land of the fast and furious is a welcome sight as sunny skies and warm weather awaits us on Sunday for the AAA Auto Club 400.

Matt Kenseth lit up the totem board by taking the Coors Light Pole in a knock out qualifying session as Kenseth surprised himself after posting the seventh fastest lap during practice.

Kenseth is very good here at California with 3 wins second only to Jimmie Johnson and his average finish is 9.1 so a top ten should be in order.

Team Penske continues to post a front row start yet again as Brad Keselowski starts next to Kenseth and teammate Joey Logano starts in the seventh spot.

The real story today is the emergence of Jimmie Johnson who dominated the first practice and was the odds on favorite on taking the pole but he will start in the third spot and Jimmie is darn good here at California Speedway.

How good is Jimmie Johnson, lets say awesome! Since his rookie season Jimmie has 4 wins, 10 top 5s and 12 top 10s and leads all drivers with the best finishing average of 5.1, in other words if you have the money on your fantasy team to get him don’t hesitate. Johnson starts third.

Hendricks Motor Sport drivers have all been at the top or near the top during first practice and it showed in qualifying.

Jeff Gordon starts sixth and was second in first practice and even though he hasn’t won here since his rainbow days, he should figure in the run for the checkers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was fourth in final practice and starts fifteen but should be around for a top six run on Sunday after last weeks hiccup at Bristol.

Kasey Kahne didn’t fair to well during practice or qualifying but he has a win here with 3 top 5s and 9 top 10s during the past ten years, he should get a top twelve on Sunday and a good buy on your fantasy teams.

You can’t ignore Kevin Harvick on Sunday as Kevin has posted the best average the past five years at California with a 5.4 finish with 1 win, 3 top 5s and 4 top 10s.

The top practice speeds after first practice:

#48-Johnson 188.664
#24-Gordon 188.5113
#15-Bowyer 187.774
#88-Earnhardt, Jr. 187.740
#2-Keselowski 187.003

Only twice has the winner at California has come from the front row and most winners come inside the top ten between third and tenth.

Chevy’s have dominated the manufacturer with the most wins the past five years with four and Toyota won last years race with Kyle Busch.

I see this race going green for the most part with three to four yellows and fuel mileage will probably figure in.

Here’s my Ice Pick’s Racing Points = Money:

A list


Jimmie Johnson- is driving Chassis #48-799, Johnson drove this chassis to Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway last August and to a fifth-place result at Chicagoland Speedway last September.

Kevin Harvick- is driving Chassis No. 4-850 Built new for 2014 and one of the favorites on Sunday.

Matt Kenseth- is flat-out good here and should figure in the checkers.


B List


Brad Keselowski- is driving a new Chassis PRS 867 and starting second should figure in for a good run.

Joey Logano- is driving a new Chassis PRS 868 and has figured out this track and nearly won last year.

Denny Hamlin- almost won this race last year until Logano decided to do a payback, he gets my nod and starts 13.

Brian Vickers- is driving a new chassis and is very good at Fontana, his a sleeper.


C List


Kyle Larson- is a rookie but a darn good one too, don’t be surprised if he takes the checkers on Sunday.

Groupings are based on last years final points standings and refer to Daytona’s  RP=M picks article.

Remember to check out my Power Rankings-Fantasy Insider for the upcoming race on Wednesday, Good Luck!

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Tags: Auto Club Speedway Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth NASCAR

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