NASCAR’s Cup Series pushes farther west this week to Fontana, California for the running of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 on FOX starting at 2:30 p.m. (ET).
After cashing in on Joey Logano at longer +1150 odds for his win in Las Vegas, I added to my betting bankroll by going chalk on Kyle Busch at +375 to win last Sunday’s race in Phoenix. With the Cup Series’ West Coast swing coming to an end this Sunday, I am letting it ride on Busch to win again this week at Fontana.
Kyle Busch +500
Busch joins Kevin Harvick as co-favorites to win on Sunday, but I am going with the No. 18 Toyota again coming off an impressive performance at ISM Raceway in last Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500. Busch led that race for 177 laps before laying claim to the checkered flag and his first win of the year in a Cup Series event. He led 37 laps at Daytona in a second-place finish and he tallied 13 laps in the lead at Las Vegas before finishing third. With a 4-for-4 run inside the top 10 in the first four events of the new season, his team is first in the current Cup Series standings with 177 total points.
Busch raced his way to a third-place finish at Fontana last season after posting back-to-back victories here in 2013 and 2014. Going back to the 2011 racing season, he has placed third or better in five of seven Cup Series events.
Aric Almirola +2150
Almirola is actually tied for seventh on 5Dimes’ futures list to win this race. Even more amazing is that the fact that the three drivers ahead of him on that list have +650 odds to win. This steep drop in the numbers adds even more value to his longer odds. Driving the No. 10 Ford, he bounced back nicely from a wreck at Daytona with three-straight runs inside the top 10. He is also moving in the right direction with a season-best fourth-place finish last Sunday. He was able to hold the lead for 26 laps after leading the race at Atlanta for 36 laps earlier in the season. This team is seventh in the standings with a total of 134 points.
This pick is definitely not based on Almirola’s track record at Fontana that includes an average finishing position of 25.8. This pick is based on his current form and the ability to stay near the front of the pack for the entire race.
Jimmie Johnson +5500
It is hard to believe that a driver that has won seven career racing titles has struggled as much as Johnson has going back to the 2018 season. His No. 48 Chevrolet was shut out of the Winner’s Circle for the first time in his Hall of Fame racing career. This year’s start has been a bit more encouraging with a pair of Top 10 runs in the first four events. However, it is going to take a few wins to snap out of this current racing funk.
His best chance to get that first win could be this Sunday at one of Johnson’s favorite tracks. The native Californian has won here five times with the last victory coming in 2016. His averaging finishing position at Fontana is an impressive 7.2. Even through last year’s nightmare of a season, he was able to salvage a ninth-place finish in this race.