Betting Advice and Analysis For The Wise Power 400
Sunday could mark the final iteration of the two-mile track at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. NASCAR planned to shorten the track to a half-mile and have the first race at the short circuit in 2023. But the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the renovation process, halting any final celebration of the 25-year-old two-mile version of Auto Club Speedway.
The Wise Power 400 will also be the first real look at how the new NextGen cars pan out with the new packages, making for some interesting NASCAR betting options.
Three weeks ago, the cars debuted at the quarter-mile track at the Los Angeles Coliseum before the restrictor-plate race at Daytona last weekend.
Drivers reiterated the same theme this week, with many unsure what to expect from the new car this weekend. Teams will have just 15 minutes of practice before qualifying on Saturday, which doesn’t give drivers much to work on with a new car at a track that hasn’t held a Cup race in two years.
“It’s always tire management, it’s always moving around the racetrack, being able to run the top and the bottom, but this car is so different in the way that it uses the tires, and the way it uses the right-rear tire, especially,” Kevin Harvick said. “I think as you look at that, it could turn into a tire conservation type of situation to where just have to pick a speed and run the speed so you can make it through a whole fuel run. You just don’t know those things until you go do it, so being able to adapt and adjust is going to be important.”
Kyle Busch to win +850 FanDuel
The uncertainty around the new car and how it responds to each track has me leaning towards the accomplished drivers early on. I’ve already discussed my reasons for selecting Busch as this year’s champion, and I feel comfortable backing him at a track he’s had success on. I like this bet at FanDuel Sportsbook.
At Fontana, Busch leads all active drivers in wins (four), top fives (11), top 10s (16) and laps led (807) in 22 Cup starts. He’s had plenty of recent success, too, finishing second in 2020, winning the race and all three stages in 2019 and finishing third in 2018. In his last nine starts, he’s finished third or better seven times, including three victories.
His optimism this week is reassuring, too.
“I really enjoy the two-mile track,” Busch said. “I love going out to California. It’s a driver’s track and it’s aged over time. The surface has been ground, but I don’t think it’s been paved since it was first built back in 1997 or 1998. It’s been a long time with the place being aged, and it’s aged well. You can run all over it. Typically, recently you run up around the wall in the turns but you can still move around a bit. I hope the NextGen car will also allow us to move around and be pretty racy. We’ll go there this weekend with our Interstate Batteries Camry and try and get another win there.”
Chase Briscoe +7000 FanDuel
Auto Club Speedway is the first race where the discrepancy in each team’s equipment is evident. Smaller-budget teams can manage to compete at a quarter-mile track at the Coliseum and can hang around in the draft at Daytona. But a two-mile track like Auto Club Speedway should allow the dominant teams such as Hendrick, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske to run near the front.
This can make finding longshots difficult, especially with teams who may not have the resources compared to a Hendrick to invest and produce a competitive version of the NextGen car.
But Chase Briscoe could be worth a shot here, despite only racing at Auto Club Speedway twice in his career and never at the Cup level. Briscoe finished sixth in 2019 before taking 19th in 2020 after starting third. There is some reason for optimism to back Briscoe at this number. Last year at Michigan, a similar track to Auto Club Speedway, Briscoe took 11th.
“I love going to Auto Club," Briscoe said this week. "I've only raced there twice and never in Cup, but having the new car now really helps me in that area. I think we’re all still learning a lot about what we can do with the NextGen, so I don’t feel like I’m behind so much.
"It’s so slick and worn out and, with these cars being so on edge, I think it’s going to be really easy for some guys to get a little too close to that line that takes you too far over the edge and ruins your day. I’ve always said this kind of track works well with a dirt guy’s background. There are so many changes throughout the race and Auto Club is a track where you have to have the most throttle control out of anywhere we go.”
Briscoe’s best odds are at FanDuel where he is +7000 to win on Sunday, which is a substantially better number than the +5000 odds he has at DraftKings.
Kyle Busch Top 3 +210 on FanDuel
For all the reasons above, this is my favorite prop this week. If you bet one unit on this prop bet the last nine times at these odds, you’d be up over 12 units. Seven top-three finishes in Busch’s last nine races at Auto Club Speedway is enough reason to back him at this number.
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