NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions For The Wise Power 400 At Auto Club Speedway

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Back to the west coast.

After a wild Daytona 500 that saw rookie Austin Cindric throw a monster block on his teammate Ryan Blaney and hold off a hard-charging Bubba Wallace to take home the checkered flag in only his second start in the Great American Race, NASCAR is back at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for the first time since 2020.

The green flag waves at 3:47 PM eastern time, and in somewhat of a surprise, Daytona 500 winner Cindric ran the fastest lap during yesterday’s qualifying and will sit on the pole. And in another surprise, he’ll be joined on the front row by Erik Jones in the #43 Petty GMS Chevrolet.

NASCAR debuted their new practice and qualifying format at Auto Club, with drivers split into two groups for 15 minute practice sessions before single lap qualifying. The top 5 from each group advanced to the final round of qualifying to set the top 10 in the starting lineup.

But through practice and qualifying, it’s already been an eventful weekend.

Kurt Busch failed pre-race inspection three times and wasn’t allowed to qualify, so he’ll start at the back of the field and have to serve a pass-through penalty immediately after the green flag drops.

Then Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace and Ross Chastain all had incidents in practice, including a hard hit for Ross Chastain, so they weren’t even able to make a qualifying lap and will all join Busch in the back of the field.

Several other drivers had incidents during practice, and then three of the top 10 drivers spun out during their final qualifying lap, including Chase Elliott, who had posted the fastest time of his group in the first round of qualifying.

So with the lineup set, let’s get to the odds, picks and predictions.

Wise Power 400 Odds:

Kyle Larson +450
Kyle Busch +750
Denny Hamlin +750
Chase Elliott +800
Ryan Blaney +1100
Joey Logano +1100
Martin Truex Jr. +1100
William Byron +1300
Alex Bowman +1500
Kevin Harvick +1700
Tyler Reddick +1800
Brad Keselowski +2200
Kurt Busch +2200
Austin Cindric +2400
Ross Chastain +2800
Christopher Bell +3400
Austin Dillon +4400
Chris Buescher +5500
Erik Jones +5500
Justin Haley +7000
Bubba Wallace +7000
Chase Briscoe +7000
Harrison Burton +7500
Aric Almirola +8000
Daniel Hemric +8500
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +10000
Daniel Suarez +10000
Cole Custer +13000
Ty Dillon +15000
Michael McDowell +15000
Todd Gilliland +15000
B.J. McLeod +20000
Corey Lajoie +20000
Cody Ware +20000
Josh Bilicki +20000
Garrett Smithley +20000


The consensus in the garage area seems to be that this new Next Gen car is the hardest car to drive that most of these guys have ever driven in the Cup Series. It’s on the edge, and whereas in the past drivers could get away with mistakes, the margin of error seems to be basically zero with the new car.

The driver who wins this week is going to be the one who takes care of his equipment and figures out how to go fast while not pushing it over the edge during what could be a caution-filled race during the Next Gen car’s debut on a mile-and-a-half speedway.

Kyle Larson seems to be the favorite in the odds and the garage area after his dominant performance on mile-and-a-half tracks last year, but will that success transfer over to the new car? And Larson’s always been one to push his car right to the edge, so can he avoid going too hard and finding himself in trouble to take the win?

The Penske cars seem to have good speed too, and they’re riding high on the momentum of a Daytona 500 win (though Blaney still might not be too happy with Cindric after that block on the last lap).

Fords also seem to have an advantage in the engine department – at least for now – and are undefeated in the Clash at the Coliseum, the Duels and the Daytona 500, so it’ll be interesting to see if another manufacturer can finally notch a win in the Next Gen car or if the Fords just have it figured out better so far.

And can Brad Keselowski, who managed to take out half the field in three separate incidents at Daytona, keep the fenders on the car long enough to take advantage of his Ford’s speed?

As far as the underdogs go, Kaulig Racing has showed some great speed during their first full year in the Cup Series, and Daniel Hemric qualified fifth in the #16 car (a ride that he’s sharing with two other drivers this year).

With so much unknown coming into this race, especially after so many incidents during qualifying, the proven mile-and-a-half winners are the safe bets this week, guys like Larson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

But with a new car that levels the playing field, don’t be surprised to see some different faces who have shown speed early in the season mix it up for the win either – guys like Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain, or Cole Custer, who won yesterday’s Xfinity Series race, would be good bets if they can take care of their equipment until the end of the race.


With so many unknowns in this Next Gen car’s mile-and-a-half debut, here’s what we’re going with for Fontana.

Winner: Kyle Busch

Top 3: Martin Truex Jr.

Top 5: Brad Keselowski

Top 10: Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock