Keep an eye on Carl Edwards this weekend; he moved up two spots after last week and has taken over the number four place in season points. Only two of Carl's starts in Fontana have resulted in finishes outside of the top ten. His 7.2 average finish at the Auto Club Speedway reflects the consistency Edwards has been able to bring to this track. His early-season performance in 2010 was less than stellar; Carl finished 13th at the end of the day. With four of Edwards' last five races resulting in top ten finishes, however he has the momentum coming into this race to post a finish that will continue his climb toward the top of the Chase leader board.
With the drama and ensuing stress that the Clint Bowyer team has experienced since New Hampshire finally over, Clint finds himself 252 points behind the Points leader and in the 12th position. Bowyer said before the Kansas race that he doesn't expect to win the Chase after the 150 point penalty but does see finishing the season in the top five as a realistic goal. To reach the top five, Bowyer needs to come out strong this weekend and post a top ten finish, at the very least. With an average finish at the Auto Club Speedway of 12.0 and only one of his nine Cup starts showing a top five finish Clint will have his work cut out for him as he drives toward the front of the pack. If determination alone can do it, Bowyer will find his way to the top ten by the 200th lap on Sunday but it's going to have to be a good day for the RCR # 33 team.
Losing four spots in Chase standings after a disappointing 21st place finish at Kansas last week, Kyle Busch is coming into Fontana in free fall. With an average of 10.8, Kyle posts a top ten finish in more than 66% of the races he starts at the Auto Club Speedway. Knowing the track can go a long way in getting a driver to the front and in twelve Cup Series starts at Fontana, Busch has eight top ten finishes to prove that he knows how to navigate this track. Chances are that we will see Kyle near the front of the field by the end of Sunday's race.
With just three Cup Series starts under his belt at Fontana, Joey Logano comes to this weekend with a 15th place average finish at the Auto Club Speedway. Logano has been fairly quiet in recent weeks, but this could be the weekend he gets back into headlines. Joey posted a 5th place finish in California in the February race and arrives in Fontana with confidence that he can get the job done. A strong qualifying run will be key to getting Logano off to a good start on Sunday.
With 14 starts and five top ten finishes to his credit at the Auto Club Speedway Jamie McMurray shows 16.4 as his average finishing spot at this track. Just outside of the top ten at Kansas, Jamie finished 11th. McMurray will be looking to improve on that result as he makes his way through the field on Sunday. He started the season with a win, then posted a win at Indy; can he show that he can win late in the season, too? Although this may be Jamie's best track, he should be in the top ten by the end of Sunday's race.
Practice at Fontana comes on the air Friday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2 for practice, qualifications will also be on ESPN2 being aired at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's practices will not be aired on television but occur at 1:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. RaceDay on SPEED begins Sunday at Noon, and coverage switches to Pre-Race on ESPN at 2 p.m. The Pepsi Max 400 goes live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Don't miss the fifth race in the NASCAR Chase to the Sprint Cup Championship as drivers continue to battle for position, on the track and in the points.