2022 Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Predictions and Pick

| February 23, 2022 8:10 pm PDT

The Daytona 500 is always a tough race to predict, but I almost came through with my Ryan Blaney selection. He almost passed Austin Cindric on the final lap but settled for a fourth-place finish.

This week, the Cup Series will return to Auto Club for the first time since 2020. The 2.0-mile track will host the final race on this configuration before transitioning to a short track.

Which driver can close out the 2.0-mile configuration with a victory? Here are my favorite bets for the Cup Series race at Auto Club.

Kyle Larson (+400)

I didn’t have Kyle Larson among my top picks for the Daytona 500, but it was only a matter of time before the 2021 Cup Series champion found his way into my top picks.

Larson surprised everyone in his first Cup Series start at Auto Club. Larson was a rookie in 2014, when he went from 10th to second on the final restart. He nearly defeated Kyle Busch but settled for second.

In 2017, Larson came through with a dominant performance. He led 110 laps from the pole, passing Denny Hamlin on a late restart to earn his first victory at the track. The following season, Larson finished runner-up to Martin Truex Jr.

In the last two Auto Club races, Larson has been in a crash. He recovered from a multi-car crash in 2019 to finish 12th. However, he didn’t have the same fortune in 2020.

Hamlin turned him into the wall early in the race. Larson never got back on the lead lap, finishing 21st.

Larson has shown speed in the race, but it seems like something keeps him from contending. Last season, Larson put that stuff behind him, and I expect the same this weekend.

Kyle Busch (+800) 

Kyle Busch has been good at basically every track in the Cup Series. However, he has been nearly unbeatable at Auto Club in the last few years. Going back to the beginning of his career, Busch won his first career Cup Series race at the track in 2005.

In the last nine Auto Club races, Busch has some unbelievable numbers.

  • 3 wins
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 8 top 10 finishes
  • 564 laps led
  • 5.1 average finish

If not for a 25th-place finish in 2016, Busch would have a ridiculous 2.6 average finish at Auto Club since 2011. What stands out to me is the laps led. He led over 60 laps in three races he didn’t win at the track.

Overall, he led 60+ laps in five of his last nine races at Auto Club. One of his victories only saw him lead five laps. He passed Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch on the final lap in 2014.

Many people are expecting a big year for Busch. He had a solid finish at Daytona, and he should be in contention to win this week at Auto Club.

Martin Truex Jr. (+1000)

Martin Truex Jr. isn’t a great superspeedway driver, but he showcased his skill set by winning both stages in the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, a late-race crash relegated him to a 13th-place finish.

Truex had a pair of sixth-place finishes early in his career at Auto Club, but we didn’t see him consistently compete for the win until 2017. Check out his numbers over the last four races.

  Finishing Position Laps Led (of 200)
2017 4th 73
2018 1st 125
2019 8th 0
2020 14th 3

He obliterated the field in 2018, winning at Auto Club by over 11 seconds. He had a great car the following season but was in an early-race wreck.

In 2020, Truex was running second when he came to pit road for a green-flag pit stop. He had a slow pit stop after one of his crew members injured his hand. That fluke situation relegated him to a 14th-place finish.

If not for those situations, Truex could be on a streak of four straight top-five finishes. He should be able to bounce back with a great run this weekend. I’d keep my eye on the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Chris Buescher (+3500)

Chris Buescher was one of my top sleepers for the Daytona 500. He was looking good until a late-race crash ended his day. Buescher might not have a good track record outside of Daytona, but I’m running it back at Auto Club.

Buescher hasn’t done anything impressive in six starts at the track. His best finish is 16th in 2019 and 2020. So why am I picking him as a longshot? I’m thinking about his success at similar tracks.

Auto Club is a high-wear track. Check out his results on five high-wear intermediate tracks last season.

  • Homestead: 19th
  • Atlanta: 6th
  • Darlington: 7th
  • Atlanta: 16th
  • Darlington: 9th

What’s interesting about those finishes is Homestead was by far his best performance. Buescher had the car to beat early, leading 57 laps and winning stage one. He fell off in the final stage, but we can’t discount his race-winning speed.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Buescher ran in the top 10. We’ve seen wild finishes at Auto Club, so if Buescher can put himself in position, maybe he’ll be in the right place at the right time.

Who Will Win the 2022 Wise Power 400?

  • Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch is garnering much attention for the 2022 Cup Series season, and I don’t think he wastes much time picking up his first victory. Busch’s Auto Club stats speak for themselves. He has been so good for so long. Does anyone think he’ll slow down now?

There’s no doubt I’m heading over to the top NASCAR betting sites to wager on Busch. I’d encourage everyone to visit the sites to place a bet on your top pick.

The Cup Series race is Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Fans can check out my picks for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race below.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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