Chemical kinetics simulations are used to explore whether detailed measurements of relevant chemical species during the oxidation of very dilute fuels (less than 1 Torr partial pressure) in a high-pressure plug flow reactor (PFR) can predict autoignition propensity. We find that for many fuels the timescale for the onset of spontaneous oxidation in dilute fuel/air mixtures in a simple PFR is similar to the 1st-stage ignition delay time (IDT) at stoichiometric engine-relevant conditions. For those fuels that deviate from this simple trend, the deviation is closely related to the peak rate of production of OH, HO2, CH2O, and CO2 formed during oxidation. We use these insights to show that an accurate correlation between simulated profiles of these species in a PFR and 1st-stage IDT can be developed using convolutional neural networks. Our simulations suggest that the accuracy of such a correlation is 10–50%, which is appropriate for rapid fuel screening and may be sufficient for predictive fuel performance modeling.