The MENCS competes at Chicagoland Speedway this week in the Overton’s 400. This is the sixth race of the season on a 1.5-mile track. The cream usually rises to the top at these tracks so do not be afraid to use allocations with your top drivers. There will be plenty of time to save allocations during the summer races.
Here are my picks for Chicago…
Kevin Harvick (4): How can you go wrong with Harvick this week? He has finished 1st or 2nd in 4 of the 5 races on the 1.5-mile tracks. The only race he did not finish in the top 2 was at Charlotte where he had the fastest car but a flat tire sent him into the wall. Harvick has been the most dominating driver on the 1.5-mile tracks this season so I am not afraid to burn an allocation with the No. 4 car in the Heartland.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Brad Keselowski 3) Kyle Busch 4) Martin Truex Jr. 5) Denny Hamlin 6) Joey Logano 7) Kyle Larson 8) Jimmie Johnson
Clint Bowyer (4): The No. 14 team continues to bring fast cars to the race track. Ryan Newman told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, “Chicago is a worn out track which races a lot like Michigan. The drivers who ran well at Michigan should perform well this week.” Guess who won at Michigan? Clint Bowyer! I am quickly running out of allocations with Bowyer but I am not too worried about it. Bowyer qualified 6th and he had the 5th fastest long-run speed in final practice. What I really liked about Bowyer is that he is the only driver to post his fastest lap late in practice. The No. 14 should be really good again this week.
Chase Elliott (6): Chicagoland Speedway ranks as the No. 1 track for Elliott. He has finished 2nd and 3rd in his two races at the track and he has the 2nd-best driver rating. Hendrick Motorsports is starting to perform better. The No. 9 car had some speed in practice Saturday. Elliott starts 3rd and I expect this to be Elliott’s best race so far this season.
* I would use Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch over my picks if I had 4 or more allocations with them.
Group B Rankings: 1) Kurt Busch 2) Clint Bowyer 3) Ryan Blaney 4) Chase Elliott 5) Aric Almirola 6) Paul Menard 7) Jamie McMurray 8) Erik Jones
Darrell Wallace Jr (9): I have not used any allocations yet with Wallace Jr. The No. 43 car showed enough speed in practice to make me think it is time to give Wallace a spot in my lineup. Wallace was 15th fastest and qualified 26th. His average finishing position in the last 3 races on the 1.5-mile tracks is 15.5. I will gladly take a top-15 finish from Wallace this week.
Group C Rankings: 1) William Byron 2) Alex Bowman 3) Darrell Wallace Jr. 3) Chris Buescher 4) David Ragan 5) Michael McDowell
Good luck this week!
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