Driver Group Game Picks for Chicago

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The NASCAR Cup Series is ready to race for the second time in the streets of Chicago. The first race did not go as planned. The teams were able to get some track time to shake down their cars for the Grant Park 165 and then they lined up for qualifying. The street course in Chicago is too long for the drivers to make many long-runs in practice, so we will have to focus our picks on the driver’s history on road courses, their performance at Chicago last year and the single lap speeds from Saturday’s practice.

Here is my starting lineup for the Grant Park 165

 

KYLE LARSON (5): The only driver who could keep up with Christopher Bell in the first two Stages was Larson. He did not lead any laps (because Bell was so far ahead), but Larson had the second-best average running position in the first two Stages. The No. 5 team was also screwed by NASCAR’s decision to shorten the race. That must of pissed off Larson, because he came back this weekend and put on a show in practice and qualifying. Larson starts on the pole and he should be the top driver in Group A.

 

MICHAEL MCDOWELL (6): This is the week to use an allocation with McDowell. He looked really good in the streets of Chicago last year. McDowell qualified sixth, finished fifth in both Stages and finished seventh in the race. McDowell won on the road course in Indy last year and he finished second at Sonoma last month. He is no stranger to running up front on the road courses, so I plan to use an allocation with the No. 34 car Sunday.

TY GIBBS (4): Gibbs will be my backup plan for Daniel Suarez. Gibbs is a really good road course racer. He started 12th, led one lap, finished ninth in Stage 1, sixth in Stage 2 and ninth in the race at Chicago last year. Gibbs also finished three of his last four road course races in the top-five. I hope to save an allocation with Gibbs Sunday, but I have a feeling he will be too fast in practice and qualifying for me to fade.

 

 

SHANE VAN GISBERGEN (8): SVG will be in the No. 16 car for Kaulig Racing this weekend. He is back to defend his win last year. SVG really put on a show on the streets of Chicago last year. He has a lot of experience on these types of tracks and most of the Cup Series drivers were running a street course for the first time. I expect the competition to be much better in year two at Chicago, but SVG is still clearly the driver to beat Sunday.

 

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