Early Week Driver Rankings for Chicago


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will head back to the Midwest to compete at Chicagoland Speedway. This will be the 6th race at a 1.5-mile track so we will have a lot more information to use for the picks this week. The track is bumpy and usually puts on a good show. The race we saw at Kansas Speedway should be similar to what we see in Chicago.  The Camping World 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports (Yes, NBC. Not Fox…so make sure you have the right channel).

There will be no on track activity for the MENCS Friday. The teams will have two practices Saturday followed by qualifying Saturday evening. The first practice is 11 a.m. ET (NBC Sports), final practice is at 2 p.m. ET (NBC Sports) and qualifying is at 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports).

The cars will be back to the 550 HP engine, with aero ducts, 2” splitters and 8” spoilers. It will be the same aero package used at Texas, Kansas, Charlotte and Michigan. It would be a good idea to look at the results from those races before you set your lineups. I expect the previous races from the 2019 season will be a true indicator of which drivers will run well Sunday more than previous track history at Chicagoland Speedway.

My early week pick for the pole is Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 car has won the pole for two of the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Harvick also has the second-best average starting position at Chicagoland Speedway since 2015. Stewart-Haas Racing has had some extra time to get their intermediate track program in order and make a charge for the second-half of the season. I think it starts with one of their cars on the pole for the Camping World 400.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. This week I used driver rating on the 1.5-mile tracks, driver rating at Chicagoland Speedway, average running position at the 1.5-mile tracks this season, green flag passes on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (Drivers have said it is hard to pass in the current aero package. We want drivers who can do it) and momentum over the last four races.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Chicagoland Speedway…

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Chase Elliott
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kurt Busch
7. Joey Logano
8. Kyle Larson
9. Alex Bowman
10. Daniel Suarez
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Erik Jones
14. Ryan Blaney
15. William Byron
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Aric Almirola
18. Jimmie Johnson
19. Chris Buescher
20. Paul Menard
21. Austin Dillon
22. Ryan Newman
23. Daniel Hemric
24. Matt DiBendetto
25. Michael McDowell
26. David Ragan
27. Ryan Preece
28. Ty Dillon
29. Matt Tifft
30. Darrell Wallace Jr.
31. Corey Lajoie
32. Ross Chastain
33. Landon Cassill
34. Quinn Hauff
35. B.J. McLeod
36. Reed Sorenson
37. Bayley Currey


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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