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 are 11 races left in the regular season and 3 of them are on either a Superspeedway or Road Courses. So we need 8 starts from our stud drivers. I mapped out the rest of the season and I have enough starts to get us to the end of the regular season.
Fantasy Live Starting Drivers
Kevin Harvick (2): I only have two allocations left with Harvick but I am using one of them Sunday. Harvick had a very fast car in both practices Saturday. No driver ran the top of the track as well as Harvick. The No. 4 car had the 3rd fastest speed in final practice with the best 10-lap, 15-lap and 20-lap average speed. Harvick has been good on worn out 1.5-mile tracks. He finished 4th at Atlanta and Las Vegas and led at least 45 laps in both races. He is my pick to win Sunday.
Denny Hamlin (5): Many of the teams in the garage think Hamlin has the car to beat Sunday. He thinks the same. Hamlin only posted the 13th fastest lap speed in final practice but his car was second fastest to Kevin Harvick on the long runs. Hamlin told MRN Radio, “This car is better than what we had at Texas.” Guess who won the race at Texas? Yes, it was Hamlin. I will take him at his word and use another allocation with the No. 11 car Sunday.
Chase Elliott (4): Elliott really liked his car in practice. Some of the teams said the No. 9 car was the best on the bottom of the track. Elliott posted the 11th fastest speed in final practice with the 5th best 10-lap average speed. Elliott always runs better in the race than how he practices. Elliott finished 4th at Kansas and 4th at Charlotte. I think he will finish in the top 5 again this week.
Alex Bowman (10): Bowman has been good on the large oval tracks since the Cup Series left Texas. He finished 2nd at Kansas (very similar track to Chicagoland Speedway), 7th at Charlotte and 10th at Michigan. Bowman has never finished outside the top 10 at Chicago since he joined Hendrick Motorsports. His car was very fast in practice Saturday. Bowman posted the 8th fastest speed in final practice with the 3rd best 10-lap average speed. Bowman should finish in the top 10 again Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson (7): What to do with Johnson this week? He posted the 6th fastest speed in final practice with the 2nd best 10-lap average speed and the 3rd best 15-lap average speed. He also qualified 4th. So do we trust him or is he fool’s gold? I know I will feel like a fool if he runs well and I did not play him when the stats all looked so good. Good thing we have a Garage Driver. It makes it easier to take a chance with the No. 48 car.
My Garage Driver this week will be Kurt Busch (4). Busch will have a good chance to finish up front and score a lot of Stage points Sunday. He has been at his best on worn out 1.5-mile tracks. Busch finished 3rd at Atlanta, 5th at Las Vegas and 7th at Kansas. Busch has good long run speed in his car. He posted the 10th best 10-lap average speed and the 5th best 15-lap speed. Busch is a insurance policy to have in the Garage.
Fantasy Live Picks for Chicago
** Photos from NASCAR Media
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Good luck this week!
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