Fantasy Live Picks for Chicago

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The NASCAR Cup Series will race through the streets of Chicago Sunday. Many people have been waiting a long time for this race. Will it be one of the best races of the 2023 season? I doubt it, but that is not the goal for NASCAR. They want to get their product in front of as many new people as possible. Racing on some of the most iconic streets in our country over 4th of July weekend is one way of checking that box. I hope it turns out well for them. The Grant Park 220 can be seen Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

The Fantasy Live picks continue to run hot. The picks are currently outscoring 99.6% of the entries on the nascar.com website. I mapped out the allocations for the rest of the regular season and we are in good shape to use our drivers at their best tracks. We just need to get through this unpredictable race Sunday and the crapshoot at Daytona at the end of the season.

Here are the Fantasy Live Points so far this year….

 

 

STRATEGY FOR CHICAGO

This is going to be a tough race to predict because the heavy Gen-7 car has never raced on a tight street course before. Will this race be another game of “follow the leader” like it was at Sonoma? It would not surprise me. Track position will be important, so I will be using many of the drivers who qualified up front and have good results on the road courses in their careers.

 

CUP SERIES PRACTICE SPEEDS

The Cup Series had a 50-minute practice session for the teams to dial in their cars for the street course race in Chicago. The track is 2.2-miles, so only a few drivers were able to make some long runs in practice. We were still able to get enough data to help us handicap the Grant Park 220. The cars were lined up for qualifying immediately after practice. They did not have time to adjust the cars like they did last week in Nashville. The speeds from Saturday’s practice should translate into race speed Sunday.

 

 

FANTASY LIVE LINEUP FOR CHICAGO

DENNY HAMLIN (3): I have three allocations left with Hamlin and I was saving them for New Hampshire, Richmond and Michigan. I cannot ignore the speed that the No. 11 car has. It was the fastest car in practice and Hamlin won the pole for the race. If NASCAR had Stage Breaks, I would probably use another driver. The race will not be stopped at the end of the Stages, so Hamlin could get the lead and run away from the field (like Cole Custer did in the Xfinity Series race). I will go ahead and use one of my last allocations with Hamlin. If you want to fade him, use AJ Allmendinger in his spot.

MARTIN TRUEX JR. (5): I wasn’t planning on using Truex at Chicago, but I have five allocations left with nine races to go. I will fade Truex at Atlanta and Daytona, so that gives me five allocations for seven races. Truex just smoked the field at Sonoma. The No. 19 car looks fast again. The No. 19 car posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice and qualified 11th for the race. Truex should finish in the top-10, with the upside to win the race in Chicago.

TYLER REDDICK (5): Reddick has been the best driver in the Cup Series on the road courses, using the Gen-7 car. He has won three of the last six races on the road courses. He led 41 of the 75 laps on his way to Victory Lane at COTA earlier this season. Reddick could have a similar race in Chicago. Reddick posted the eighth-fastest speed in practice and qualified second for the race. I have plenty of allocations left with Reddick, so I will use one of them in Chicago.

CHRISTOPHER BELL (7): Bell is no stranger to Victory Lane on the road courses. He won the Daytona Road Course race in 2021 and he won again last year at the Charlotte Roval. He also finished ninth at COTA earlier this season. Bell posted the fifth fastest speed in practice and qualified fourth for the race. You cannot have too many Toyota’s in your lineup for Sunday’s race.

DANIEL SUAREZ (8): Suarez has been hit or miss on the road courses in his career. He either finishes up front or crashes out of the race. That is OK in Fantasy Live because we can replace Suarez if he wrecks. Suarez posted the 11th fastest speed in practice and qualified fifth for the race. Suarez won last year at Sonoma. He should be good again on the Chicago Street Course.

(GARAGE PICK) MICHAEL MCDOWELL (9): McDowell said that his team has had this race circled on the calendar ever since it was released that the Cup Series would be racing through the streets of Chicago. McDowell has a lot of talent on the road course and his team knows this is one of their best chances to win a race in 2023. McDowell posted the 15th-fastest speed in practice and qualified sixth for the Grant Park 220. McDowell should be a good insurance policy to have in the Garage Sunday.

 

Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCARI will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.