NASCAR Picks for Chicagoland
Length: 1.500 miles
Shape: D-Shaped Oval
Location: Joliet, Illinois
The Chase for the Sprint Cup kicks off this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. While there was already plenty of tension and controversy during last weekend's season finale, the pressure is only going to build from here now that a championship is hanging in the balance. Any mistake from here on out can be the difference between winning and losing the title, and although it takes 10 good races to claim the Sprint Cup, it only takes one bad race to lose it. With just 10 races to go in the 2013 season, fantasy owners are starting to face similar pressure, especially those with ground to make up. Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to lose ground in bunches than to gain it, and for those that are currently in the middle of the pack or worse in your league, it is time to start taking chances. You won't catch the leaders by using the same drivers each week, and while the frontrunners can afford to play it safe, it is time for just about everyone else to start getting creative
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
With Tony Stewart on the shelf, Johnson's 9.3 average finish at Chicagoland is the best among active drivers. In 11 starts at the track, he has nine top-10 finishes. More importantly, Johnson has six top-four finishes at the track, including a second-place finish last year.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
While he only has four top-10 finishes in 12 starts at Chicagoland, Kenseth has been a stud at 1.5-mile tracks all year. He has a 7.0 average finish in six starts and leads all drivers with three wins. Kenseth also has a pair of second-place finishes at Chicagoland, so a win this weekend is definitely within his reach.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
After a rough start at Chicagoland, Kahne has been dialed in at the track lately. He has compiled a 6.0 average finish in his last four starts here and hasn't finished outside the top 12 during the stretch. Kahne finished a career-best third at the track last year, so there is no reason to expect him to slow down this weekend.
Kevin Harvick, #29 Budweiser/Rheem, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Harvick has been one of the more consistent drivers at Chicagoland, and in 12 starts, he has compiled a 10.5 average finish. He has eight top-12 finishes at the track, and he has finished fourth or better six times. Harvick is also a two-time winner at Chicagoland, and he finished second as recently as 2011.
Kyle Busch, #18 Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has been a little up and down at Chicagoland, but Busch has also been able to deliver elite finishes at the track. He has three top-three finishes in eight starts, including a win in 2008 and a fourth-place run last year. Busch also has four top-five finishes in six starts at 1.5-mile tracks in 2013, including two wins.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
His 10.1 average finish at Chicagoland is the third best among active drivers. In seven starts at the track, Bowyer has six top-10 finishes, including four straight. He only has one top-five finish at the track, but his consistency makes him a valuable fantasy option.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Edwards has been in a groove at Chicagoland lately. In his last six starts at the track, he has logged four top-15 finishes. More importantly, he has three top-five finishes during the stretch, including a pair of top-four finishes in the last three races at the track.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he has made sporadic starts at the track, Vickers has always delivered solid finishes at Chicagoland. In fact, his 9.5 average finish is the second best among drivers in the field this weekend. Vickers has never finished outside the top 15 at Chicagoland, and he has finished seventh or better three times.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class A]
The 2012 champ won't be defending his title, but that doesn't mean he can't help owners the rest of the way. After all, Keselowski is the defending race winner of this weekend's event, and he has finished inside the top five in his last two starts at the track.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
There is a lot to love about Logano this weekend. For one, he has never finished outside the top 20 at Chicagoland, and he finished a career-best third at the track last year. Meanwhile, he has scored the most points in the series over the past seven races. Needless to say, his potential is sky high.
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Newman is a former winner at Chicagoland, and he has been very consistent at the track in recent years. Overall, he has seven top-10s in 11 starts, and he has five top-10s in his last six starts. Newman also finished in the top five at Chicagoland last year, so there is a good chance his recent hot streak will continue this weekend.
Jeff Gordon, #24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
The veteran has piled up an excellent record at Chicagoland. In 12 starts, he has finished 11th or better eight times. More importantly, he has six finishes of fourth or better at the track, including a win. Gordon hasn't had the best year, but he could be a great fantasy play this weekend.