NASCAR Picks for Chicagoland
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
While he is still looking for his first top-five finish at Chicagoland, Truex is still a safe bet to deliver a decent finish this weekend. After all, he has finished outside the top 20 only once in seven starts, and he finished a career-best ninth at the track last year. Meanwhile, Truex has finished in the top 10 in all six races at 1.5-mile tracks this year.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He has a respectable 14.3 average finish in 12 starts at Chicagoland, and he has only finished outside the top 20 in three starts at the track. Junior picked up a win in 2005, and he has finished third and eighth at the track the past two years. Look for Junior to finish in or around the top 10 again this weekend.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Coming off his first top-10 since replacing Tony Stewart, Martin could be in for another solid run this weekend at Chicagoland. He has a 12.6 average finish at the track, and in 12 starts, he has finished in the top 15 nine times. Martin also won at Chicagoland in 2009, and he will be driving for a No. 14 team that has never finished outside the top 10 at the track.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Busch has been boom or bust at Chicagoland, but when he runs well, he is a top-10 driver. In fact, he has finished eighth or better six times in 12 starts at the track. On the flip side, he has five finishes outside the top 25 at the track, so there is some risk involved.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he is normally an excellent driver at 1.5-mile tracks, Biffle has never had a lot of luck at Chicagoland. In fact, he has only finished in the top 10 in one of his 10 starts at the track. Biffle does have five top-15 finishes at Chicagoland, but his upside is minimal this weekend compared to his typical standards.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
He has been in a dreadful slump, and now, Hamlin has to head to a Chicagoland track where he hasn't had much success. In eight starts, he has managed just four top-10s, and he has finished outside the top 15 four times. If Hamlin hasn't been able to break his slump at some of his best tracks, it seems unlikely to happen at a track where he has been below average.
A.J. Allmendinger, #47 Kingsford/Clorox, JTG Daugherty Racing [Yahoo Class C]
Bobby Labonte's injury will sideline him at least another weekend, and Allmendinger will earn an extra start in the No. 47. Meanwhile, fantasy owners earn an extra sleeper option. After all, Allmendinger has finished in the top 15 in three of his four starts at Chicagoland.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His 24.7 average finish at Chicagoland leaves a lot to be desired, but Menard has been a much better driver at the track lately. He has three straight top-20s at the track and has finished in the top 15 twice during the stretch. Menard should make a solid sleeper pick this weekend.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite a reputation for being inconsistent at intermediate ovals, Montoya has compiled a 16.0 average finish in six starts at Chicagoland. He has three top-15 finishes and has only finished outside the top 20 once. Montoya has also been running his best in recent weeks, so he has legit sleeper potential.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The rookie logged his first top-10 of the season last weekend, and he has quietly been running well in recent weeks. Stenhouse enters Chicagoland on a five-race streak of top-20 finishes, including a 16th-place finish at another 1.5-mile track in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. He should at least be able to manage a top-20 finish this weekend.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Burton has actually been better at Chicagoland in recent years than he was early in his career. He has five top-20s in his last seven starts at the track and has four top-15s during the stretch. Burton also has a pair of top-15s in his last three starts at Chicagoland, so he does have value as a sleeper pick this weekend.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He made his debut at Chicagoland last year, and Almirola finished a respectable 17th. If he can at least repeat the result this weekend, he will be a decent sleeper pick in most formats. Meanwhile, he has an outside shot at a top-15 finish if he improves at all.
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