After a bit of wild-card race last weekend at Sonoma, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series gets back to its bread and butter this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Sunday’s Overton’s 400 will be the sixth race of the year at a mile-and-a-half oval, and if you have been reading my articles this year or in the past, you already know my strategy when it comes to the 1.5-mile tracks.
The gap between the top drivers and top teams and everyone else is usually at its widest at the mile-and-a-half tracks, and this year has been no exception as Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have consistently been the class of the field.
Needless to say, I love to load up my season-long lineups with big names at fantasy-friendly tracks like Chicagoland. Not only do I have my best chance of maximizing the potential of the top fantasy options, but there probably aren’t going to be many quality sleepers to target anyway.
This is particularly important in Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game because of the limit on how many times you can use each driver. It is imperative that you get the most out of the top options because a Top 10 finish with no stage point out of someone like Kevin Harvick in Fantasy Live is basically a wasted start when he is going to finish in the Top 5 and get a dozen or more stage points most weeks.
Chicagoland is a track where there is a high probability that you can a dominant performance from the top guys, so you need to take full advantage. We have another road course, some flat tracks and Daytona still to come over the summer, so there will be other opportunities to utilize sleepers and save starts. Be aggressive and go with big names this weekend.
1. Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing
Harvick has been the man to beat at the 1.5-mile ovals this season, winning three of the first five races and leading more laps than any other driver. His four Top 5s in those five races are also tied for the most in the series. He’s the No. 1 option in any and all formats heading into the weekend.
2. Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing
He will be going for a Chicagoland three-peat this weekend, and with four Top 5s in the first five races at 1.5-mile tracks, Truex just might pull it off. At worst, he should be in line for another Top 5, and he should be one of the top plays in both season-long and DFS formats.
3. Kyle Busch, #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing
Busch is a former winner at Chicagoland, and he has led more than 20 laps in the last five races here. Meanwhile, no driver has been more reliable at the mile-and-a-half tracks in 2018. Busch has two wins and a series-best 4.2 average finish, and he is the only driver with Top 10s in all five races. He should be an elite option in all formats.
4. Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite/Discount Tires, Team Penske
He’s been one of the steadiest drivers at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and his resume at Chicagoland includes two wins and seven Top 10s in nine starts. I plan to target him in Fantasy Live.
5. Kyle Larson, #42 CreditOne/DC Solar, Chip Ganassi Racing
Larson has been the one Chevy driver who has been able to challenge the Toyota and Ford guys this year, and I expect more of the same Sunday. Larson has four Top 10s and a couple of Top 5s in the five races at 1.5-mile tracks this year and three Top 10s and a couple of Top 5s in four starts at Chicagoland. Dial him up in Fantasy Live or DFS contests.