Here are five drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Overton’s 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Chicagoland Speedway for the first of three visits to a road course on the NASCAR schedule.
Four of the five drivers from the last edition of who to watch finished inside the top-6 at Sonoma Raceway. A.J. Allmendinger, the only driver who didn’t finish inside the top-6, despite winning Stage 1 but then missed a shift, blowing his engine, and finished last.
Will Chicagoland Sepeedway provide a winner other than Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr.? This is Chevrolet’s last chance to win before NASCAR reaches Daytona for the second time. Will Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson or Chase Elliott win?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Chicagoland Speedway.
Chase Elliott has the best average finish among all active drivers at Chicagoland Speedway. His worst finish in his two career races is third.
Elliott’s led laps in each of his two career races at Chicagoland Speedway, totaling 117 laps.
Elliott is still in search of his first-career win and Chicagoland Speedway might be one of his best chances this season.
Martin Truex Jr.
The last two times the NASCAR Cup Series visited Chicagoland Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. ended up in victory lane. This time around, the race at Chicagoland Speedway will be in the middle of the summer, not the start of the NASCAR playoffs.
Despite the change on the calendar, Truex is still eyeing his third win in a row.
“Yeah, I feel great about that — going for three in a row at Chicago,” Truex said. “A little sad it’s not kicking off the playoffs anymore just because of our record there, but at the same time, great racetrack and excited to go there and see what we can do.”
With 148 laps led in his last three races at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex hopes the end result will be the same as his last two trips to Chicagoland Speedway.
“We had to overcome some issues the past two years at Chicagoland and hopefully we will have a clean race on Sunday and be there at the end in our No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota.”
Denny Hamlin is the top driver from Joe Gibbs Racing at Chicagoland Speedway in the last three races.
Hamlin’s average finish of 3.7 is second best among all drivers in the last three races. He has one win, two top-5 and three top-10 finishes in those races. Despite those numbers, Hamlin has only combined to lead a total of 9 laps.
Hamlin’s win came back in 2015, which is his last win on a 1.5-mile speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing has shown their speed on the intermediate tracks this season and a strong showing by Hamlin wouldn’t be a shock.
Aric Almirola is having his best career Cup Series season. He has yet to find victory lane this season, but Almirola is inside the top-16 in points and finds himself inside the top-10 on tracks he hasn’t before.
Almirola’s recent finishes at Chicagoland Speedway haven’t been great, with a 10th place finish in 2015 being his best in his past three races there.
Almirola hopes to change that this weekend.
“I feel like if we go there and do all of the basics right, we’ll run in the top-10,” said Almirola in his pre-race release.
“If we get it all perfect, we’ll have a shot to be in victory lane with our Smithfield Ford Fusion. At each of the last three tracks, I’ve had the best finishes of my Cup career, so I’m really on a roll and I have a strong team behind me.”
It’s a tough decision when choosing which Team Penske driver will finish better at Chicagoland Speedway. Joey Logano comes out on top with his average finish of 5.0 in his last three races.
Logano is just one of four drivers to finish inside the top-10 in the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway.
One of those other four drivers is his teammate Brad Keselowski. His worse finish in the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway is eighth.
Ryan Blaney, another Team Penske driver, has two career races at Chicagoland Speedway. His finishes are fourth and 11th.
If recent finishes at Chicagoland Speedway are any indication, Team Penske should have a solid day.
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