Here are five NASCAR drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Chicagoland Speedway for the 17th race in the 2019 NASCAR season. This will be the only visit to the 1.5-mile speedway and the first time the race will be held in July since 2010.
At Pocono Raceway, three of our five drivers finished inside the top-5 while Martin Truex Jr. had an engine failure and Kevin Harvick finished 22nd. Heading into Chicagoland Speedway, will Martin Truex Jr. continue on his hot streak? Will someone snap their winless streak? Will a Stewart-Haas Racing driver finally find victory lane this season?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Chicagoland Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr.
In the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex Jr. has an average finish of 2.0. That’s second place. He has won two of the last three races and his other finish is a fourth place last fall.
Truex Jr. is tied with Kyle Busch for the most wins this season at five and is coming off another victory last weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
Truex Jr. should be the favorite once again this weekend in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota.
Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates have yet to win this season. A trip to Chicagoland Speedway could change that.
Harvick finished third the last two times the NASCAR Cup Series visited Chicagoland Speedway. He acknowledges, however, that this season has been a struggle and at some times frustrating for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“I am beyond all the frustration. To me it is now a challenge just because I feel like this is very similar to 2014 and 2017,” said Harvick in his pre-race release.
“I can see the progression in the speed of the cars and the things we have done and honestly we just chose the wrong direction to start the year. Our cars weren’t where they needed to be and everyone realizes that as a company.”
“At this point, in these types of situations for me, they are almost more fun than winning all the time because you get to talk about things and live that frustration and go through those scenarios and, in the end sometimes, it makes you stronger at the end of those seasons to be where you need to be.”
Despite not visiting victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway in his last three starts, Logano has the second best average finish of 5.7.
His best finish during that stretch is second while his worst finish is eighth. Logano and his Team Penske teammates have been strong on the 1.5-mile speedways this season but haven’t had enough speed to topple the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch on a regular basis.
This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway might change that as Brad Keselowski is also a threat to win.
Speaking of Keselowski, his average finish in the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway is fourth best at 6.7.
Keselowski has three wins this season with his last victory coming in May at Kansas Speedway, another 1.5-mile speedway. He finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year but his finishes at Texas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway weren’t nearly as impressive.
Chicagoland Speedway will provide an opportunity for all of Team Penske to compete with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Elliott has led 117 laps in the last three races at Chicagoland Speedway. That’s third best behind drivers Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
Elliott has finished second, third and 19th in those three races. If not for the 19th place finish last fall, Elliott would have an average finish rivaling the likes of Truex Jr. and Logano.
Elliott has been the best chance for Hendrick Motorsports to score a victory each weekend and the trip to Chicagoland Speedway will be no different.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.