NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway

Distance: 1.25 miles
Backstretch Length: 1,976 feet
Frontstretch Length: 1,922-feet
Turns 1 & 2 Banking: 11 degrees
Turns 3 & 4 Banking: 9 degrees
Even rain couldn't put a damper on the Coca Cola 600. What an emotional win it was for Ryan Blaney who finally broke his 59 race winless streak. It was Ryan's 8th career Cup Series win and first win in one of NASCAR's crown jewel races. With the victory, Ryan became the 10th different winner in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. The win was also historically significant for "The Captain," Roger Penske, as it marked the first time that Team Penske had ever won the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. 
As we roll into World Wide Technology Raceway, aka Gateway - directly across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis and the famous Gateway Arch - this weekend, Ryan can keep the momentum going as he finished fourth in last year's Cup Series debut at the track. That is, unless Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger have anything to say about it. These drivers are hungry for their first win of the season, and just so happen to have finished in the Top 10 in last year's race at the track. 

This Week's Pick Strategy: I'm loading my roster with flat-track elite drivers along with those drivers who love hot slick tracks and have a no holds barred attitude to racing. It doesn't hurt if they like to shift as well. 

Drivers with Most Top 10s at similar flat tracks (New Hampshire, Phoenix and Richmond*)
& 2022 Cup Series World Wide Technology Raceway race

Christopher Bell - 7
Kevin Harvick - 6
All with 5 - Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, and Ross Chastain
All with 4 - Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin
Seven total races; *Last two races
2022 Lap Leaders at Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300


Last Year's Pole Winner: Chase Briscoe

Last Year's Race Winner: Joey Logano

The Likely Suspects: Look for these drivers to run well on Sunday: Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Chase Briscoe, Martin Truex Jr., Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, and Michael McDowell.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Ross Chastain. My next picks are Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Michael McDowell, Chase Briscoe and Martin Truex Jr. I will complete my team with Corey LaJoie (in Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 this week), and AJ Allmendinger.

My Final Four: Ross Chastain, Kyle Bush, Martin Truex Jr., and Corey LaJoie.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Christopher Bell. Christopher qualified third and finished ninth in this race last year. He also has had some success at the track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, having won in that series in 2016. In his two Truck Series starts at the track he led 45 laps, earned one win, one Top 5 and two Top 10s.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 3rd and your final picks by 3:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, June 4th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, June 02, 2023 Rating: 5