NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Chicago Street Race debut

Chicago Street Course
12-Turn Road Course / 2.2 miles
100 Total Laps (Stages End at Lap 20/45/100)

After nearly a year of hype and wondering how it's all going to work, it's finally time to see just how well stock cars actually maneuver the streets of Chicago. The course features some cool long straightaways and some pretty hairy 90 degree turns. So how do you do your fantasy picks for the Grant Park 220 when there are no stats to be had? Don't worry we're all in the same predicament, and the drivers are wondering what to expect as well.

This Week's Pick Strategy: My roster this week will include a mix of smart drivers who do a lot of preparation before a race, veteran drivers who have a knack of studying and learning during a race, those drivers particularly adept at making lefts and rights, and those drivers who know when to make a calculated aggressive move, and most importantly when not to.

What the Drivers Are Saying:
Aric Almirola: “The way the car handles and drives across the crown in the road and the bumps and uneven surfaces are all going to play a role in making this a challenging race for all of us. You have to be really aggressive in the braking zones and get in the corners deep, but still make the corner. And there’s a huge penalty at Chicago compared to all the true road courses that we go to where if you overshoot the corner, you run off into the grass or the gravel a little bit. At Chicago, you’re going to crash. You’re going to hit a wall.”

Ty Gibbs: There are a lot of unknowns, for sure. We’re just going to have to be patient and learn as much as we can in the small bit of track time that we’ll have.”

Kevin Harvick: “The racetrack is very narrow, and it’s going to evolve as the weekend goes just because you’re running on dirty asphalt. The course is so narrow, and those 90-degree corners, and long straightaways that lead into those 90-degree corners, those are really the two pieces that stick out to me. It will definitely test the braking system and the drivers to make sure they hit their marks. The passing will be difficult just because you’ll need to take some chances to put yourself in a position to make a move. It’s just trying to make sure that you keep yourself out of trouble.” 

Martin Truex Jr: “It’s going to be a big challenge. I feel like in my mind it’s going to be pretty difficult and bumpy. These cars aren’t great on bumpy tracks, so I think they are going to be a handful and hard to figure out. When we first raced the Roval I thought that was too small and narrow and wondered how we were going to race there. As it turned out, it was quite the show.”

The Likely Suspects: We have no real stock car street race notebook to go by, but we do have some drivers who have street race experience: Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger. Other drivers to watch include Joey Logano who tends to excel at new tracks, and Chris Buescher who does well turning right and left. Additional drivers who I think will be competitive on the streets of Chicago include: Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and William Byron.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is a tie between AJ Allmendinger and Michael McDowell. My next picks are Chase Elliott, William Byron, Chris Buescher Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Andy Lally.

My Final Four: Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Michael McDowell, and AJ Allmendinger.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 2 pm. ET on Saturday, July 1st and your final picks by 5:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, July 2nd.
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: Chicago Street Race debut NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Chicago Street Race debut Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, July 01, 2023 Rating: 5