NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Grant Park 165 at Chicago

2.20-Mile Track with 12 Turns

So I guess sometimes the fifth time is a charm, especially if you're Joey Logano. Joey finally got his first win of the season last week at Nashville Superspeedway. With two laps to go, Austin Cindric spun bringing out the caution, and triggering what would be five overtime restarts each filled with many, many cars running out of fuel. 
Joey's win was a combination of strategy by crew chief Paul Wolfe and some amazing fuel-saving skills by the driver of the No. 22. As we turn to this weekend at the Chicago Street Race, it just may be another great opportunity for a winless driver with street/road racing chops. Or, perhaps we'll see another Shane van Gisbergen/Justin Haley head to head match-up. Stay tuned. I will be at the race volunteering so I can't wait to see how this second year unfolds.
This Week's Pick Strategy: While last year's street race was the first of its kind for the Cup Series, both AJ Allmendinger and Michael McDowell have previous street race experience. I expect the Cup regulars who ran well last year will go into this race with a little more confidence than the rest of the field. I also believe that Shane van Gisbergen will pick up right where he left off last year. My roster will include key top-five drivers from last year plus drivers who are road-course elites and some who desperately need a win.
Last Year's Pole Winner: Denny Hamlin
Last Year's Race Winner: Shane van Gisbergen

Top 10 from Last Year's Inaugural Race: Shane van Gisbergen, 2. Justin Haley, 3. Chase Elliott, 4. Kyle Larson, 5. Kyle Busch. 6. Austin Cindric, 7. Michael McDowell, 8. Joey Logano, 9. Ty Gibbs, 10. Chris Buescher

2023 Lap Leaders

Lap Leaders



% Led

Christopher Bell




Justin Haley




Shane Van Gisbergen




Tyler Reddick




Ty Gibbs



Drivers with Most Top 10s on Road Courses* (2021-2024, 14 races):
Tyler Reddick -12
Both with 10 - Chris Buescher and A.J. Allmendinger 
Christopher Bell - 9
Chase Elliott - 8
All with 7 - Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, and Michael McDowell
Alex Bowman- 6
All with 5 - Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, and Kyle Larson

* Includes Charlotte Road Course, Circuit of the Americas, Daytona Road Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Road America, Sonoma Raceway, and Watkins Glen International
The Likely Suspects: I expect these drivers to run well on Sunday: Shane van Gisbergen, Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Joey Logano, Ty Gibbs, and Chris Buescher.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Shane van Gisbergen. My next picks are Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, and Chris Buescher. I will complete my roster with Ty Gibbs and Austin Cindric.

My Final Four: Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Michael McDowell, and Shane van Gisbergen.

Second Look Driver: 
This week's second-look driver is Justin Haley. Justin probably has rerun the closing laps of last year's race in his head many, many times. He has run better than his finishes indicate this year particularly on road courses where he has had a rash of bad luck. At COTA, Justin was running 17th on the final lap before the team’s result was disqualified during post-race technical inspection. He qualified 13th and spent most of the 68-lap race in the Top 10. 
At Sonoma Raceway, the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing car ran in the Top 10 before power steering issues ended Justin’s race 12 laps short of the checkered flag. He could turn everything around this week with a win. Stay tuned.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 6th, and your final picks by 4:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, July 7th.
Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 17 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: Grant Park 165 at Chicago NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Grant Park 165 at Chicago Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, July 05, 2024 Rating: 5