Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Overton's 400
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Chicagoland Speedway - Joliet, IL
Track - 1.5 Mile D-Shaped Oval Intermediate
It was an excellent road course race at Sonoma where Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn faked out the competition with pit strategy and eventually picked up the win. It was the #78 team's third checkered flag of the season cementing the three-horse race in the standings as he, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch have won 12 of the first 16 races of the season.
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Overton's 400 this Sunday afternoon. After spending each of the last seven years as the first race of the playoffs, Chicago returns to a familiar July date where it spent the previous 10 years since it opened in 2001. The track is a 1.5-mile D-Shaped Oval Intermediate track which gives us lots of track type data to go on this week. Martin Truex Jr. has won back to back races here and track position has proved to be key in both those races as eight and six drivers who finished Top 10 started Top 10 with just three drivers in those two races combined picked up double-digit place differential. Even with 267 laps in the race, there have been just three drivers over the last six races to lead 100 or more laps so multiple dominators will be the target this week as two or more drivers have led 50 or laps in five of the last six races.
Let's now jump in and take a look at some track trends and pre-qualifying targets and stay tuned for my final picks posted on my cheatsheet and in my weekly video.
Last Six Winners at Chicagoland Speedway
- 2017 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 3rd, led 77 laps)
- 2016 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 6th, led 32 laps)
- 2015 - Denny Hamlin(started 29th, led 9 laps)
- 2014 - Brad Keselowski(started 25th, led 62 laps)
- 2013 - Matt Kenseth(started 10th, led 89 laps)
- 2012 - Brad Keselowski(started 13th, led 76 laps)
Top 5 Current Track History at Chicagoland Speedway
As I mentioned above, last week's winner Martin Truex Jr. has dominated the last two races here at Chicago winning both while leading 109 laps for an average of 96.6 DraftKings/77.1 FanDuel points per race. The only other driver to finish Top 5 in each of the last two races here is Chase Elliott who also sits second in laps led(117) during that time for an average of 77.6 DraftKings/76 FanDuel points per race. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin have also been very consistent here lately as they are the only other three drivers to finish Top 10 in each of the last two races but none of them have led more than eight laps. Not listed here are Jimmie Johnson(118) and Kyle Busch(106) who are two of just four drivers to lead 100 or more laps in the last two race combined.
Top 5 Career Track History at Chicagoland Speedway
Only four drivers have a career average finish under 10 and three of them have less than five races on their resumes. I talked about Chase Elliott above as he has finished Top 5 in both races here and Ryan Blaney is right behind him with a 4th and 11th place finish in his two races. Kyle Larson has four races under his belt here at Chicago and he has two Top 5's and three Top 10's in four races with his worst finish an 18th in 2016. Three active drivers have multiple wins here and include Brad Keselowski(2014, 2012), Martin Truex Jr.(2017, 2016), and Kevin Harvick(2002, 2001). Jimmie Johnson has yet to win here in his career but leads all active drivers with 11 Top 10 finishes and 695 laps led.
Top 5 Current Track Type History(1.5 Mile Intermediate)
Through five mile and a half intermediate races this season, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have absolutely dominated the field winning all five. Harvick picked up wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Kansas with a runner-up at Texas before crashing out in the Coca-Cola 600. Busch won at Texas and Charlotte and has finished Top 10 in all five races. Harvick has the slight edge in dominator points with 561 laps led to Busch's 512 but both are averaging over 94 DraftKings points per race and make excellent targets this week. Look out for Martin Truex Jr. who has won back to back races here at Chicago as he has also been very consistent on the mile and a half tracks this season with four Top 5's in five races and the other was a crash at Texas. He was also the cream of the crop in 2017 with seven wins on the track type including his championship effort at Homestead. Kyle Larson has yet to win on a mile and a half track but he has sure been consistent this season with four Top 10's in five races.
Top 5 Current Form (Last Six Races)
Another shake u pin the form ranks this week as Martin Truex Jr. takes over the top spot with his win last week at Sonoma. He and Kevin Harvick are the only two drivers with five Top 5's in the last six races and both have multiple wins during that stretch of races. Harvick leads in DraftKings scoring with an average of 80.5 points per race thanks to a series-high 453 laps led. Brad Keselowski makes the jump from #6 to #2 this week with his consistency lately with finishes of 6th, 14th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 13th over the last six races. Kurt Busch drops to #3 but joins Truex and Harvick as the only three drivers with five Top 10's in the last six races. How strong have the Ford's been? Well, they make up four of the Top 5 in current form ranks with Clint Bowyer coming in #5 this week with a win and three Top 5's over the last six races and he is second to Truex in average FanDuel scoring with 63.1 points per race.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
You really can't go wrong with either of the Top 3 in salary this week but I lean the cheaper of the three on DraftKings and the driver who has won back to back races here at Chicago. While Busch and Harvick have dominated the intermediate tracks in 2018, Truex is heating up(leads form ranks) and is no stranger to dominating mile and a half track as he demonstrated in 2017(seven wins).
Elliott has been money here at Chicago in his first two years in the Cup Series with a 3rd and 2nd place finish and despite the overall struggles in the Chevy camp, he has been consistent lately. He enters this week with three straight Top 10's and has finished 12th or better in eight straight and 10 of his last 11 races. He is currently #2 in pre-qualifying model and comes at a discounted price on both sites.
After finishing outside the Top 30 in his first two races here back in 2014 and 2015 with lower-end teams(BK Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing), Bowman stepped into the #88 car for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016 and posted an impressive Top 10 finish. He is now permanently in the #88 car for Rick Hendrick and while it has been an up and down season, he has Top 10 finishes in two of his last four races and sits 15th in points. He comes at a value price on both sits(16th on DK, 18th on FD) and would only see his value go up if he qualifies outside the Top 15.
Below you will find a copy of my DFS NASCAR cheathsheet which includes Track History, Current Form, DraftKings points averages, Track Type History, Practice/Qualifying Ranks and much more.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.