This week the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Chicago for the Overton 400. Chicagoland Speedway is located in Joliet, Illinois and cost approximately $130 million to build and opened in 2001. The track is 1.5 miles in length with the turns banked at 18 degrees.
Who should be on your radar this weekend?
The way 2018 is going just go with Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr. Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer and you will likely be right. But if we want to crunch the numbers a little bit and see what we can glean from the statistics, here’s some food for thought:
If you look at the past four races, Denny Hamlin is statistically the best at Chicagoland. He has four top-10 finishes, two top-fives and a win. Hamlin also has a very impressive average finish of 4.2 over that span and has completed every lap ran.
Brad Keselowski is also a strong contender over this span with four top-10s as well, two top-fives and a win. His average finish is slightly lower than Hamlin’s at 5.0.
The only other driver competing with four top-fives in those races is Joey Logano. Truex, Jr. has won the past two events at Chicago and will look to make it a three-peat on Sunday.
Right now of the “Big 4” in NASCAR (Harvick, Truex, Kyle Busch, and Bowyer) Bowyer has had the most struggles in these past four Chicago events with an average finish of 23.2. However, it’s important to take into account that one of those four races was while driving for HScott Motorsports, an inferior team to Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick’s average finish over those four races is 17.5. Kyle Busch has three top-10s over these four races but no top-five finishes. His average finish is 9.8.
If you are looking for experience to get you somewhere at Chicago look no further than SHR teammates Harvick and Kurt Busch. They are the only drivers entered who have competed in all 17 previous events at Chicagoland. Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson have both ran 16 times, and Jamie McMurray has ran 15 times at Chicago. Harvick also won the first two Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001 and 2002.
Truex, Jr., Harvick and Keselowski are the only multiple winners at Chicago with two each. Newman, Kyle Busch, and Hamlin all have one win on their record at Chicagoland. Harvick also has the most top-fives of any driver running Sunday with nine. Jimmie Johnson has seven top-fives while Newman, Keselowski and Kyle Busch each have four top-fives.
- Harvick leads all active drivers with 4,469 laps completed at Chicagoland.
- Johnson has led more laps than any other driver with 695 laps led.
- Johnson leads all active drivers with two poles at Chicagoland in his career.
Kevin Harvick – 9/4
Kyle Busch – 7/2
Martin Truex, Jr. – 7/2
Kyle Larson – 7/1
Denny Hamlin 12/1
If you are looking for a couple of sleeper plays, Chase Elliott is pegged at 25/1 but has finishes of third (2016) and second (2017) in his only two starts at Chicagoland. Also, Johnson is at 30/1 odds but has a lot of past success at the track.
- Kyle Busch
- Ryan Blaney
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Chase Elliott
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