Welcome to the weekly edition of NASCAR Fantasy Picks here at Tireball Sports.
This week marks the first of ten races in the NASCAR Chase. Currently 16 drivers are eligible to win the Sprint Cup. Of course getting the trophy at the end of the season will depend on strong runs in the rounds leading up to the season ending race at Homestead.
Below we take a look at five drivers to watch at Chicagoland and three to avoid.
Jeff Gordon – If you were starting to worry about Gordon, odds are his second place finish at Richmond last Saturday helped alleviate some of your concern. Gordon was sixth in this race a year ago so you should not worry so much about that crash in the opening race of the Chase in 2012. Simply put: This is another 1.5-mile which Gordon has had success on.
Kevin Harvick – A two time winner at Chicagoland, Harvick appears to be peaking at the right now. In six of the last seven races this year he has an 11th place finish or better part of which is due to three poles during that span. He has run 12th or better in the last three races at Chicagoland.
Brad Keselowski – Four wins in the regular season. Right now this guy would appear to be a contender anywhere. Last three races at Chicagoland? 5th, 1st, 7th.
Jimmie Johnson – The annual exaggeration that Jimmie Johnson is in decline has already started. Toss in an episode where here dealt with dehydration at Richmond and we have all the makings of Johnson’s first career win at Chicagoland. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 12 races.
Ryan Newman – He was winless in the regular season. He could be winless at the end of the season. Good thing is the No. 31 team is running the best it has all season with 13th or better finishes in the last four races. In the last seven races at Chicagoland, Newman has six finishes inside the top 10.
Kasey Kahne – He won a race. He made the Chase. Unless the No. 5 team stuns with another win he will not be long for this championship run. Granted there are some others who we could say the same about (Almirola, Allmendinger) but do not expect Kahne to stay around much longer.
Greg Biffle – Biffle backed his way into the Chase. Despite the 1.5-mile tracks being the bread and butter of Roush Fenway Racing the Biff’ does not have a good track record here. He figures to be one of the first eliminations.
Carl Edwards – Much of the same about Biffle can be said about Edwards. He has won this season but again Chicagoland has not been a strong point of RFR and Edwards has been all or nothing in recent weeks.