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Sarah’s Weekly Picks: Chicagoland Edition

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Chicagoland Speedway for the Overton’s 400 and our Sarah Handy breaks down her picks and who you may want to pay attention to this weekend.

Top Picks:

Martin Truex Jr: He was the king of the mile and a half tracks last season but has yet to win at a 1.5-mile track this season. That could change this weekend as the MENCS heads to Chicagoland Speedway as he’ll look at to capture back-to-back victories after winning the Toyota Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway last Sunday.

Truex won at the track in both September 2016 and 2017 and currently has 3 wins on the season to go along with 10 top-5’s, and 10 top-10’s.

While he hasn’t had the spectacular season that he had last year he’s still been consistent enough and there’s plenty of racing left to do in 2018. Remember, Truex has already made the playoffs that will start in September and could win back-to-back Championships come Homestead in November.

Brad Keselowski: It’s surprising to look at BK’s 2018 season and see he has yet to win a MENCS race. With 4 top-5’s, and 9 top-10’s the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion will look to capture his third win at the 1.5-mile track come Sunday.

Chicagoland is certainly the track that Keselowski could find victory lane at. In 9 starts at the track he has 2 wins (2012, 2014), and in his last 7 starts he hasn’t finished worse than the eighth position.

Chase Elliott: It’s rare that I have three drivers in my top picks for any given race week, but I couldn’t not include Chase Elliott.

We’re all still waiting to see when Elliott will score his first career MENCS victory and what better track than Chicagoland for him to visit victory lane in his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1?

Elliott only has two career starts in the Cup Series at the track but with finishes of 2nd and 3rd, it’s hard to count him out as a contender for the win. Last September when he finished second he led 42 laps and the previous September when he finished third he led 75.

His average finish is 2.50 and he only must finish one spot better than last season and he’ll be celebrating in victory lane. I look for Chase to have a very solid day after coming off a solid fourth place finish last weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Dark Horses:

Jimmie Johnson: It’s one of the tracks on the MENCS schedule that seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson has yet to win at.

Johnson has come close with three second place finishes in 16 starts but in his last four starts at the 1.5-mile track his best finish is 8th. His other three finishes of 12th, 11th and 12th have me thinking it’ll feel like a victory if he can just manage a top-10 at the track.

While anything can happen, I’m leaning more towards Johnson leaving the race with a top-10 or top-15 finish.

Kurt Busch: Chicagoland hasn’t been the best track for the No. 41 Ford Fusion driver. His average finish at the 1.5-mile track is 15.65 and with finishes of 19th and 13th in his last two starts he’s more poised for a top-15 result than victory lane.

Busch’s best finish at the track came in September of 2015 where he finished in the 3rd position but he’ll look to carry momentum over to Chicagoland after a solid day at Sonoma where he finished sixth.

Who to Watch:

Kyle Larson: In four career starts in the Cup Series at Chicagoland, Larson has an average finish of 8.25 and a best finish of 3rd in September of 2014.

Larson is still looking for his first win of 2018, but he’s run consistent with 5 top-5’s, and 9 top-10’s.

Ryan Blaney: While Blaney only has two career Cup starts at the track he has finishes of 11th and 4th.

Blaney has 3 top-5’s, and 8 top-10’s on the 2018 season and if it wasn’t for bad luck that has plagued the 12 team, I’m confident he would have another victory on his MENCS resume.

Who do you think will win on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah Handy is a NASCAR writer. You can find her on Twitter at @SarahHandy85. A college student studying Communications/Public Relations Field and an Electronics Associate at Walmart. Sarah enjoys tweeting about racing, running, reading, puzzles, video games, and photography. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah avidly follows all major New England Teams (Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins & Celtics) as well as a huge fan of what she considers her “home track” New Hampshire Motor Speedway which she attends each year.

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