Fantasy NASCAR

2017 Chicagoland Speedway, Tales of the Turtles 400

The field is set for the playoffs with nothing real exciting happening in the race other than an ambulance parked at the entrance to pit road when it was open and Matt Kenseth getting knocked out of the race because of it. The late caution kind of reminded me of wrestling when nothing really happened, but it looked like NASCAR was trying to do anything they could to prevent Martin Truex Jr. from winning another race and gaining another 5 playoff points. As it stands now he is going to be hard to knock out of the playoffs with his 52 playoff points.


The playoffs start at the Chicagoland Speedway. This is the first of the intermediate tracks that make of much of the playoff season for NASCAR. Chicagoland is a mile-and-a-half tri-oval that is very similar to places like Kansas and Charlotte which are also both on the schedule yet this year. If a driver can dominate at these tracks they will find themselves in the hunt for the championship this November at Homestead-Miami.

Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has to be the odds on favorite to win his first championship with the way he has consistently run on all types of tracks this season. If it weren’t for an ill timed caution last week at Richmond he would have won his fifth race of the season. The way it stands now, he has a twenty point lead on his closest challenger, Kyle Larson and a fifty point lead on sixteenth place Jamie McMurray. He has at least a forty point lead on ten of the other fifteen drivers who made the playoffs. That is going to be tough for them to make up unless Martin has some real bad trouble. Three of his wins this season came on similar tracks to Chicagoland, so I am picking him to win the first race of the playoffs and put even more pressure on the rest of the field. Besides, he won this race last year too.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has only run three races at this track, but he finished in the top ten in his first two and led laps in each of those races. He has also won four times this season like Truex. The difference between them is all of the stages Martin won during the year. Besides his win at the 3/4-mile track at Richmond last weekend, Kyle won his other three races on two-mile tracks. That isn’t much different than the mile-and-a-half tracks, so he should be a contender once again this weekend.

Kyle Busch: Besides the aforementioned two drivers, Kyle has been just as good as if not better than them for most of the season. He had quit a few races where he could have and should have won this season only for an ill-timed caution or strategy that has cost him numerous chances to win races. I think this team along with the other two above are going to be the cream of the crop for the playoffs because of how consistent they have been all season. Kyle has one win at Chicagoland and seven top ten finishes in his twelve starts at this track.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin won the first two races ever run at this track in the Cup series and has finished in the top five in half of his sixteen starts here. This team hasn’t performed as consistently this year as they have the past two seasons, but he has a good car every week and if they can stay away from incidents on the track and pit road they will have a chance to win every race they have left this season.

Jimmie Johnson: The seven time champion can’t be counted out in any season no matter how well they have performed up to the start of the playoffs. Jimmie has won three races this year and although he is still looking for his first Chicagoland win we know this team is going to show up with their A-game this weekend. In his fifteen starts at this track, Jimmie has come away with seven top five and ten top ten finishes.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has two wins on the season and he has also won twice at the Chicagoland Speedway. That is in only eight starts. In those eight starts, besides the two wins he has finished in the top ten in six races. This team didn’t come away with the wins they thought they should have this season, but no matter how bad their car was early in the race they always seem to get it right by the end and be in contention to win. They also aren’t afraid to do something different than the rest of the field to dig themselves out of a hole if they need to.

Chase Elliott: I am very surprised that this team hasn’t won a race yet. I still think they will get one before the end of the season and it will come on one of the intermediate tracks left on the schedule. Chase has only run at this track once and he finished third in that race while leading seventy-five laps. Chase is another driver who hasn’t performed as well lately as he did earlier in the year, but maybe the Hendrick teams are hiding something they are going to bring out in the next ten weeks.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan made the playoffs by winning at Pocono in June. This team has had a fast car all season long and Ryan is at his best at this type of track. If he wins another race on one of the intermediate tracks it will come as no surprise to anyone on the circuit and shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us either. In his only start at this track, Ryan came away with a fourth place finish and led a few laps too. I look for this team to come out aggressive this week and try to move through the first round.

Erik Jones: Erik didn’t make the Chase in his rookie season, but he came very close and contended for a few wins. Right now he is on a roll finishing in the top ten in his last six starts. He is another driver who could very well pick up his first Cup win before the end of the year. Even though he has never run here in this series he finished sixth in his only truck start and he won two of his three Xfinity series starts here. This is going to be another good week for him.

Kurt Busch: Even though Kurt hasn’t won a race since the opening week of the season and hasn’t won a race at this track in his career yet, this team is starting to run much better and more consistent at the right time of the year. Kurt finished in the top five in his last two starts even while struggling early on in those races with his cars handling. This team could really surprise some people by going on a roll during the playoffs. Kurt has nine top ten finishes in his sixteen starts here too.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kevin Harvick

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Chase Elliott
  • Kyle Larson
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Kurt Busch

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Erik Jones
  • Ty Dillon


  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Erik Jones
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Kevin Harvick

Dark Horse: Erik Jones

Stay Away From: Jamie McMurray

Big 18: Erik Jones

26 replies on “2017 Chicagoland Speedway, Tales of the Turtles 400”

Only 3 top ten finishes in fourteen starts. There are better options out there.

used up kurt and Larson if not mcmuray how about stenhouse and newman also used up jones and suarez and cant figure out best option other than ty

I don’t like McMurray this weekend. I think I would go with Kahne or Bayne before McMurray. Stenhouse could be alright. In C I would go with Dillon and McDowell.

I have to pick between points position 20-25 this week for one of my drivers. Who would you go with? Suarez, Bayne, Dale Jr, Menard, Ty Dillon, or McDowell?

I believe they give them between 20-25 million each year on the elite teams, so I think they have a lot of say. Still depends on their contracts.

In my Big 18 league Im 41pts out but Im set up with all the Top 10 drivers still left to use once.. Have 7 races locked in.. The 3 races and 3 drivers Im not sure of are This week (Chicago), next week (N Hamp) and Talledega with Hamlin, Jones and Kurt Busch. Which one would you put at each track?
Thank you

Running out of starts for Suarez and Jones so I have to have another option on my roster.

Kasey could do alright at this track. My concern is that he is coming to the end of his career at Hendrick.

You should wait as long as possible to use your last start. He will be good for some qualifying points until you use him up. With that said I would probably wait until at least the Texas race to use him and maybe the last race of the season.

Why did you leave ky busch off your list? He was bad fast in qualifying and led most of the practices? I am looking for fantasy. Who would you start there?

I write these articles way before qualifying and practice. I would stick with Harvick and Truex because they have proven themselves at this track in the past. Not saying Kyle won’t run well here, but I have more faith in those other two.

I have the same two in my C list with 3 starts for Jones left also. I am going with him today because Dillon wasn’t very fast in practice and Jones is on a roll right now.

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