Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2023 Grant Park 220 at Chicago

This week, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Windy City for its first ever street course at Chicago. Here’s your daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings forecast for the Grant Park 220, airing Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

The course consists of 12 turns, with most of them having sharp left or right turns. It’s 2.2 miles long, a little less than the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

Check out the course layout below.

Since this is the first time drivers will take on this street course, there’s a lot of unknowns entering this weekend. Who will qualify up front? Will it be a tame or chaotic race, or a mixture of both?

One thing’s for certain: there won’t be any cautions when the stages end, unless there just happens to be an incident at the end of the stage that requires the yellow flag to come out. Those who start up front might have more of an advantage, as it doesn’t look like there would be many passing zones on this track.

See also
Through The Gears: Chicago Betting Preview

So, keep an eye on practice and qualifying on Saturday (airing 1:30 p.m. ET on USA Network). There is a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday, so hopefully that doesn’t affect the sessions too much.

You can also look at recent road course events to see who’s mostly excelled at left and right turns.

Before I reveal my considerations for this week, take a look at last week’s DraftKings scores from Nashville Superspeedway:

DraftKings SalaryDriverDraftKings Score
$10,900Martin Truex Jr.78.3
$10,100William Byron43.2
$9,600Ross Chastain86.4
$8,400Bubba Wallace22
$7,500Chris Buescher19.45
$6,500AJ Allmendinger45.25
$5,300Corey LaJoie39

My middle tier was a bust, but the rest of these drivers did alright. Ross Chastain won over Martin Truex Jr., resulting in high scores for both of these drivers.

AJ Allmendinger earned a top 10 after starting 19th, while Corey LaJoie finished 20th after having an issue during qualifying and starting last.

Here’s a closer look at the DraftKings scoring rules …

The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats for 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.

Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they began the race. For example, if Denny Hamlin started third and won, he would gain two points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 47 fantasy points overall.

Drivers also can earn .45 points for each fastest lap and .25 for each lap they lead.

NASCAR DraftKings Scoring

Now, here are my picks for Chicago!

DraftKings Picks: Top Tier

Chase Elliott ($10,300)
Career at road courses: 26 starts, 7 wins, 15 top fives, 18 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 8.0

Chase Elliott probably won’t be the first driver people flock to in this tier when making their initial DraftKings rosters, as he has yet to earn a win in the Next Gen car on a road course. It could very well be this weekend, though.

In the seven road course races he’s run in a Next Gen car, the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports driver has four top fives and five top 10s. Elliott’s also led 26 or more laps in four of those seven events, so just because he hasn’t won, doesn’t mean he can’t get out front. 

Some of his stronger results in that span were a second place at Road America, a fourth at Watkins Glen International and a fifth at Sonoma last month. Look for the Dawsonville, Georgia, native to adjust to this new circuit, depending on how well he runs in practice.

Tyler Reddick ($10,100)
Career at road courses: 17 starts, 3 wins, 5 top fives, 10 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 13.4

Tyler Reddick seems to have had the opposite results from Elliott with the Next Gen car; he’s earned three victories on road courses. He dominated at Circuit of the Americas earlier this year, while in 2022 he earned his first two Cup victories at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Though he hasn’t finished well at Sonoma, the No. 45 pilot for 23XI Racing has led at least 16 laps in four of the last six road courses. One of those was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL where Reddick was out front for 21 laps before finishing in eighth place.

Reddick should be up front in this race, though I’d wait for practice and qualifying to make your final decision.

AJ Allmendinger ($9,900)
Career at road courses: 34 starts, 2 wins, 7 top fives, 17 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 15.9

AJ Allmendinger is one driver who actually has some experience driving on street courses, specifically in Champ Car and a few races in the NTT IndyCar Series. Additionally, he’s run several ROLEX 24 at Daytona events, most recently in 2021.

As far as his recent runs in NASCAR, the No. 16 Kaulig Racing driver has two top fives and five top 10s in the past six road course races. Most significantly, he gained 12 positions at Road America en route to a ninth-place finish, while at Indy he drove from 20th to seventh. Some other strong results in recent races were a runner up at Watkins Glen, fourth at the Charlotte ROVAL (where he led 24 laps) and a sixth place last month at Sonoma.

It will be interesting to see how Allmendinger will do at Chicago this weekend.

Also like: Truex

See also
NASCAR 101: Street-Smart Drivers

Middle Tier

Michael McDowell ($8,700)
Career at road courses: 38 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 8 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 21.4

If this pair of drivers in my mid-tier looks familiar, yes, they were both in my writeup for Sonoma. However, both have good reason to be here again, as both Chris Buescher and Michael McDowell earned top 10s at Sonoma. The latter finished seventh, losing a few spots from where he started. Still, the seventh place produced a good fantasy score on DraftKings (about 34.2).

Last season, McDowell finished third at Sonoma, eighth at Road America and Indy, and sixth at Watkins Glen. He even led 14 circuits in the latter race.

The driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports machine has also had some runs on some street courses, including a Champ Car start in 2005 and some runs in the Grand Am Cup events at Long Beach. This type of experience might help McDowell adjust quickly to the course at Chicago.

Chris Buescher ($8,500)
Career at road courses: 28 starts, 0 wins, 4 top fives, 9 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 14.4

Buescher earned a fourth-place finish at Sonoma in June but that’s not the only good run he’s had on a road course. In the past nine such events, Buescher’s earned three top fives and eight top 10s. At COTA earlier this season, he survived the chaos to finish in eighth after starting 32nd. 

Then last year, the No. 17 Ford of RFK Racing drove from 21st to sixth at the Charlotte ROVAL and from 16th to 10th at the Indy road course. But even if Buescher qualifies in the top 10 for Sunday’s race, I wouldn’t be afraid to put him in my DraftKings lineup, as he’s already shown he can finish up front no matter where he starts.

Also like: Shane van Gisbergen, Joey Logano

Low Tier

Ty Gibbs ($7,300)
Career at road courses: 5 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10
Average finish at road courses: 18.4

It feels strange to talk about a Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the low tier, but here we are. It could be because Ty Gibbs has only had one top 10 on a road course in his Cup Series career. However, that’s a fairly small sample size, compared to what he’s done in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Gibbs has three victories on road courses in Xfinity: at the Daytona International Speedway road course and Watkins Glen in 2021, as well as Road America in 2022. Additionally, he has six top fives and eight top 10s in that series.

Chicago might be a steep learning curve for the young Cup rookie, but Gibbs has surprised us before.

Todd Gilliland ($5,200)
Career at road courses: 8 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at road courses: 21.4

Now we come to the very low part of the salary tier on DraftKings. Todd Gilliland doesn’t have a whole lot of Cup experience on road courses, but he does have a fourth-place finish at the Indy road course last season and a 10th at COTA earlier this year. Additionally, he led a few laps on a partly-wet racetrack at Watkins Glen last year before mechanical problems sent him home early.

Gilliland has also had some success on road courses in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2021, earning a win at COTA and top fives at the Daytona road course and Watkins Glen.

Gilliland could allow you to fit two or three top tier drivers in your DraftKings lineup.

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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DoninAjax

Bet on rain! Pretty good odds! But its not like anyone can predict the weather.

DoninAjax

This is the perfect scenario to get Bubba another “win”. Green flag pit stops. He stays out . Rain starts and the yellow flies with him in front and the event is called due to weather.

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