Oh, the good, old impound race. This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR opted for the “condensed” schedule again, which means there was post-qualifying inspection held here this morning (Sunday). If a car failed, that driver’s original qualifying time was disallowed and he will have to start from the rear and be scored from there as well in Fantasy NASCAR. Obviously this has major implications on the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest with the amount of points awarded for place differential, so there was really no point to make a lineup until after the inspections were completed. The good news is only one car failed: Matt Tifft.

Click here for the starting lineup for this weekend’s race at Chicagoland. Also if you’d like to analyze the results from Saturday’s first practice, you can do so by clicking here. For speeds from the second practice (Happy Hour), click here.

*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*

Slingshot Fantasy Auto Picks for Chicagoland

Kyle Busch Fantasy NASCAR 2018 Phoenix ISM Raceway
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Right now I’m debating between two lineups. One is Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher, and Matt Tifft. Right now I’m leaning more toward the following lineup, which is a bit more evened out up top.

Chase Elliott ($12,400) – The #9 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 13th when the Camping World 400 goes green today, but should be up there mixing it for the win before it’s all said and done. Remember, Chase is one of those drivers that consistently races better than he practices, and during Happy Hour on Saturday, he was already showing top 5 speed with the 5th-best ten-lap average. Chase has made three career starts here at Chicagoland and his first two attempts ended with him in 2nd and 3rd. Finally, looking at the 1.5-mile races this season, Elliott owns the best average finish in the series (7.5). He’s a very solid Fantasy NASCAR pick overall this weekend, and even has room for place differential points by starting outside of the top 12.

Kevin Harvick ($12,000) – This is a little bit of a risk since Kevin Harvick is starting 2nd, but the #4 Ford should lead a significant portion of this race early and also contend for the win late. Here at Chicagoland, Harvick has finished 3rd in each race over the last two years and has also led a combined 98 laps over that span. This year on the 1.5-mile tracks, Harvick has arguably had the best car overall, but bad luck has him sitting with an average finish of 8.8 (tied for 2nd-best) even though he’s averaging 51.5 laps led per race–by far the best in the series. Harvick had the best ten-lap average during Happy Hour here at Chicagoland on Saturday and will be tough to get around on the race track. I’m hoping Harvick’s Stage points make up for his lack of potential place differential points.

Joey Logano ($11,900) – Joey Logano is one of the safest Fantasy NASCAR plays week in and week out, and now this weekend he’s starting back in 19th, so he has the opportunity to put up some major points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. This season, Logano has an average finish of 8.8 on the 1.5-mile tracks, which is tied for 2nd-best with Kevin Harvick. Here at Chicagoland, Joey has finished between 2nd and 8th in each of the last five races, and there’s no reason to think that that streak is going to end today. In Happy Hour here on Saturday, the #22 Ford was fastest on the speed chart and ranked 4th in ten-lap average. This team has a car much better than their 19th-place starting spot.

Chris Buescher ($8,000) – Chris Buescher will be rolling off the grid from 27th here on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, which puts him in a great position to have another big points day on a 1.5-mile race track. Looking back, Buescher scored 74 Slingshot points at Las Vegas, 51 points at Texas, 109 points at Kansas, and 122 points at Charlotte. This #37 team has been on top of their game at this track type this season, and there’s no reason to think Buescher won’t be challenging for at least a mid-teens finish in the Camping World 400. Looking at all recent races, Buescher has finished between 10th and 16th in each of the last five.

Matt Tifft ($5,600) – Before he failed inspection, Matt Tifft was completely off of the table in any Fantasy NASCAR league that has scoring based on place differential, as he was originally slated to start up in 22nd. Well, now Tifft will roll off and be scored from 38th, so he’s the best low-dollar option there is in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest today. There’s absolutely zero risk in picking the guy that’s starting in dead last, and honestly Tifft’s 1.5-mile finishes haven’t been too bad this year: 24th at Texas, 21st at Kansas, and 20th at Charlotte. I think there’s decent speed in the Front Row Motorsports Fords this weekend, too, so I’d consider Tifft a lock in this game.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.