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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Best Bets - Chicagoland

Be sure to follow VegasInsider.com on Twitter @TwitVI for the latest NASCAR updates and trends. Daniel E. Dobish, two-time FSWA Racing Writer of the Year, can be followed on Twitter at danieledobish.

Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.

After a week off, the MENCS moves to Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 400 at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch (3/1) is tops among the odds board, and he is the returning champion. He has a pair of checkered flags with five top-5 finishes and eight top-10 showings with a 10.6 Average-Finish Position (AFP) while leading 573 laps. He is also first among all active drivers with a 116.9 Driver Rating over the past five starts at Chicagoland while running 87.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15.

Martin Truex Jr. (6/1) is also going to be right there in the mix to win this weekend. There is something about Chicagoland which he really likes. He won two of the past three starts at the track, and he ranks fourth in Driver Rating (109.0) across the past five starts with 148 laps led and a 6.6 Average-Finish Position (AFP). His past four showings at the track have resulted in top-5 finishes. While Busch is the slight favorite, Truex and Denny Hamlin (18/1) are big threats to win, too. Hamlin has a win under his belt at Chicagoland, and Toyota has won four straight races at this track, and five of the past six Cup starts, too.

 One JGR driver who hasn't had a lot of Chicagoland success is Erik Jones (20/1). To be fair, he was sixth last season, but 33rd in his debut race in 2017. There just isn't enough information to spend good money on Jones, and he hasn't exactly killed it this season on the other tracks, either.

Penske Racing's Joey Logano (8/1) and Brad Keselowski (18/1) will be looking to break up the dominance of Toyota, and they could have just the cars to do it. Keselowski checks in fifth in Driver Rating (108.6) over the past five Chicagoland starts, and he has run a ridiculous 97.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 during the span, according to NASCAR's Loop Data. Logano is seventh with a 102.4 Driver Rating, and he has managed 93.8 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Over the past five races, those are the first- and third-best percentages. While Logano has never won in 10 career Cup starts at Chicagoland, Kes has a pair of wins with four top-5 showings, eight top-10 finishes and a 9.2 AFP, which is best among all drivers with at least six Cup starts under his belt at the Illinois run.

Penske third wheel Ryan Blaney (20/1) is often forgotten due to the dominance of Logano and Keselowski, but he should be front and center this weekend for bettors. Blaney has registered finishes of fourth, 11th and 18th in three Cup starts at the track, good for an 11.0 AFP, and he has led 27 laps, too. Blaney is a tremendous value at this price.

Hendrick Motorsports driver and seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson (30/1) is still looking for that elusive win to snap his career-long victory drought which dates back to June 4, 2017 at Dover. Johnson is just ninth over the past five races in terms of Driver Rating (97.7), but he has led 118 laps during the span with 84.4 percent of his laps run inside the Top 15. He has been 14th or better in each of the past eight Cup starts at this track, including four top-10 showings. It's one of the few tracks he hasn't at least had one victory in his career, but he has a strong 9.7 AFP in 17 career starts with 695 laps led, so don't completely write him off.

Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman (300/1) is coming off of a pair of top-10 finishes at Michigan and Sonoma, and now he sets his sights on Chicagoland. He has rather long odds for a guy who is ticking off strong finishes lately. Plus, he has a victory at Chicagoland, albeit in the Tropicana 400 back in July 2003. However, he knows how to win a race at this track, and he has managed four top-5 finishes, nine top-10 showings and 185 laps led in 17 career starts with a respectable 14.7 AFP. If you're looking for a value with longer odds, the 'Rocket Man' is the slam-dunk sleeper of the weekend.

Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick (9/2) likes the direction his team is going after a bit of a slow start and lack of adjustments early on in the season. He hasn't won at this track since July 2002, but Loop Data shows him third in Driver Rating at 109.4 over the past five starts, leading 187 laps, which is second only to Kyle Busch. In 18 career starts he has a pair of victories and 10 top-5 showings with an 11.2 AFP. His teammate Clint Bowyer (18/1) is one to watch, too. He has never won the Chicagoland race, but he has a pair of top-5 finishes, and eight of his 13 Cup starts have resulted in a top-10 finish with 29 laps led and a 13.7 AFP overall.

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