2023 Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter Predictions

So, what’s your favorite storyline from this past week? Don’t know? Let’s recap- Blaney drove a rocket ship last Monday and broke a 59-race winless streak, Chase Elliott lost his cool and delivered a left hook to Denny Hamlin only Muhammed Ali could be proud of (that’s resulted in a one week vacation…that may involve snowboarding?), Chase Briscoe and the Stewart-Haas organization was handed one of the largest fines in NASCAR history for the use of a counterfeit part, Brad Keselowski is gearing up for his 500th…wait…let’s stay on track. This week brings about the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter in Madison/St. Louis. Let’s dive in.

Driver to Fade:

Chase Briscoe. Yikes. From being on the cusp of playoff contention, to hanging out in a solid 31st position, this week- and year- has been a largely frustrating one for the 14. Today, he’ll start 25th at a track where he placed 24th last year. I don’t think the penalty is necessarily the nail in the coffin for the #14 team this season, but it’s all uphill from here, no doubt.

Dark Horse:

Perhaps not the starting spot he was looking for in what may be the most important race of Corey LaJoie’s career, there’s no doubt he’ll be driving the wheels off the #9 car at WWT. And that’s what makes this pick so hard to pass up this week. The Spire Motorsports driver is hanging close at 19th in the points standings so far this season and, at times, has made the #7 machine look promising. Stats be damned, he’s ready to prove his mettle this week. Look for LaJoie to keep it interesting.

Top 10:

The Toyotas are looking fast this week, but Martin Truex Jr., in particular, is riding a wave of momentum. He finished 3rd last week at Charlotte, has already punched his ticket into the playoffs, finished 6th here last year, and has already garnered 6 top-10s this year. He rolls off 5th today, the second of three Toyotas starting in the top-10, two spots behind teammate Denny Hamlin. He’ll be fast.

Winner:

It feels like the 4’s first win of the season is getting ever closer, doesn’t it? 6 top-10’s for The Closer so far, this year, and he’s only getting faster. He’s had a nose for the front all season- a touch up with Ross Chastain at Atlanta, and a spin last week at Charlotte, likely cut him short of adding two more top 10s- at least- to his statsheet. We’re right at the halfway point of the regular season, and it feels like Kevin Harvick, if he goes winless, may accumulate enough points alone to still sneak into the playoffs. But that’s not how he wants his sunset campaign to close out. He wants wins, and Birdies and Burnouts predicts that, today, Harvick places it in Victory Lane. He rolls off 4th at 3:30 PM EST on FS1.

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