Apparently, video games can become a reality, and NASCAR is set to take over the Second City streets and the Chicago Loop on a circuit that was once only a reality in a virtual world.

With its origins in e-Racing, NASCAR has taken inspiration from its open-wheel counterparts like Formula 1, IndyCar, and Formula E and is turning part of South Lake Shore Blvd and Downtown Chicago into a street course for the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series’ this weekend.

Unlike the ovals that dominate the NASCAR schedule, or permanent road tracks and purpose-built racing facilities like Circuit of the Americas (CoTA) or Sonoma Raceway, the Chicago circuit will take the NASCAR drivers through Grant Park with Lake Michigan on the left, while the Drivers will zip past the Spearman sculpture through the turns 8-10 complex on East Congress Plaza that crosses Ida B. Wells Drive. The Grant Park Circuit features many straights that lead to heavy-braking zones and 90-degree turns.

Despite the unknowns and intangibles involved and the general competitiveness and unpredictability of most NASCAR races, Bangthebook has dug a little deeper to help your NASCAR Grant Park 220 betting picks be winning ones.

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Will Road Course Success = Street Circuit Success?

NASCAR has had two non-oval events this season: the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas and the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway two weeks ago. While being good on road courses will be helpful on an entirely new circuit, can past road course success translate to NASCAR’s Chicago Street Circuit?

Unfortunately for 23 XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick (+650), success at CoTA did not translate to success at Sonoma. Reddick and Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron (+1200) engaged in a two-car battle that resembled Formula 1 more than NASCAR, breaking away from the pack at CoTA until caution flags bunched the field up. In the end, Reddick won the race, while late race caution flags helped drop Byron to fifth after capturing pole position and the stage 1 win. At Sonoma, Reddick finished 33rd.

Byron is among BangtheBook’s favored NASCAR picks and having an excellent season, with three race wins and ten top-ten finishes landing him second in the NASCAR Drivers’ Championship standings. However, despite looking ready for a jump to open-wheel racing at CoTa, Byron finished a respectable but somewhat disappointing 14th.

Byron bounced back with a sixth-place finish in Nashville, his seventh top-ten finish in the last eight races.

The Hot Hand

In the unpredictable world of NASCAR, there might not be a Driver with a hotter hand at the moment than current Drivers’ Championship leader Martin Truex Jr. (+775) While Truex Jr. finished 17th at CoTA – one of six finishes outside the top ten in his first seven races, Truex Jr. has been a force since his seventh place finish at Bristol.

Since Bristol, Truex Jr. has two race wins, five top-five, and eight top-ten finishes. There are two things to note about Truex Jr.’s recent run of form: he’s finished in the top five in the last four races, including finishing second in Nashville, and he was the winner at Sonoma and led the most laps.

BangtheBooks Favored Contenders

While we can’t shine the light on every driver, we have three drivers you should consider as potential Grant Park 220 winners.

Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (+1200) won his first race of the season at Nashville and currently sits third in the Drivers’ Standings. Chastain has had an up-and-down season but has collected eight top-ten finishes this season, including a tenth-place finish at Sonoma, while finishing 12th at CoTA.

Kyle Busch (+1000) has three race wins and ten top-ten finishes this season, including five top-ten finishes in his last five races, finishing second at Sonoma. Busch also finished second at CoTa, emerging from the late-race restart chaos.

Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson (+850) is Bangthebook’s last potential winner at Grant Park. Larson is always a betting favorite in most NASCAR races and has two race wins and eight top-ten finishes this season, including three top-ten finishes in his last three races.

However, BangtheBook’s NASCAR Betting Pick is to take Kyle Busch at +1000 to win the Grant Park 220.

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