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July 7, 2024

Advance to Victory Lane: Who can dethrone SVG on the streets?

Editor’s note: Projections have been updated after Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions.

The Cup Series is back in the Windy City for the highly anticipated Grant Park 165 (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN Radio, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).

Shane van Gisbergen is the man to beat this weekend after his stellar performance on the streets last year. SVG opened the week as one of the betting favorites to win the Chicago Street Race, tied with Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell.

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While the Cup regulars will be getting their second bite at racing on a street course and are expected to close the gap to van Gisbergen, there’s a good chance it won’t be any easier to pass SVG this time. As a current NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie, the Kiwi driver has been gaining experience this season. He locked himself into the playoffs after winning back-to-back road-course races at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway — before capturing Saturday’s race in the Windy City. You also can’t knock the fact his race craft on street circuits is more fine-tuned compared to the Cup field from his Australian Supercars career, which really prevailed when he was battling Justin Haley for the win last year.

So, who is SVG’s biggest threat heading into the weekend?

Racing Insights initially projected Chase Elliott to take van Gisbergen’s street crown. Elliott continued his top-20 streak after a wild race at Nashville Superspeedway and seems to maximize his opportunities through chaotic races on a weekly basis. His road-course numbers in the Next Gen era are impressive, with a series-best seven top fives and an average finish of 9.62, second only to Chris Buescher’s 8.0. The only thing he’s missing is a win. He had seven road-course wins before the 2022 season — could this be his weekend to break back into the win column on a road course?

After practice and qualifying, however, a Kyle Larson run to the pole switched things up a bit and Elliott’s No. 5 Hendrick teammate is now projected to win.


TYLER REDDICK: One of the best road-course drivers at the Cup level, Reddick finished inside the top three in both stages and even jumped to the lead over Denny Hamlin on Lap 1 last year at Chicago.

CHRISTOPHER BELL: Bell was on a hot streak up until his incident last weekend at Nashville. He swept both stages last year on the streets and should be a factor again on Sunday.

CHRIS BUESCHER: Buescher has the most top 10s on road courses in the Next Gen era (12), meaning he’s due to break through soon. He’s also in the playoff picture on points but could use a win at this point in the season to solidify his postseason position.

MICHAEL MCDOWELL: McDowell earned a spot in the playoffs last year after winning on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He finished seventh last year in the inaugural Chicago race and was runner-up at Sonoma this year.

JOEY HAND: Here’s your pick if you’re looking for another upset win. Hand has a decorated endurance racing career, including an overall win in the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona, a 2016 victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Hand also appeared at all six Cup Series road-course races in 2022, so he has Next Gen car experience.


Racing Insights’ advanced statistical formula includes current track, current track type, recent performance, team data and pit-crew data to arrive at a projected winner and full race results.

FinishCar NumberDriver
15Kyle Larson
29Chase Elliott
345Tyler Reddick
420Christopher Bell
534Michael McDowell
654Ty Gibbs
717Chris Buescher
816Shane van Gisbergen
924William Byron
1011Denny Hamlin
111Ross Chastain
1219Martin Truex Jr.
1399Daniel Suárez
1418Kyle Busch
1548Alex Bowman
1612Ryan Blaney
1713AJ Allmendinger
1823Bubba Wallace
192Austin Cindric
2022Joey Logano
216Brad Keselowski
2214Chase Briscoe
2338Todd Gilliland
247Corey LaJoie
2577Carson Hocevar
2651Justin Haley
2741Ryan Preece
283Austin Dillon
2947Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3071Zane Smith
3143Erik Jones
3242John Hunter Nemechek
3310Noah Gragson
3421Harrison Burton
354Josh Berry
3615Kaz Grala
3731Daniel Hemric
3866Josh Bilicki
3960Joey Hand
4033Austin Hill