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Grant Park 220 Predictions: NASCAR Makes First-Ever Foray Into the Unknown - A Street Course

Written by: Reid Spencer
Published June 30, 2023
11 min read
  • NASCAR makes first-ever foray into the unknown—a street course.
  • AJ Allmendinger is an obvious frontrunner on this narrow venue.
  • Michael McDowell is one of the few street-wise drivers in the field.

Grant Park 220 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.


Chase Elliott



Tyler Reddick



Martin Truex Jr.



Kyle Larson



AJ Allmendinger



Kyle Busch



William Byron



Ross Chastain



Chris Buescher



Daniel Suarez



Christopher Bell



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Grant Park 220 Predictions

Grant Park 220 Predictions

NASCAR Takes Its Top Division to an Unprecedented Venue

For the first time in NASCAR history, drivers will race this weekend on a street course—in this case, the Chicago Street Course, a 2.2-mile, 120-turn layout that meanders on city streets just a few hundred yards from Lake Michigan, within sight of legendary Soldier Field.

No drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series field have ever raced a heavy stock car on such a narrow, unforgiving venue, but they’ll get a quick baptism on Saturday and Sunday.

The Grant Park 220 is part and parcel of NASCAR’s effort to expand its horizons by taking its events to large urban centers. More than 100,000 fans are expected to attend the races this weekend.

AJ Allmendinger Brings Street Course Experience to Chicago

Though no driver in the field has ever raced a NASCAR Next Gen Cup Series car on a street course, AJ Allmendinger gained street course experience during his stint in IndyCars.

“Chicago is going to be very interesting,” Allmendinger said. “A street course takes me back to my roots of racing open-wheel and being at a lot of different street courses. I think it’s a venue that, if it’s put on right, we can have a great weekend there as an industry.

“It’s a race track that a small mistake can have a huge penalty when it’s that narrow and surrounded by concrete walls. Anything can happen, and we’re not really sure what to expect. Street racing is some of the most fun I’ve had racing in my life, so I’m looking forward to getting to Chicago and trying it out in a Cup car.”

Though Allmendinger failed to finish any of his last three IndyCar starts on street courses, we think his talent and experience are good for a top-three result and encourage a bet to that effect at +240 via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Michael McDowell Could Surprise the Uninitiated on Sunday

Like AJ Allmendinger, Michael McDowell has street course experience in a variety of cars—from IndyCars to Rolex Grand-Am to Grand American Road Racing vehicles.

In addition, McDowell is a talent road course racer, and his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford has shown improved performance this season.

“I think going to a new course that nobody has any experience on—tricky and challenging—it’s going to play into the hands of guys that have done races like this, and that adapt quickly,” said McDowell, who drives the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. We’re talking about the best drivers in the world, so they’re going to figure it out really fast.

“I don’t think I have an ‘advantage.’ I just feel like my comfort level is a bit higher than the majority of the guys that haven’t seen a street course before. We think about this race as a race we need to go and win to get into the Playoffs. So that’s what we’re focused on.”

We think McDowell will get his win this season at the handsome price of +2500 via DraftKings. Remember, we scored last week with Ross Chastain at +1100.

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How to Watch the Grant Park 220

  • What: Grant Park 220 NASCAR Cup Series race
  • Where: Chicago Street Course
  • When: Sunday, July 2, 5 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: NBC
Image for Reid Spencer


Reid Spencer

218 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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