NASCAR DFS Picks: Top Drivers for the 2024 Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway (2024)

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to St. Louis — well, Madison, Illinois — for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300. After a controversially rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 won by Christopher Bell, we’ve got a clear weather forecast this go-round. Michael McDowell will start on the pole for this event with a boatload of Fords looking fast in qualifying and practice. Without further ado, let’s dive into our top NASCAR DFS picks for the 2024 Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway also known as Gateway, including Chris Buescher.

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NASCAR DFS Picks: Top Drivers for the 2024 Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway

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Chris Buescher | 2024 Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR DFS Picks | Gateway

This article was written before our NASCAR DFS projections run. Check back on Sunday morning for Stokastic’s industry-leading NASCAR DFS projections, including our top drivers tool!

Gateway has now hosted two NASCAR Cup Series events since getting added to the schedule in 2022. Both of them were weird. While Gateway profiles as a short, flat oval, it’s 1.25 miles in length, making it the longest of those tracks. The Cup Series also doesn’t use the short-track package here, so while Gateway is similar in configuration to Richmond, Phoenix and New Hampshire, the car is different, meaning we can’t lean too heavily on data from those tracks.

The track has produced some weird results, too. In 2022, we saw Austin Cindric win Stage 1, Kurt Busch win Stage 2 and Joey Logano win the race, his second win of the year. In 2023, we saw Kyle Busch dominate, winning Stage 1 and the race after losing Stage 2 to Ryan Blaney. That was the younger Busch’s third win of the year, but over half of the laps he led all season came in that event.

One thing that Busch’s 2023 campaign and Logano’s 2022 campaign had in common was a strong run at Darlington a few weeks before this event. Logano won after recording the best driver rating (138.5). Busch finished seventh but recorded the third-best driver rating (108.8).

Although Chris Buescher ($8,500 at DraftKings) finished 30th at Darlington on Mother’s Day, he was leading late before an aggressive move from Tyler Reddick cost them both strong runs. He ended the event with the 10th-best driver rating (87.6) as his teammate, Brad Keselowski, won with the best rating (127.5).

Buescher will start this year’s Enjoy Illinois 300 in 26th after disappointing performances in practice and qualifying. However, Keselowski qualified seventh and showed more speed in practice, and plenty of Buescher’s Ford teammates qualified well or put together strong 10-lap averages in practice. I’m optimistic that Buescher will figure something out on race day and run well here, scoring plenty of position and pass differential points in the process. He finished 12th here last season after missing the 2022 event.

Let's dive into our NASCAR DFS picks to identify the top drivers for the 2024 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in this pre-projections run...
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Austin Cindric

This pick is a bit aggressive. Austin Cindric ($6,200 at DraftKings) will start in second on Sunday, so he has a chance to cost us plenty of fantasy points via negative differential. However, his low-end salary and great starting position make him a great play for dominator points — if he can keep his car at the front.

Cindric has qualified well here before. He started in second for the 2022 event that Logano won, leading 26 laps before finishing an okay 11th. He started 10th here last year and wheeled his No. 2 Ford to a 13th-place result. Those are decent results, especially for a driver who won’t break the bank.

But with polesitter Michael McDowell ($6,500 at DraftKings) only $300 more expensive, it’s possible that you’re better off playing the other driver on the front row. I still have faith in Cindric due to the long-run speed he showed in practice, however — he recorded the second-best 10-lap average (136.1 mph) while McDowell ranked ninth (135.5 mph). Only 29 drivers met the 10-consecutive lap threshold.

We’ve seen Cindric look good before doing little here before, and I’m not saying that he should be a favorite to win this race or anything. However, for only $6,200, we can get a driver with a chance to score some early dominator points who should finish somewhere in the top 15. That’s a better play than most other guys in this price range.

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Isaiah Sirois is a Sports Betting Analyst at OddsShopper/Stokastic specializing in basketball, football and motorsports. He uses a wide variety of analytical tools to identify value on event-specific markets, and you trust his columns will be stuffed to the brim with data. Basketball is Isaiah’s favorite sport to handicap, and he has covered NBA, WNBA, NCAA and FIBA markets for OddsShopper and other sites. However, Isaiah’s favorite sport to follow is auto racing, and you can usually find him watching NASCAR or IndyCar during their seasons. He will be a fan of Team Penske and Ford Performance until the end of time. Isaiah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Emory University.

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