Wow after last week’s exciting race at Richmond International Raceway this week’s race will be boring. Last week’s race was one of the most exciting of the season. So exciting that it has blended into this week’s race preview. If you missed it and know someone who still has it DVR’d, I recommend watching it. On to this week.
Ok I did refer to this race as boring. It won’t be only because it is the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. None of the 12 drivers in the Chase will win the Cup because of this race but they certainly could lose it. The Chicagoland Speedway is a cookie cutter, International Speedway Corporation, 1.5 mile, D shaped oval track. Similar ISC tracks are Kansas and Miami. The track is a wide, multiple grooved track, with 18 degrees of banking in the turns, 11 degrees on the front stretch and 5 degrees on the back stretch. The drivers are still turning on the front stretch because of the D shape. Like the big brother 2 mile tracks of Michigan and California they can race 3, 4 and sometime 5 wide here after restarts. Also, like those tracks, the field can get strung out single file, which leads to points in the race where the Yawn factor comes in. A debris caution to tighten the field and forget the Yawn. If there are any wreaks, they will most likely be in turn two because of the speed the cars can reach at the end of the front stretch.
This track is also a track where the dreaded “Fuel Millage” can come into play if there are few cautions. So crew chiefs need to also pay attention to the laps as well as the clock. If they don’t someone will steal the race on fuel millage.
Who is good here. Well first and foremost all of the top 12 drivers are good at the 1.5 mile tracks and each and every one has a great chance. So are some of the nonchase drivers. It is quite possible that a nonchase driver could win this one. David Reutimann did last year. Kevin Harvick won the first two races here and Toney Stewart has also won two races. This is one of the tracks that Jimmie Johnson has not won at. Sorry that is the best help I can give. I’d like to say that after qualifying it will be more apparent who has a chance, but winners of this race have come from all different positions in the field. Only Kyle Busch has won from the pole but that race was set by points not qualifying.
I will be at the race, look for me. I will be the guy with the scanner headphones on at the entrance to turn 1. If you can’t make it to the track it will be on ESPN on Sunday at 2 PM ET. Follow me on Twitter @brian_jr1. If you don’t agree with me than please Rant below that is what it is there for.