After a week of movements, controversy and two rain delays, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is officially underway, with the race at Chicagoland Speedway now in the books. With one of 10 races in, the chase is off to an unthinkable and unexpected start.
Chicagoland Speedway may have been the chase kickoff, but it certainly didn’t kickoff the way many expected. Two rain delays later and after an entire day at the race track, Matt Kenseth kept his dominance and points lead by taking the first checkered flag of the 10-race playoff system. Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, may be on to a good start but the chase is far from over.
Ryan Newman was added in and then with Jeff Gordon as the thirteenth driver, there were some twists on the track. What was meant to be day racing led to night racing and a lot of fluctuations in the standings for chase drivers.
Almost all of the chase drivers had issues on the track and some expired engine failures. Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were just two of the few with engine issues; they saw their championship hopes take a hit, leaving them on the bottom of the standings.
Moving forward to New Hampshire, some drivers look to continue their chase on a high note following Chicago, where 10 of the 13 chase drivers finished in the top 12, including Kenseth. Meanwhile, Logano and Earnhardt look to recover from their troubles at the start of the chase. For Logano, the race at New Hampshire also means redemption considering his troubles there during the first race.
Nine more races remain until a champion is crowned. Expect plenty more twists and turns (and not just on the racetrack) when it comes down to the championship. As the chase got off to an unexpected start, be sure to expect the unexpected moving forward. With all of the diverse tracks still on the schedule, the season is far from over.