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Sep 13

NASCAR National Series News & Notes — Chicago

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs open at Chicagoland Speedway           

NASCAR logoThe Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicks off its Playoffs with the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN,, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

  • Next Race: Tales of the Turtles 400
  • The Place: Chicagoland Speedway
  • The Date: Sunday, Sept. 17
  • The Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 80),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on lap 267)

NASCAR XFINITY Series

  • Next Race: TheHouse.com 300
  • The Place: Chicagoland Speedway
  • The Date: Saturday, Sept. 16
  • The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 

  • Next Race: TheHouse.com 225
  • The Place: Chicagoland Speedway
  • The Date: Friday, Sept. 15
  • The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 225 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 35),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Bonus content: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs hub

Here’s how the leaderboard sets up following the regular season finale at Richmond: 1. Martin Truex Jr. (leader), 2. Kyle Larson (20 points behind Truex), 3. Kyle Busch (-24), 4. Brad Keselowski (-34), 5. Jimmie Johnson (-36), 6. Kevin Harvick (-38), 7. Denny Hamlin (-40), 8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-43), 9. Ryan Blaney (-45), 10. Chase Elliott (-47), 11. Ryan Newman (-48), 12. Kurt Busch (-48), 13. Kasey Kahne (-48), 14. Austin Dillon (-48), 15. Matt Kenseth (-48), 16. Jamie McMurray (-50).

A win in the Playoffs automatically advances a driver to the next round and adds five points to his playoff points total. A stage win earns one playoff point to be added in the following round.

Past champions in the field include: Jimmie Johnson (2016, 2013, 2006-10), Kyle Busch (2015), Kevin Harvick (2014), Brad Keselowski (2012), Kurt Busch (2004) and Matt Kenseth (2003).

Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are taking part in their first Playoffs.

 

Truex Tries For Chicagoland Repeat

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader Martin Truex Jr. will try for his second straight win at Chicagoland Speedway in Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400. The Furniture Row Racing driver led 32 laps on his way to the victory in 2016. Prior to last season, he never finished better than ninth at the 1.5-mile track.

Truex produced a dominant regular season and he’ll look to carry his momentum into the Playoffs. He is tied with Kyle Larson for the series wins lead with four and the Toyota driver paces the series with 18 stage wins – seven more than the next-closest driver (Kyle Busch).

A loop data maven, Truex leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average running position (7.7), driver rating (114.3), fastest laps run (976, 16%) and laps led (1,646, 22.3%).

Keselowski Always A Threat At Chicagoland

Don’t bet against Brad Keselowski at Chicagoland Speedway. In eight starts at the Illinois track, he has two wins, four top fives, six top 10s and a 9.6 average finish. His two victories are tied with Kevin Harvick’s total for tops among active drivers.

Keselowski has struggled by his standards lately. He has not had a top-10 finish since placing fifth at Pocono on July 30.

He has been strong at intermediate tracks this season. In the three starts where he finished the race at 1.5-1.54-mile tracks, Keselowski has one win (Atlanta) and a 4.0 average finish.

Larson Enters Playoffs Coming Off Win

Kyle Larson speeds in to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the circuit’s latest winner. He notched his series lead-tying fourth win at Richmond last Saturday night – his first career victory at a track shorter than two miles.

In addition to his four wins this season, Larson also boasts 11 top fives (tied with Brad Keselowski for first in the series), 15 top 10s and an 11.0 average finish (first in the series).

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver ranks third in average running position (9.4), driver rating (103.8), fastest laps run (53, 8.9%) and laps led (971, 18.2%).

Kurt Busch Picking Up Speed

Kurt Busch enters the playoffs running well. The 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion has tallied three straight top-five finishes.

In 16 starts at Chicagoland, Busch claims two top fives, nine top 10s and a 15.4 average finish.

Busch won the opening race on his way to the title in 2004.

Harvick Hopes For Chicagoland Win              

Kevin Harvick will go for his third career win at Chicagoland Speedway in Sunday’s Playoff opener. A visit to Victory Lane would tie him with Tony Stewart for the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at Chicagoland.

In addition to his two victories (2001,2002), Harvick has two wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s and a 12.2 average finish at the 1.5-mile track.

The No. 4 Ford driver placed fifth at Chicagoland when he won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2014.

Young Guns Take Aim At Chicago

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs give the sport’s young guns a chance to build their legacies. Drivers under 30 racing for the championship include Kyle Larson (25 years old), Ryan Blaney (23), Chase Elliott (21), Austin Dillon (27) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (29).

Larson, Dillon and Elliott are making their second Playoff appearances, while Blaney and Stenhouse are competing in their first Playoffs.

In their Playoff debuts at Chicagoland last year, Elliott finished third, Dillon placed 14th and Larson came in 18th. Blaney finished fourth – highest among non-playoff drivers.

Johnson Sets Out On Drive For Record Eighth Championship

Never count out Jimmie Johnson come the Playoffs. The defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion sets out for a record eighth title in Sunday’s postseason opener at Chicagoland Speedway. If Johnson takes home the crown again, he will surpass NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty on the all-time championships list.

Johnson has never won at Chicagoland, but he does boast seven top fives, 10 top 10s and a 9.5 average finish in 15 starts there.

The No. 48 Chevrolet driver has posted three wins this season, but currently has a career-worst average finish of 16.7.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Regular Season Finale: Chicago Is Last Chance For Drivers To Make The Playoffs

With the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series regular season coming to a close, all but three spots have been clinched, leaving the drivers currently in the final playoff positions on points – Blake Koch, Michael Annett and Brendan Gaughan – with one last chance to lock themselves into postseason. The NASCAR XFINITY Series regular season finale, TheHouse.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, will be this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Nine drivers have already punched their ticket to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs – Elliott Sadler, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole, Ryan Reed, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft and Jeremy Clements.

That leaves three playoff spots and many drivers still fighting to get in. Below is a look at what each of the three drivers currently holding playoff spots will need to do to clinch their postseason positions.

 

Blake Koch (0 Wins, 537 Points, +249 Points Ahead of 21st) – Koch can clinch on points with 30 points and a new winner this weekend.  If there is a repeat winner, Koch would clinch on points with five points.  Koch can also clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win.

Koch has made 11 starts at Chicago posting a best finish of 15th last season. His average finish at Chicago is 29.8.

Michael Annett (0 Wins, 512 Points, +224 Points Ahead of 21st) – Annett can clinch on points with 54 points and a new winner.  If there is a repeat winner, Annett would clinch on points with 30 points.  Annett can also clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win.

Annett has made eight series starts at Chicago posting one top five, three top 10s an average finish of 12.7.

Brendan Gaughan (0 Wins, 511 Points, +223 Points Ahead of 21st) – If there is a repeat winner, Gaughan can clinch on points with 31 points.  Gaughan can also clinch a playoff spot with a win this weekend.  Gaughan could also clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Gaughan has made eight series starts at Chicago posting one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 12.8.

 

XFINITY Playoff Bubble: Outside Looking In With One To Go

The time is here. Chicagoland Speedway is the final race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series regular season, and for the following drivers on the wrong side of the playoff bubble, it’s the last chance to bounce their way into the playoffs. Below is a look at what the drivers just outside the playoff cutoff line will need to do to make the postseason this weekend:

Dakoda Armstrong (0 Wins, 486 Points, +198 Points Ahead of 21st) – With a win, Armstrong would clinch a playoff spot on wins.  He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Armstrong has made six series starts at Chicago posting a best finish of 15th in 2015. His average finish at Chicago is a 20.3.

The next five drivers are in a must-win situation; they can only clinch a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs with a victory this weekend.

JJ Yeley (0 Wins, 446 Points, +158 Points Ahead of 21st) – Yeley has made 12 series starts at Chicago, posting two top 10s and an average finish of 21.4

Ross Chastain (0 Wins, 441 Points, +153 Points Ahead of 21st) – Chastain has made four series starts at Chicago, posting a best finish of 16th in 2015. His average finish at Chicago is a 23.0.

Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 424 Points, +136 Points Ahead of 21st) – Sieg has made five series starts at Chicago, posting a best finish of 12th last season. His average finish at Chicago is a 16.8.

Brandon Jones (0 Wins, 402 Points, +114 Points Ahead of 21st) – Jones made his series track debut at Chicago last season and did so in impressive fashion, finishing 10th.

Spencer Gallagher (0 Wins, 288 Points, 0 Points Behind of 20th) – This weekend will mark Gallagher’s series track debut at Chicago.

The next batch of drivers could clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win, but would also need help in clinching a spot in the top 20 in points to be eligible for the playoffs, as they are currently outside the top 20:

Joey Gase (0 Wins, 275 Points, 13 Points Behind of 20th) – Gase has made nine series starts at Chicago posting a best finish of 23rd. His average finish at Chicago is a 31.5.

Garrett Smithley (0 Wins, 266 Points, 22 Points Behind of 20th) – Smithley made his series track debut last season at Chicago posting a 19th-place finish.

David Starr (0 Wins, 251 Points, 37 Points Behind of 20th) – Starr has made four series starts at Chicago posting a best finish of 18th last season. His average finish at Chicago is a 21.7.

Erik Jones Returns To Defend Last Season’s Chicago Win

Last season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones was battling to make the postseason, and did so quite notably when he won the regular season finale at Chicagoland Speedway. This season, Jones returns to the NASCAR XFINITY Series to defend his win and try to become the first driver in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to win consecutive races at Chicago. Plus, if he wins this weekend, Jones will tie Kevin Harvick (three wins) for the second-most series wins at Chicago all-time.

Jones will also be joined by six other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers looking to run double duty this weekend – Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Corey LaJoie and Kyle Larson.

Jones will the driving the No. 20 JGR Toyota with crew chief Chris Gabehart. Jones has made three series starts at Chicago, posting two wins (2014 and 2016) and three top 10s. His average finish at Chicago is a 3.0.

NASCAR XFINITY Series And Illinois

The NASCAR XFINITY Series has held 36 races among two different tracks (Chicagoland Speedway – 21  races and Gateway Motorsports Park – 16 races) in the state of Illinois. The very first NASCAR XFINITY Series race held in the state of Illinois was on July 26, 1997 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois – the race was won by Elliott Sadler.

Currently the NASCAR XFINITY Series only competes at Chicagoland Speedway in the state of Illinois. Chicagoland Speedway has held 21 series events, producing 14 different pole winners, led by Kyle Busch with three poles. It has also produced 14 different race winners, also led by Kyle Busch with four race wins.

A total of 80 drivers with their home state recorded as Illinois have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race. Of the 80 Illinois drivers, 15 have made at least one start in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Justin Allgaier from Riverton leads all Illinois drivers in series starts (232) and series wins (four).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

Trucking Down Into The Windy City

Following an off-week, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, September 15 for TheHouse.com 225 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN & SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Kyle Busch is the defending race winner, while Christopher Bell (fourth), Johnny Sauter (fifth) and Grant Enfinger (sixth) all finished inside the top-10.

2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs Final Countdown: 1 Race

With only one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season race remaining before the playoffs begin, below is a look at the playoff picture following Canadian Tire Motorsports Park:

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Playoff Points Pts from Cutoff
1 Christopher Bell 634 4 24
2 JH Nemechek 463 2 11
3 Johnny Sauter 604 1 10
4 Matt Crafton 574 1 7
5 Austin Cindric 447 1 6
6 Kaz Grala 373 1 5
7 Chase Briscoe 573 0 1
8 Ben Rhodes 505 0 1 7
9 Ryan Truex 498 0 2 -7
10 Grant Enfinger 474 0 0 -31
11 Noah Gragson 458 0 1 -47
12 Justin Haley 386 0 0 -119

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Clinch Scenarios At Chicagoland

With a pair of Brad Keselowski Racing drivers clinching two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs spots in Austin Cindric (win) and Chase Briscoe (points) at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, there is only one playoff spot up for grabs at Chicagoland Speedway.

ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes, who is currently in the eighth and final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff position could officially clinch that spot with a win at Chicagoland or on points if he scores at least 49 points in the race.

The following drivers could clinch their playoff berth with a win or on points based on a repeat winner and help from other drivers:

Ryan Truex

Grant Enfinger

Noah Gragson

 

Playoff Bubble Drivers At Chicagoland

With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff picture above, below is an outlook of drivers No. 8-12 in the current playoff standings.

  1. Ben Rhodes:Right now, Ben Rhodes occupies the eighth and final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs spot heading into Chicagoland Speedway. He is seven points above Ryan Truex. Rhodes has driven well as of late, as he knows every point in every race matters. He has four top-11 or better finishes in his last four races. Rhodes has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Chicagoland and finished 25th there last season due to a crash.
  1. Ryan Truex:Ryan Truex continues to have a very strong 2017 season and is only seven points away from a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs berth heading into Chicagoland. He’s finished top-five or better in three of his last four races. Truex has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Chicagoland and finished 15th after starting 21st.
  1. Grant Enfinger:Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger has had a very strong rookie season. He leads the Sunoco Rookie points by one point over Chase Briscoe heading into Chicagoland. Enfinger has experience on his side, as he has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Chicagoland. He finished sixth there last season after starting 14th.
  1. Noah Gragson:Sunoco Rookie contender Noah Gragson is coming off a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career-best finish after placing second at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. He currently sits 47 points away a playoff berth heading into Chicagoland Speedway – a track he will be making his track debut at in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend.

 

  1. Justin Haley:GMS Racing driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Justin Haley has been a machine as of late. He has yet to finish outside the top-11 since Charlotte and is coming off a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire. Haley will be making his track debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway. He will need a win to enter the 2017 Playoffs.

Chicagoland Motorsports Park Quick Facts

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for TheHouse.com 225 (Friday, September 15 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), below are some series quick facts at the final race of the regular season:

Races: 8

Pole Winners: 6

Youngest Pole Winner: Jen Burton (09/13/2013 – 21 years, 1 months, 7 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Todd Bodine (08/27/2010 – 46 years, 6 months, 0 days)

Race Winners: 4

Youngest Winner: John Hunter Nemechek (09/19/2015 – 18 years, 3 months, 8 days)

Oldest Winner: Kyle Busch (09/16/2016 – 31 years, 4 months, 14 days)

Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0

Race Record: Kyle Busch 142.882 mph (09/13/2014)

Qualifying Record: Spencer Gallagher 176.148 mph (09/16/2016)

First Timers At Chicagoland
There are eight Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Friday’s TheHouse.com 225 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

Grant Enfinger is the only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie contender who has made a start at Chicagoland Speedway.

In eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Chicagoland Speedway, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver in John Hunter Nemechek (09/19/2015) won his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland.

Current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Spencer Gallagher (09/16/2016) and Justin Lofton (07/21/2012) are the only drivers to win their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole at Chicagoland.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.:

Gray Gaulding To Make 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Debut: NASCAR Next (Class of 2013) driver Gray Gaulding will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of 2017 season at Chicagoland Speedway in the No. 15 Chevrolet for Jay Robinson. Gaulding last made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in 2015 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Myatt Snider Driving The No. 51 Toyota For Kyle Busch At Chicago: Myatt Snider will make his fourth start this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 51 Toyota. Snider finished 16th at Kentucky, 16th at Texas and 10th at Daytona earlier this season.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Standings Update: Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra retains a 30-point lead over GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings after 15 races this season. ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Toyota Tundra (-60), Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford F-150 (-61) and ThorSport Racing’s No. 27 Toyota Tundra (-129) round out the top five.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturer Standings Update: Through 15 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, Toyota leads Chevrolet by 23 points in the manufacturer standings, 559-536. In third place, Ford sits at 472 points and captured their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win this season when Austin Cindric won at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

source: NASCAR.com

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