Chase Elliott Wins the Nationwide Series Race at Chicagoland

Chase Elliott and the NAPA Team Get Their Jobs Done at Chicagoland

The NASCAR Nationwide Series and Chicagoland Speedway had the spotlight this week since the Sprint Cup and Truck Series were off. The series regulars did not disappoint. Chase Elliott had never raced at Chicagoland Speedway but he sure did learn quickly.

Brian Scott won the Coors Light Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300. He proceeded to lead the first 20 laps until he and his team started being too aggressive in their changes to the car.

Chase Elliott started the race third and drove to the front leading the race from lap 21 to 50. He gave up the lead to pit. The rest of the race Elliott was only outside the top three during pit stops. The team was the second best team on pit road and pitted only three times.

Just a really solid effort you know, we talked about it as a team this afternoon. We all need to just do our job.  We all have a job on a race team and I feel like if we all completed our task to the best of our ability. I feel like we can have a good night.” Elliott added, “Fortunately everyone did that. So very proud of our effort this evening and I hopefully we can do this again in the future.

Part of everyone doing their job was Elliott’s Crew Chief Greg Ives setting about a plan prior to the race and sticking to it.

Greg Ives said, “It’s one of those things where you break down the race into using your fuel, your fuel window. It kind of breaks down on the first green flag run you’ll be 10 to 15 laps into your window already. Tires are a big deal so you kind of just break it down. It gets a green flag feel to it and we decided that we have not been getting the best fuel millage lately. I decided that we would go after fast pit stops and put tires on and make enough time up that way. That’s more or less the strategy to try to be the aggressor this week.   There’s times when you’re going to have to stretch it a little bit but this week to win the race and do what we wanted to do I felt like that was our best strategy.

Chase Elliott, Greg Ives and the whole NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet team did their jobs just like they planned and won the race. They led on four occasions for 85 of 200 laps, the most of any team.

Chase Elliott now leads the Nationwide Series standings by seven points over Regan Smith. Elliott was also the highest finishing rookie.

Brian Scott finished sixth and as the highest finishing Nationwide Series Regular won $100,000.00 Dash4Cash. The drivers in addition to Brian Scott eligible for next week’s Dash4Cash at Indianapolis are Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, and Ty Dillon.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300022 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Brian Scott Won the Pole for the Nationwide Race at Chicagoland

Brian Scott Won the Pole for the Nationwide Race at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is at Chicagoland Speedway for the EnjoyIllinois.com 300. Brian Scott improved his time in each round of knock out qualifying earning the Coors Light Pole Award.

In the first round Brendan Gaughan brushed the wall. The team decided to fix the damage to continue qualifying in hopes of getting a good pit stall. He qualified ninth but will start the race from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments during qualifying.

Brian Scott driving the No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet led the first practice on Friday but was out gunned when drivers went out to make mock qualifying runs in the final practice posting only a 11th fastest lap.

In the first round of qualifying Scott posted a lap of 175.884 MPH which was good enough for seventh. In the second round of qualifying he moved to the provisional pole with a much faster lap of 177.212 MPH. In the third and final lap he improved further to capture the Coors Light Pole Award with a lap of 177.807 MPH.

This is Brian Scott’s fourth pole, his second at Chicagoland Speedway. He posted his first pole here in September of 2011.

Ty Dillon, his teammate, qualified on the outside pole and is the highest qualifying rookie.

Brian Scott is a Dash4Cash driver eligible to win $100,000.00 if he is the highest finisher of the four Dash4Cash drivers. They will start Elliott Sadler 7th, Chris Buescher 13th and Regan Smith 15th.

The rest of the top ten are car #3 Ty Dillon, #9 Chase Elliott, #20 Erik Jones, #5 Kasey Kahne, #54 Sam Hornish Jr., #11 Elliott Sadler, #22 Ryan Blaney, #62 Brendan Gaughan, #33 Cale Conley.

If you cannot get to Chicagoland Speedway it will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday July 19th at 8 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: Brian Berg Jr. BehindPitRow.com

Chicagoland Speedway enjoyIlinois.com 300 Nationwide Practice Notes

Chicagoland Speedway enjoyIlinois.com 300 Nationwide Practice Notes

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has the Spotlight this weekend at the Chicagoland Speedway for the enjoyIllinois.com 300. In preparation for Saturday night’s feature event they had two practice sessions.

The first practice session was 50 minutes. It just so happened to be at about the same time of the day that qualifying will be held tomorrow. Some teams appeared to just make a few qualifying runs and others make multiple runs.

Dash4Cash driver Brian Scott in the No. 2 made only five laps at the start of practice. That was enough to be the fastest at 172.806 MPH. Chris Buescher in the No. 60, also a Dash4Cash driver, ran 21 laps and was second fastest at 172.623 MPH. The rest of the top ten speeds are below.

Also of note current Nationwide Series point leader Regan Smith in the No. 7 was 15th fastest at 170.154 ran only 8 laps. Elliot Sadler in the No. 11, who is the runner up, was 14th at 170.557 MPH. Both are also Dash4Cash drivers.

Harrison Rhodes replaced Jeffery Earnhardt in the No. 4 car. Earnhardt has been nursing a broken collar bone. Earnhardt had all but lost the car in the first practice and in saving the car must have realized that he is not 100%. Rhodes was at the track just in case this happened. It was unclear if they will make this change for the race.

The second practice started with most teams making runs in race trim. In fact many teams looked like they were racing one another based on their close quarters on the track. In the last half of practice some teams were making mock qualifying runs in race trim. Needless to say the leaderboard of lap times changed drastically from the first half of practice until the end.  Most of the top ten were from mock qualifying runs.

Cale Conley in the No. 33 led the second practice at 175.262 followed by Brendan Gaughan in the No. 62 at 174.961. Both drivers appeared to make mock qualifying runs. The rest of the top ten speeds are below.

None of the Dash4Cash drivers made the top ten. Brian Scott led them all 11th at 172.667 followed by Elliott Sadler at 172.557. In addition Chris Buescher was 16th at 171.909 followed by Regan Smith at 171.636.

Qualifying is Saturday July 19th at 4:10 PM ET. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. It will be interesting to see how those drivers who were fast during practice but did not make mock qualifying runs will fare.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: Brian Berg Jr. BehindPitRow.com

First Practice Top Ten
2 Brian Scott 172.806
60 Chris Buescher 172.623
9 Chase Elliott 172.568
62 Brendan Gaughan 172.342
42 Kyle Larson 171.81
54 Sam Hornish Jr. 171.723
5 Kasey Kahne 171.396
16 Ryan Reed 171.238
3 Ty Dillon 171.189
6 Trevor Bayne 171.086
Second Practice Top Ten
33 Cale Conley 175.262
62 Brendan Gaughan 174.961
3 Ty Dillon 174.848
6 Trevor Bayne 174.447
16 Ryan Reed 174.402
20 Erik Jones 174.064
9 Chase Elliott 173.561
39 Ryan Sieg 173.321
99 James Buescher 172.999
22 Ryan Blaney 172.822

 

The NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland has the Focus This Week

The Nationwide Series has the Spotlight This Weekend at Chicagoland

The NASCAR Nationwide Series and Chicagoland Speedway have the spotlight this week. The Sprint Cup and Truck Series are off. This week is the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway and the Nationwide Series is going to shine.

The Chicagoland Speedway is a 1.5 mile D shaped oval with 18 degrees of banking in the corners, 11 degrees in the front stretch and 5 degrees on the back stretch. Racing at Chicagoland is not as fast as the other 1.5 mile tracks that have more banking, but it still is fast. The races at Chicagoland are sometimes won by having good fuel mileage. A good handling race car is not only fast but will get good fuel mileage. This could be a factor in this race.

When analyzing on who will be good here via driver ratings we have to note that we do have one Cup driver interloper, Kasey Kahne, who has limited Nationwide Series stats at Chicagoland. Kyle Larson is also a Cup interloper but he is a rookie in the Cup series, and not in Nationwide.

When looking at the driver ratings, Sam Hornish Jr. seems to have the field covered with a rating of 115.8 over Brian Scott’s rating of 95.1. Remember these ratings, unlike Cup ratings, do not have the same number of races contained in the statistic. In this case it doesn’t really matter. The number 54 car has won four out of 17 races this year including one by Hornish with an average finish of fourth.

However, Hornish needs to worry about hot shoe Kyle Larson and previous Chicagoland winner Elliott Sadler, not to mention Kasey Kahne. Other cars to watch would be those JR Motorsports cars of #7 Regan Smith and #9 Chase Elliott. Ryan Blaney, in last year’s winning car—the #22—will also have a shot at winning.

Sam Hornish Jr’s teammate Erik Jones, who won his first Camping World Truck race last weekend, will be making his first Nationwide Series race this weekend and will also be someone to watch.

This race is one of the Dash4Cash races where an eligible driver can win a $100,000 bonus. The eligible drivers are #7-Regan Smith, #2-Brian Scott, #60-Chris Buescher, and #11-Elliott Sadler. The one who finishes the highest will win the Cash. Regan Smith won the cash last week and is eligible to win an additional $600,000 if he wins the next three Dash4Cash races (Chicagoland, Indianapolis, Iowa).

If you cannot get to Chicagoland Speedway it will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday July 19th at 8 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 288276 Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Rating at Chicagoland Speedway

Car# Driver Average Finish Driver Rating
54 Sam Hornish Jr. 4.8 115.8
2 Brian Scott 9.9 95.1
11 Elliott Sadler 15.7 94.3
6 Trevor Bayne 13.3 91.1
42 Kyle Larson 22 84.8
99 James Buescher 15 81.5
19 Mike Bliss 15.8 79.5
5 Kasey Kahne 21.8 79.3
62 Brendan Gaughan 19 77.5
43 Dakoda Armstrong 15 74

Note: Driver Ratings compiled are all over the map for the Nationwide Series since this series is transient in nature.

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart Needs to Win New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Tony Stewart is Running Out of Time and New Hampshire Might Help

Tony Stewart is 20th place in the standings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. With only eight races left, his only hope to get into Championship contention is to win. It is lucky for Stewart that NASCAR is returning to one of his better tracks; the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a one mile short track, 1.058 miles to be exact. There is 2-7 degrees of banking in the corners and 1 degree in the straight-aways but this is considered to be flat.  The race is 301 laps, or 318.46 miles. The track is unlike others in that it is a true oval. It is very hard to pass at this track so qualifying will be more important than it is at other tracks. 52.6% of the races have been won from a top ten starting position and 73% from a top fifteen starting position.

The well worn out adage that “when summer comes Tony Stewart gets hot” may have some truth to it but this year he better live up to it. Stewart is in 20th place, 30 points out of making the last spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup on points. That is almost one full race. He won’t make it unless he leap frogs the others by winning a race.

Now that we have left Daytona behind we can go back to looking at driver ratings to see how the drivers fare at New Hampshire. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with a great rating of 111 followed by Jeff Gordon 109.2 and of course everyone’s nemesis Jimmie Johnson at 105.8. Putting any one of these three time New Hampshire winners on your fantasy team would be a good plan.

Other drivers to watch would be Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, also three time winners.

This is one tough track and Tony Stewart knows how to get it done.

It’s a big motor deal. With the corners being so tight, you’ve got to put a lot of gear in the car to get it up off the corner. Forward bite is always an issue there too, so it’s hard to get up off the corners.” Stewart added “Then you’ve got long straightaways where you can kind of relax a little bit. Coming into the corners, you use a lot of brake, and it’s hard to not only get the car stopped, but to get it to turn. Then you go through that challenge all over again.

Tony Stewart will have Hendrick power under the hood so he has the “big motor deal” covered. With wins in 2000, 2005, and 2011, he seems to adapt well to winning in different cars and has won on this track in all different types of Sprint Cup cars. Look for Tony Stewart to adapt again and get to victory lane this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

If you cannot get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Camping World RV Sales 301 it will be broadcast on TNT starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 288074 Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Rating at New Hampshire
Tony Stewart……………………….. 111.0
Jeff Gordon………………………… 109.2
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 105.8
Denny Hamlin………………………. 102.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 97.3
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 95.0
Kyle Busch…………………………… 93.1
Ryan Newman……………………….. 92.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 92.4
Kevin Harvick………………………… 91.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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