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.