The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway. Jeff Gordon has been on a roll this season looking for his fifth Championship and is ready for Chicagoland. The Challenger Round for the Chase begins with the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The Chicagoland Speedway is one of the 1.5 mile D shaped ovals which dominate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule. Many people refer to them as cookie cutter tracks but in reality they are all different in one way or another with the exception of being 1.5 mile around. Chicagoland has 18 degrees of banking in all four turns and 11 degrees of banking in the front stretch. The front stretch is more of a big sweeping turn than a straight away. The back straight away has 5 degrees of banking. The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles).
The new format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup includes three rounds of three races each. Four drivers will be eliminated after each round. The three rounds are the Challenger Round, Contender Round and Eliminator Round. Any driver who wins a race automatically advances to the next round which put a big emphasis on Winning. After the last round there will only be four drivers left who will race at Homestead Miami where the highest finisher of the four will win the Championship. The whole goal of the Change in format is to create intense racing.
“Oh, yeah, it’s going to be really, really intense. I think you actually have to try to balance out that intensity to try to make it not too intense for yourself.” Gordon added, “Certainly the first two rounds, everybody has this focus on you got to win, you got to win. That’s not true. You got to be solid. It would be nice to win. We’re going to be going out there to win. You still don’t want to have a big problem. In the past, the problem has taken you completely out of it and it still can in this format.”
Jeff Gordon doesn’t have the best career driver rating at Chicagoland Speedway. His rating of 96.9 is fifth best. Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch all have higher ratings see chart below:
Gordon’s season to date driver rating, which covers every race at every track so far this season, is the best of all drivers. That is a reflection that he is driving better than anyone this season. Brad Keselowski, last week’s winner, leads the point standings but has a slightly lower overall driver rating. Jeff Gordon finished second last week. These two drivers are expected to take their momentum with them into the Chase and throughout all the Rounds right to Homestead.
The weather unlike previous years at Chicagoland is expected to be relatively cold and more importantly dry. The speeds at this track are expected to be higher than ever. If that will add even more intensity to the racing.
If you cannot get to the Chicagoland Speedway for the MyAFibStory.com 400 it will be broadcast on ESPN on Sunday September 14th starting at 1 PM ET.
Feature Photo Credit: 290386 John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images
Top 10 Driver Rating at Chicago
Jimmie Johnson 117.2
Tony Stewart 109.8
Matt Kenseth 105.4
Kyle Busch 102.7
Jeff Gordon 96.9
Kevin Harvick 96.4
Brian Vickers 95.0
Brad Keselowski 93.6
Clint Bowyer 91.4
Carl Edwards 90.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Chicagoland Speedway.
|1. Brad Keselowski||2,012||4||4||103|
|2. Jeff Gordon||2,009||3||2||109.1|
|3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2,009||3||0||98|
|4. Jimmie Johnson||2,009||3||1||99.9|
|5. Joey Logano||2,009||3||1||106.3|
|6. Kevin Harvick||2,006||2||6||106.7|
|7. Carl Edwards||2,006||2||0||82.6|
|8. Kasey Kahne||2,003||1||0||89.9|
|9. Kyle Busch||2,003||1||2||88.9|
|10. Denny Hamlin||2,003||1||2||90|
|11. Kurt Busch||2,003||1||0||87.6|
|12. Aric Almirola||2,003||1||0||73.9|
|13. AJ Allmendinger||2,003||1||0||70.7|
|14. Matt Kenseth||2,000||0||1||92.8|
|15. Greg Biffle||2,000||0||0||81.3|
|16. Ryan Newman||2,000||0||0||84.7|