Tag Archives: MyAFibStory.com 400

Brad Keselowski and Paul Wolfe Put Together a Championship Effort at Chicagoland

Brad Keselowski wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway the first race of the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Keselowski will automatically move on to the next Round, the Contender Round, in the Chase because of this win.

Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag in the MyAFibStory.com 400.  He led 46 laps and looked to be a factor in the race until green flag pit stops at lap 148 put him back to tenth.

We were superfast early, superfast when the track was green and we were out front and we could run second or third and didn’t have a gaggle of cars around you.”  Busch added, “But anytime I got in aero situations, man it just kills me.  I don’t know what I have to do to get there.  Each restart, the farther back you get there, it hurts you. He was not able to drive back to the front after that but was able to salvage a sixth place finish.

Brad Keselowski started the race 25th due to the rain out of qualifying. They worked on the car during the two practices Saturday and got it better but when the race started it just took off.  By lap 64 he made it up to tenth and during the caution on lap 66 they took two tires to get to fifth.

Another caution flag and round of pit stops on lap 98 and Brad Keselowski was in second. He was able to take the lead from there only to have potential disaster strike during another pit stop under caution for debris on lap 181.

The rear tire changer stood up and informed crew chief Paul Wolfe that he felt he didn’t get a lug nut tight leaving the potential for a loose wheel. Wolfe calmly called Keselowski back to pit road under caution opting not to risk disaster.

We had the issue on pit road.  Got us a little bit behind.  But it was good that the issue we had, we came down and fixed it before we went back green.  The changer felt like he didn’t get ’em tight.” Wolfe added, “I think that was key, that he stood up and said, I feel like we’re going to have a loose wheel here.  To come in and fix that under yellow was much less of a penalty than if we got going green and had a vibration.  That was key there to being able to overcome that loose wheel. From there, we saw we had pretty good speed in our car all day.

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was so fast that Keselowski was able to not only recover but drive back to the top five. There was another caution on lap 244. Keselowski restarted fourth behind Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon the other cars that were the class of the field. Keselowski was able to pass Gordon but wasn’t able to catch Larson and Harvick.

Larson and Harvick were battling side by side for several laps allowing Keselowski to drive up to them. Keselowski made the most impossible looking move by driving right between them to the lead. He then survived a late restart to win the race.

Keselowski said, “We were able to take advantage with that on the restarts, get up to third. I just saw a hole and I went for it.  The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do.  It just opened a hole.  I didn’t know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try it.  I tried it, it did.  That got us into the lead. Even that was going to be close.  I think the 42 was quite a bit faster as the long run went.  We got that yellow.  Things evened out.  We were able to take advantage from there.

Brad Keselowski, Paul Wolfe and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team showed the type of effort that it will take to win a Championship. They let the whole garage know they mean business and that it is no gimmick. To keep their heads and stay on their game in spite of potential problems is what it takes.

Roger Penske explained how important the team effort was best. “Today, as Paul said, the real winner today is the young man that changes the rear tire, put his hand up and said, Hey, I screwed up, the wheel might be loose.  Paul had the guts to say on the radio, We’re not going to go out and run to find out, we’re coming in now.

Jeff Gordon was second followed by Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick. Kyle Larson was the highest finishing rookie.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 301568 Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kyle Busch will start the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Up Front

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is Sunday, September 14th. Kyle Busch will start the race at the pole putting himself and his team in a great position to start the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Sprint Cup Series had one practice at Chicagoland Speedway before qualifying for MyAFibStory.com 400. A few hours after practice rain came to the speedway washing out Camping World Truck Series Qualifying and the last Nationwide Series practice. Unfortunately it stuck around to wash out Cup Qualifying. The starting order will be set by the NASCAR Rule Book.

Kyle Busch led the first and only Sprint Cup Series practice with a speed of 191.442. He beat Ryan Newman by six hundredths of a second. They will share the front row for Sunday’s race. Carl Edwards will start right behind them. All three of them are starting in a great position for the first race in the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Most of the top teams spent practice in qualifying trim expecting rain to wash out qualifying. Though Kyle Bush didn’t specifically state it, it appears that he did. They all wanted to start up front but more importantly get the best pit stalls in order to make their race the best it can be.

Busch said, “Having a good time there in practice means a lot, but there’s obviously a lot of things that need to happen in the race this weekend for us and getting off to a good start and being able to carry that into the next 10 weeks.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start fourth followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson. Larson is the highest qualifying rookie.

There will be two practices on Saturday in much different conditions today so the drivers and teams will have ample time to adjust their cars from the qualifying set up of today.

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.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 301507 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

Richard Petty and Eckrich Support Operation Homefront at Chicagoland

Aric Almirola made his first NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup but before he took to the track at the Chicagoland Speedway his team honored a Retired Army Veteran.

A replica of the No. 43 Eckrich Ford drove up and greeted Veteran Army Specialist Raymond Goss and his family in front of a local Jewel-Osco store. Inside the car were VIP tickets to join the No. 43 race team this weekend complete with authentic crew uniforms and hats. Not only cool, but a NASCAR race fan’s dream.

The Goss family was also presented with a year’s supply of groceries from Jewel-Osco. While celebrating their win none other than Richard Petty himself drove around the store in a new Ford Fusion. He pulled up to the family and gave the car to them.

I am just overwhelmed, I just can’t believe that Eckrich and Richard Petty gave my family a new car.  Who can say that? I don’t think too many people and it’s something that I’ll never forget.” Goss added, “It means a lot when a company like Eckrich remembers veterans like myself and do something special.  We’re just really grateful for Eckrich, Jewel-Osco and Richard Petty. We’re now fans for life.

Friday’s event is part of the continued Eckrich “Operation Inspiration” campaign, which supports and honors military families.  Eckrich is in its third year of partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit which provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Eckrich has already raised more than $750,000 in donations for the charity.

The No. 43 Eckrich Ford driven by Aric Almirola at Chicagoland Speedway will have the names of 120 military families on the hood and sides of the car this weekend at Chicagoland as part of Operation Homefront.

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.

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

Feature Photo Credit: Brad Schloss Photography

Jeff Gordon is Ready for Intense Racing at Chicagoland Speedway

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.

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

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.

Season
Rank Season Driver
Driver Points Wins Poles Rating
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

 

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Starts at Chicagoland

NASCAR doesn’t visit the Chicago area often. This weekend all three of the top NASCAR series comes to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet Illinois for three days of racing.

Friday night, the Camping World Truck Series races under the lights for the Lucas Oil 225. The weather is expected to be cold in Joliet at race time but with no threat of rain it will be perfect for racing. In fact because of the cold weather the speeds will be some of the fastest the Truck Series has run there. Wisconsin native, Johnny Sauter followed by perennial Truck Driver Matt Crafton are at the top of the standings and are expected to run well. They have their work cut out for them as Kyle Busch and teammate Darrell Wallace Jr., who have won half the races this season, will both be in the race.

Saturday afternoon, the Nationwide Series takes to the track for the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Powered By Coca-Cola. Rookie driver and three time winner, Chase Elliott leads the standings and is expected to contend for the win. He also has his work cut out for him because many Sprint Cup regular drivers are interloping in this Series because they are at the same track. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch have won seven races combined in this series out of 25 races.

Sunday afternoon in the MyAFibStory.com 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has the spot light nationwide because this race is the start to the prestigious Chase for the Sprint Cup. This year sixteen drivers are contending for the Championship. In order of their seeding, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola, A.J. Allmendinger, Matt Kenseth, and Ryan Newman. The first seven of these drivers have won multiple races this season and stand to figure prominently at Chicagoland.

One cannot win the Championship at Chicagoland but one can lose it. This year four drivers will be eliminated from contention after the third race in the Chase. Essentially if any one of the sixteen drivers does not run well at Chicagoland they risk certain elimination after the Series leaves Dover Delaware.

Look for many show cars and driver appearances around the Chicago area prior to the events at the speedway in Joliet. NASCAR will be everywhere.

The weather is expected to be cool and dry which should lead to some of the fastest racing the Chicagoland Speedway has ever seen. Tickets are still available. Visit http://www.chicagolandspeedway.com to find out more.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 290409 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images