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Brad Keselowski Wins Geico 400
Brad Keselowski didn’t have the strongest or fastest car early on, but his crew gave him awesome pits stops, allowing the Dodge driver to pull away from Pole Sitter Jimmie Johnson to claim the first win in the “Chase for the Sprint Cup”
One down, 9 to go for Keselowski.
"It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout," said Keselowski, who took the series points lead for the first time in his career. "It's a 10-round bout. Week one's done. We might have won the round, but we didn't by any means knock 'em out.
"We've got a lot of racing left to go. We're feeling good about today, but (we) know that we have a lot of work to do."
Keselowski would pull away to win by 3.171 seconds over Johnson, who led a race-high 172 laps but couldn't catch Keselowski during the last green-flag run.
What would a NASCAR race be without a little controversy? Ask Jimmie Johnson and winner Keselowski.
Johnson would claim that Keselowski was driving too aggressively, "He did cut up early," Johnson said. "It did impede my progress. I had to check up and wasn't sure where things were going. But it didn't affect the outcome, I don't believe.
"The way he made quick work of traffic and stretched it out on me, I'm not sure I would have held him off. At the time, it messed me up, but I don't think it played (a part in the) outcome in the race."
Keselowski thought he was well within the spirit and letter of the law in re-entering off Turn 2. And he was.
"There is no enforced line like you see in other sports, and that's not a bad thing," Keselowski said. "That's just one more thing to monitor during the race. But it's certainly a, I don't want to say a gentlemen's agreement, it's a policy of merging down the backstretch, off of Turn 2, I think it said specifically in the driver's meeting, and I feel like that's what we did.
"You can make rules that count it down to the inches and just make it a pain in the [neck] for everybody that participates in the sport, or you can just have a rule like we do, and I felt like I was inside those guidelines."
From elation of Richmond, to the disappointment at Chicago
Jeff Gordon was all smiles all week and prior to the race. There was lots of chatter and talk about Jeff growing a moustache, I guess it was a challenge for him, but now the biggest challenge lies ahead. Gordon looked strong most of the race, moving through the field, then disaster struck. "I just let off the throttle, and it just didn't come all the way back," Gordon said as his crew tried to repair the car. "It was probably about half-throttle, which is still enough to do a lot of damage. We're looking at what the issue is right now, what could have caused it.
"We'll get back out, but in this deal you can't afford to have issues like that."
Gordon, the last driver in the Chase as the second wild card, finished 35th and more than likely fell out of the championship chase.
Tough day for the Blue Oval at Chicagoland
Matt Kenseth dropped back drastically during the latter part of a run, his team prepared to change a right front shock absorber, but then Jeff Gordon crashed on Lap 188, when the throttle of the No. 24 Chevrolet stuck as he entered Turn 1 and the car slammed the outside wall. This would give the Roush team time to fix Kenseth’s car.
“A shock fell off I guess. I guess it didn’t get tight. We had a brake line get loose at Bristol and a shock fall off today so obviously we have to get to the bottom of that. He was asked about the cause and effect of the races today.. I don’t think today has anything to do with next week and going on but we have to do a better job. We didn’t have a very fast car to start with. We had a real good qualifying lap and good track position and thought we could maybe sneak out a top-10 which isn’t nearly good enough but it would still keep you in the game. When we had that problem we got so far behind, thankfully we were able to stay on the lead lap. I was in the back and couldn’t go anywhere. My car just wasn’t fast enough.”
The Pits can make or break it for a driver…
For Biffle it would be a late race bad break.. “We were really going good there at the end and we did our last stop and the car just went bad. It just got way too loose and we were hooking the bottom. I don’t even really know what happened. We were driving up through there and the car was getting better and better and it never fails – the last stop of the day we put our tires on and it went bad.” Biffle would be the highest finishing Ford, 13th place.
Kenseth salvaged an 18th-place finish but fell to 11th in the standings, 26 points behind Keselowski and 21 ahead of Gordon in 12th. Defending champion Tony Stewart ran sixth and sits third in points, seven ahead of Denny Hamlin (16th Sunday after running out of fuel in the closing laps), Kahne was third and Clint Bowyer finished tenth.
How excited was Keselowski on winning the first race of the chase?
On his way to Victory Lane, Keselowski seemed to get lost, making a wrong turn into a swarm of fans gathered behind Victory Circle.. His car was spewing hot water out of the vent behind the hood. Track officials quickly would point him in the right direction, the celebration was on.
Keselowski heads New Hampshire with his first points lead in his Sprint Cup career.
The rest of Sprint Cup Series heads to the “Magic Mile” in New Hampshire as well this week for the second race of the Chase, another challenge for the teams and drivers in their quest for the Cup.
Photo Gallery Geico 400
Michael Waltrip Racing Unviels 2013 Toyota Camry that Clint Bowyer will drive beginning at Daytona in February 2013
Jimmiw Johnson Wins Pole for Geico 400
Jimmie Johnson won the Pole for the 12th annual Gieco 400 with a lap of 182.865 mph.
With the pole, Johnson now has 27 poles in 390 MASCAR Sprint Cup races. He now moves into a tie for 24th all-time with Terry Labonte.
Johnson now has two poles this season ant the 19th top-10 start in 2012. He earned the ploe in Kentucky earlier this year.
Johnson now has two poles at Chicagoland Speedway. He won the Pole for the 2005 race.
2011 Chicagoland Speedway
Winless no more. Tony Stewart Wins 1st Race of the Chase
Victory Lane Photo By Mark Rotor
Photo Gallery from Monday's Race
Double Duty working just fine For Keselowski
With a full schedule of double-duty, Brad Keselowski, won Saturday’s Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in a prelude to his debut Sunday in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Keselowski won his third Nationwide race of the season and the 15th of his career, cruising to a decisive victory over Carl Edwards, whose chances at a victory evaporated when his No. 60 Ford ran out of fuel moments before a scheduled pit stop on Lap 124 of 200.
A day of firsts for Penske Racing
Today’s victory is Keselowski’s first win at Chicagoland Speedway. He is the first driver to win from a front-row start in 12 Chicagoland races
Penske Racing got its 20th career win, fourth win of 2011 and first win at Chicagoland.
Polesitter Brian Scott came home third, followed by Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. in a race that saw 10 cars finish on the lead lap. Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. held the top spot in the standings with an eighth-place finish.
Keselowski, who qualified sixth for the Cup race before taking the green later in the afternoon, held a 10-second lead over Edwards after a round of green-flag pit stops late in the race and cruised through the final 30 laps.
"It’s a great booster to get a win before going into the Chase," Keselowski said. "It was great execution today. That’s what it takes to win right now. Our Dodges are fast, and today we just executed really well and did what it takes."
Asked what might carry over into Sunday’s Cup race, Keselowski said, "There’s always the confidence—that’s the biggest thing."
Practicing for the Chase
During the early and middle portions of the race, Keselowski and Edwards—the only Chase drivers in the field—took turns dominating.
Keselowski wrested the lead from Scott on Lap 2 and stayed out front—with the exception of one lap under caution—until Edwards passed him in traffic on Lap 90.
"I’m going to take every one of those freakin’ lapped cars and wreck ’em," Keselowski vented, after one of the back markers failed to give him a lane to pass and facilitated Edwards’ move to the lead.
By the time Keselowski made a green-flag pit stop for tires and fuel on Lap 115, Edwards had extended his advantage to three seconds. Edwards waited until Lap 124 to pit—one lap too long, as it turned out.
Another Fuel Issue for Edwards
For Edwards, it was like ground hog day.. This past June Edwards was on track for a sure victory in the STP 300, Then his Ford Mustang ran out of fuel on the backstretch giving the victory to Justin Allgaier.
Edwards ran out of fuel on the way to his pit stall, and by the time the crew completed his service and his engine refired, he was nine seconds behind Keselowski and in fifth place when the cycle of stops was complete.
Charging Carl, too little to late
Edwards began to chip away at Keselowski’s advantage, narrowing the margin to 6.188 seconds by Lap 141. Later in the run, however, Edwards’ charge stalled, and on Lap 155, he was running third behind Keselowski and Scott, 5.635 seconds behind the leader.
"They told me to pit, and I was coming down the back straightaway, and I ran out of fuel," Edwards said. "So it took us a little longer in the pits. The guys did a really good job of keeping it running and got us back out there, and then we had a really long green-flag run (131 laps).
"I think our car was fast enough. I would have really liked the opportunity to go up there and race Brad. We just didn’t get that caution."
For Edwards and Roush, it will be wait until next year. Roush racing is winless at the Chicagoland Speedway. The odds are that Roush racing will end their drought in Chicago long before the Chicago Cubs do.
Keselowski takes a moment with a special fan
Brad Keselowski showed just how fan friendly NASCAR drivers can be on Saturday. After making a second place qualifying run, Brad took several moments to pose with a fan.
One thing can be said of Brad, he has matured and is becoming a great ambassador for NASCAR.
Austin Dillon Brings the #3 to Victory Lane Friday at the Fast 5 225.
Photos By Dan Peters
With a two-tire call on a late-race pit stop, Austin Dillon stole Friday night’s Fast Five 225 Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway from Kevin Harvick, who had dominated the event until the last round of stops.
Dillon won his second race of the season and the fourth of his career. Harvick came home second, almost five seconds back. Nelson Piquet Jr., Parker Kligerman and Kyle Busch completed the top five.
"This is the biggest win of my career, I think," Dillon, 21, said in victory lane. "I ran up there, racing with Kyle and Harvick. Harvick was great all night, but (crew chief Danny) Stockman made the call at the end to put us out on two tires.
"He knows when I get out front it’s like smelling blood for a shark. When we got out there, we could just take off. The team—they kept gaining spots every time we came on pit road. I love coming on pit road when they’re like that. It’s awesome."
Dillon moved up two spots in the series standings to second and trimmed 11th-place finisher James Buescher’s lead to three points. Johnny Sauter, who finished sixth, is six points back in third.
Harvick had led 99 laps by the time he came to pit road for his final stop on Lap 129 of 150.
Harvick took four tires, a decision necessitated by a vibration Harvick’s truck picked up during a green-flag run of 42 laps. That decision allowed Busch (who pitted on Lap 130 and took two tires) and Dillon (who came to pit road on Lap 131) to cycle out ahead of Harvick.
As Busch and Harvick battled for the second position, Dillon began to pull away, opening a lead of more than 4.7 seconds over Harvick with seven laps left.
"That definitely dictated a four-tire call," Harvick said of the vibration. "On the caution before (on Lap 84) we didn’t take any tires, so we had about 22 more laps on our tires. When you have a vibration like that, you want to win the race, but in the big picture—and the even bigger picture on Sunday (in the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race)—we don’t need to blow a tire and have something happen.
"So when it got to the point of shaking bad enough to where I knew something was changing, I just came in and changed four tires. I knew at that point, they (Dillon and Busch) were going to do the opposite, but we had to change four."
Kurt Busch, Chicago’s Adopted Son, Visits Children’s Hospital.
A huge Cubs fan, Kurt Busch was the perfect fit for Chicagoland Speedway’s portion of Chase Media Week. Busch visited Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, coloring books, signing t-shirts and, for one young girl, signing a cast. Busch also went through his own media run, with hits on Showtime’s Inside NASCAR, ESPN’s NASCAR Now and a Dodge teleconference with print outlets.
He will continue his media tour tomorrow with appearances on local affiliates WGN, WLS and a hit on ESPN Radio. During Tuesday’s interviews, Busch focused his attention on the Chase, and not the ongoing feud with Jimmie Johnson that sparked up again at Richmond. Said Busch: "We are on offense moving forward. We are not on defense.
I am not worried about what happened at Richmond, because we have 10 weeks ahead of us to put ourselves in position for this championship."
Mike Wallace's Chevrolet Carries the Special Cowboys and Aliens Paint Scheme at Chicagoland Sppedway
Photos By Dan Peters
How well do you know your track?
In conjunction with celebrating our 10th Anniversary, we've selected 10 photos to represent each year we've been racing!
Go now and view the images of Chicagoland Speedway's history and identify the appropriate year. If you've match the photo with the correct year, you will be entered to win the best seats in the house VIP September Weekend Package.
Don't match all the photos to the years correctly, that's ok, you will be placed into a separate drawing to win tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
Just a friendly reminder, new to this season we have wider bench seating, more restrooms, coolers allowed, single day tickets and much more!
Click here to play!
Good luck to all.
Kevin Harvick has his eyes on the sky... and for good reason. Moments later a heavy rain cancelled qualifying
Stenhouse Jr Ends Roush-Fenway Drought at Chicagoland Speedway.. Wins Dollar General 300
With the victory today, Stenhouse, Jr now has 7 wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
This is his fifth victory and 20th top-10 finish in 2012.
This is the first win for Roush-Fenway Racing at Chicagoland Speedway in any of the three NASCAR national series.
"This is cool. I felt like we should have been here last time. It is goodto get redemption after a dominating performance last time. We didn't have a dominating car until that last run. Mike kept making good calls and I put us a little behind stalling on pit road. We had to driveup to the front but Mike gave us a Blue Bird Mustang that could do it. I have to thank all the fans for coming out. It was a lot of fun out there today."
Austin Dillon finished third and posted his second top ten finish in two races at Chicagoland. Dillon was also the highest finishing rookie of the race.
Stenhouse Jr leaves Chicagoland with a 9 point lead over Elliott Sadler.
Double-duty driver Kyle Busch lead the race several times and seemed to have the car to beat, but finished second. This was Busch's fifth top-ten finish in nine races at Chicagoland, and his eighth top-10 finish of 2012.
Danica Patrick finished 12th
Joey Lagono Claims Pole
Dollar General 300 Photo Gallery September 15, 2012
Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole for the 12th annual Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca Cola with a lap of 30.335 seconds, 178.012 mph
2012 Chicagoland Speedway Photo Gallery
Elliott Sadler overcomes virus, Wins STP 300 at Chicagoland
July 22, 2012
In sickness or in health, a driver must overcome many hurdles to win, and Elliott Sadler did just that. Sadler went from sickness to Victory Lane, rallying late in the race to win Sunday's STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Sadler, also won the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash bonus for the victory. Sadler battled a stomach virus for the previous three days, at one point spending 36 hours in bed. When he arrived at the track Saturday, he felt the worst was behind him and was ready to practice and then race on Sunday.
"I'm still not 100 percent, but it feels good to win here in Chicago," Sadler said. "My wife and I came here with another couple, which also happens to be my doctor, and we had to put him to work.
"Man, what a day. I have been sick with a bug for the past three days, but this win makes me feel a lot better. It feels so good to be able to be in Victory Lane for the third time this season, and it is great to be able to get Hunt Brothers Pizza a win. We knew we had a good car on the long runs, but we knew we had work to do on the short runs. Luke [Lambert] made a great call at the end with adjustments, and at the end of the day, it was all about track position, and our car was really fast out front. I'm really proud of my guys, who stuck with me knowing that I wasn't feeling great all weekend. I'm a little worn out, but I'd rather be worn out in Victory Lane than anywhere else. "We drank a lot of fluids and I had to have a few IVs just to stay hydrated."
"It was a big win, we won the Dash 4 Cash ($100,000 bonus), we kept our lead in the points and we go now to Indianapolis next week for the first-ever Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
Giving a helping “Push’ to victory
Justin Allgaier gave Sadler a nice bump on the last restart and a big assist to Sadler's win. Allgaier blocked runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. several times in the green-white-checkered finish that turned the scheduled 200-lap event into a 201-lap finish.
"We were trying to get to Elliott and working both the high and low line," said Allgaier, who won this race last season. "At the end, we just couldn't hold off Ricky, but I'm very proud of this Brandt Chevy team and what we were able to do today."
Allgaier made a bid on the second-to-last lap to overtake Sadler, but didn't have a strong enough car. While he held off Stenhouse as long as he could, Allgaier eventually yielded to the pole-sitter.
Stenhouse didn't have enough in his car to pass Sadler. Stenhouse had dominated much of the race, including winning the pole earlier Sunday.
The final battle to the finish line was set up when, with seven laps remaining, Sam Hornish Jr. tapped the rear of Kyle Busch's car, sending it careening into Brendan Gaughan and putting both vehicles into the wall, bringing out the caution. While it was a tough break for both Gaughan and Busch, the incident was the best thing to happen for Stenhouse, as it set up a two-lap drag race to the checkered flag.
"I feel real bad about it," Hornish said. "I looked down because it looked like one of our hood pins was coming loose, then I looked up and got right into the back of Kyle's car. I get along real well with Kyle and, while he had already gotten on his plane and flown out, I apologized to (team manager) Rick Ren and also apologized to Brendan."
Busch finished 27th while Gaughan wound up right behind in 28th.
No so “Sweet” for Stenhouse
Stenhouse's bid for the victory was hurt when Brad Sweet spun for the second time in the race with 33 laps remaining, Stenhouse was caught on pit lane as the caution flag fell, dropping him from first to 10th when the race returned to green flag conditions.
Sadler assumed the lead at that point and never yielded in the remainder of the event.
"We were in the right place at the right time," Sadler said. "Ricky had the strongest car all day, but we kept working at it and eventually got into the right position.
Stenhouse got a great jump on the restart, rode around the track on the high line and began his quest to regain the lead, passing six cars and gaining three spots in the following two laps. He halved Sadler's two-second lead to just one in seven laps and the pole-sitter appeared as if he would finish off what he started, but it was not to be.
Stenhouse would lead 135 of the 201 laps, while Sadler led 35.
Allgaier finished third, followed by an outstanding run by series veteran Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett.
Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Hornish, Cole Whitt and Ryan Truex.
Danica Patrick finished 14th, the last car on the lead lap.
The points standings stayed the same, with Sadler remaining atop the Nationwide hill. He leads Austin Dillon by 11 points, followed by Stenhouse (19 points back), Hornish (minus-42) and Allgaier (minus-78).
1. (15) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 201, $88,468.
2. (1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 201, $75,593.
3. (16) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 201, $43,468.
4. (11) Kenny Wallace, Toyota, 201, $26,950.
5. (14) Michael Annett, Ford, 201, $31,043.
6. (2) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 201, $30,343.
7. (5) Parker Kligerman, Dodge, 201, $27,203.
8. (3) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 201, $26,713.
9. (8) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 201, $24,618.
10. (9) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 201, $24,943.
11. (6) Brian Scott, Toyota, 201, $23,368.
12. (7) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 201, $23,018.
13. (22) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 201, $22,293.
14. (13) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 201, $21,768.
15. (18) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 200, $22,093.
16. (24) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 200, $21,893.
17. (32) Travis Pastrana, Toyota, 200, $23,768.
18. (25) Timmy Hill, Ford, 200, $21,043.
19. (21) Brad Sweet, Chevrolet, 200, $20,918.
20. (28) Josh Richards, Ford, 199, $15,000.
21. (12) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 199, $20,668.
22. (27) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199, $20,518.
23. (17) Jason Bowles, Toyota, 198, $20,368.
24. (19) Eric McClure, Toyota, 198, $20,243.
25. (30) Tayler Malsam, Toyota, 197, $20,578.
26. (35) Tanner Berryhill, Toyota, 194, $13,500.
27. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 193, $14,100.
28. (10) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, Accident, 192, $19,643.
29. (20) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 192, $13,050.
30. (26) Erik Darnell, Chevrolet, 179, $19,668.
31. (36) Benny Gordon, Chevrolet, Transmission, 60, $12,770.
32. (33) Danny Efland, Chevrolet, Engine, 47, $12,635.
33. (37) Tim Schendel, Chevrolet, Engine, 28, $12,525.
34. (41) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 19, $12,415.
35. (40) Matt Carter, Chevrolet, Handling, 18, $12,310.
36. (29) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Ignition, 14, $12,275.
37. (39) Tim Andrews, Ford, Rear Gear, 13, $12,240.
38. (38) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, Vibration, 13, $12,186.
39. (42) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, Overheating, 12, $12,070.
40. (34) Chase Miller, Chevrolet, Vibration, 11, $12,030.
41. (31) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, Clutch, 6, $11,965.
42. (43) Carl Long, Chevrolet, Overheating, 4, $11,935.
43. (23) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 4, $11,887
Two words describe the upcoming 10 races, in both driving style and championship handicapping: Wide open.
A 26-race regular season that brought us 15 different winners and five first-time victors, now offers up 12 championship contenders. These 12 – the best-of-the-best – will compete over the next 10 races, at 10 different tracks, in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
It all begins this Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, a fitting spot to kick-off NASCAR’s playoff. Chicago, one of the biggest sports towns in the country, knows big events. And this is one of the biggest on a busy NASCAR calendar.
Green flag for Sunday’s Chase-opening GEICO 400 is set for 2 p.m. ET.
Carl Edwards poses with a fan after driver introductions on Sunday
The weekend starts with the Truck Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing kicks off the triple-header weekend with Friday night’s Fast Five 225. New points leader James Buescher looks to defend his top spot for the first time.
On Saturday afternoon, the NASCAR Nationwide Series runs the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola. Illinois-native Justin Allgaier looks to complete the sweep of his home track.
Mighty Chase Field Gives Championship Wide Open Feel.
Allgaier wins at Chicagoland Speedway, runs out of gas coming to the checkered flag
Local favorite Justin Allgaier led only one lap, the final one and snatched victory from Roush driver Carl Edwards. Roush racing is still looking for a victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet
Edwards Pit Strategy fails.
Crew chief Mike Beam made a gamble for fuel only on the last pit stop. It nearly worked.
I thought I'd saved about a lap of fuel," Edwards said. "With five or six laps to go, Justin really started coming, so I laid it down."
And he ran out just before the entrance to Turn 3 on the 200th and final lap. Allgaier was wide-eyed at the sight.
"Coming off Turn 2, I didn't know if I'd have the time to catch him," Allgaier said. "Then he started wiggling, and I got a big grin."
Allgaier drew even, and as he did, his engine went silent. It was a coast to the finish, and Allgaier would win it. He led only the final lap, and only about seven-tenths of a mile of it.
"We were on power another 100 feet, and that was the difference," Allgaier said.
Nationwide Practice & Photos from Chicagoland Speedway Friday June 3, 2011
Danica Patrick Returns To NASCAR
Practice Photos from Chicagoland Speedway Friday June 3, 2011
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