2018 NASCAR Preview: Week 17 – Chicagoland

Dale Jr. and NBC take the reigns from FOX for the rest of the season, can Truex do the same of Harvick?

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Chicagoland is set in Joliet, IL, and has been a staple of the Chase / Playoffs for the past few years.  It gets moved a bit north on the schedule this season, making room for a second Las Vegas date.  Interestingly, this track is similar in layout (but not in attendance) to The Diamond in the Desert; a 1.5-mile tri-oval, with 18 degrees in the turns vs. 20 out west.  As far as identity goes, it’s been all over the place on sponsorship. Ninja Turtles the past two years, AFibRisk websites before that, and now we’re off to Overton’s for this 400-miler.  Will this sponsor and this date stick?  We shall see.

Here’s what to look for:

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Martin Truex Jr is slimed in victory lane after winning at Chicagoland Speedway in 2017. (Photo – Brian Lawdermilk / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr has found his swing, winner of two of the last three races.  He won this race last year, too, all good news for the Mayetta, NJ native.  He’s got three wins on the season, can he knock down a few more?

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 - Practice

12 Questions with Chase Elliott / JeffGluck.com (Photo – Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott’s two starts here have left him with a 2.5 average finish, coming home 2nd in 2017.  He’s been runner-up far too many times than he cares to admit–  ..I won’t finish that thought.  Go get ’em, Chase!

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Kyle Larson off to Chicago care of Cessna (Photo – @KyleLarsonRacin)

Kyle Larson has three Top 10s in four attempts, and an 8.2 average finish.  Ryan Blaney is better on that number (7.5), very interested to see who does better of these two, head-to-head.

MyAFibStory.com 400

JOLIET, IL – SEPTEMBER 14: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski carries a 9.2 average finish here, and two wins to boot.  We talk about this track being similar to Vegas, but it also shares close comparisons with Kentucky, a track we see in two weeks.  He’s got three wins there, and the success on each feeds the other.

Tropicana 400

JOLIET, IL – JULY 14: Kevin Harvick is doused with orange juice on July 14, 2002 after winning the NASCAR Winston Cup Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick has two wins here (wayyy back in 2001 and 2002), and took home the Las Vegas race earlier this year, too.  He carries nine Top 5s in 17 runs, the most of any active driver.

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JOLIET, IL – SEPTEMBER 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Sweet Heat Toyota, leads the field to the green flag during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 17, 2017 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 2:30pm on Sunday, green flag scheduled for 2:46pm.

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