FOX Sports Exclusive
Mid-pack Attack: Joliet in July
Jeff Burton finished 11th last week, moved up one spot in the standings and is closing in on making the Chase list. He only has one top 10 in four Chicagoland Cup races, but in three Busch Series starts at the track, he finished 3rd each time. This will be his first trip to the Illinois track with the Richard Childress Racing team.
Matt Kenseth is on a roll with a 4th, 11th and a 9th in the last three Cup races. Chicagoland has been good to the Roush Racing driver. With an average finish of 11.2 in the Cup Series and a 16.0 in Busch, we expect Kenseth to move further up in the standings after Sunday.
Robby Gordon is the only mid-packer who was running at the finish of all four Chicagoland Cup races and on the lead lap in three events. He had two top 10s as well. Gordon started 10th in last year's Busch race here and finished 6th. He won't be a Chase contender this season, but he's a good fantasy value in most games.
Kyle Busch had two rough weekends in the Cup series but had three consecutive top 10s in the prior races. This weekend, he's pulling the Chicagoland double-header, and it could go either way. Busch scored a 12th-place finish last year in his only Busch race here and will be debuting in the Cup Series.
Around the TrackIn 1999, NASCAR's Bill France, Jr. and Tony George, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, along with the owners of the Route 66 Raceway formed Raceway Associates. Their intent was to build the Chicagoland Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval racetrack, to host NASCAR and IRL events. The first Cup race held in 2001 was won by Kevin Harvick driving the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Harvick won at the Joliet, Ill. track the following year as well. The difference between this track and the other 1.5-mile D-shaped ovals at Las Vegas, Kansas, Texas and Lowe's is that the backstretch is slightly curved rather than a straightaway. This gives the drivers a feeling of turning left the entire race.
Anthony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at RotoWorld.com.