NASCAR

Chicagoland a snapshot of the Chase

Chase On
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and Kevin Harvick (29) are both among the Chase group.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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Chicago this weekend is the start of the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The best 12 drivers in our sport will be on display and racing for the title. These are going to be the best cars driven by the best drivers in our sport.

IT ADDS UP

Where did your favorite driver finish in the 2013 final standings?

This is the point in the season that the fans and naturally those in the Chase have been waiting for since the start of testing in January in Daytona. It all comes down to this – 12 drivers – 10 races – one champion.

I am expecting a great battle out of our top 12 drivers right out of the box this weekend. At the same time, there are still 10 races to go for the other 31 drivers who are not in the Chase. Drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr, our defending champion Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray and others still will be trying to put a win or two up on the board.

Just because the format and the media are going to give 99 percent of the focus to the 12 drivers in the Chase, there are still plenty of drivers out there with a season to finish, a sponsor to impress and maybe an owner to impress for a job in 2014.

For the Chase contenders, this weekend at Chicago is one of five Chase stops on a mile-and-a-half size track, so I believe we are going to see pretty quickly who has done their homework and who wants this championship.

You’ve heard all of us say this week that this is the first time in a long time that the Chase is wide open. There isn’t a clear-cut dominate car, so I am excited to see who steps to the front.
 

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