The rest of the season starts Sunday. Race one in the Chase for the Sprint Cup will try and take center stage this weekend as it clearly has not been the talk of the garage. 13 drivers will embark on their championship pursuits and having a good race is an integral part of winning the title. One slip up at Chicagoland Speedway could cost any driver their hopes for the rest of the Chase. With so much on the line, anything can and will happen.
The GEICO 400 will go green on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at around 2:16 PM ET. Each one of the 267 laps and 400.5 miles will matter in determining who gets a crucial jump on this year’s Chase. Sunday afternoon’s weather forecast calls for a 40% chance of storms with the high temperature being around 63 F. You can watch the race on ESPN or listen to it on MRN.
Last season’s champion, Brad Keselowski, started the Chase off on the right foot last September at Chicagoland. He took the checkered flag on his way to claiming the championship. He showed that a good start to the Chase is just as important as a good middle and end. Every race matters in the playoffs and whichever driver dreams of hoisting the Cup must have a great day on the track each and every week.
A few different names on the entry list this weekend include Cole Whitt and Justin Allgaier. Both usually run the Nationwide Series events, but opportunity to go Cup racing this weekend arose. Whitt will begin an end of the season stint with Swan Racing while Allgaier makes his debut with the Harry Scott Jr.’s newest team, Phoenix Racing. This is the first of many races each will run in the final ten weeks.
The drivers that didn’t reach victory lane prior to the Chase will need to perform this weekend. They have the greatest deficit to overcome while the Chasers with a win don’t have as much catching up to do. Looking out for Kevin Harvick on Sunday will be important since he is the only Chase contender with multiple victories at Chicago. Kyle Busch could also be one to watch for since he was the last of the Chasers to visit victory lane in the Windy City.
Following a week of madness with a 400 miler will be the perfect storm. Richmond will circulate discussion throughout the Chase, but getting to the Chase races will be something everyone wants. The real contenders will emerge in the championship fight come Sunday afternoon. We can’t forget the other 30 drivers though since their goal of upsetting the Chase field will come into play as well. If this season could get any wilder, it will this weekend. The Chase is beginning and each week we will inch closer to crowing the champion.
Next Race- Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH
By Jason Schultz