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Cowabunga! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to sponsor Chicagoland race
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Chicagoland Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello are back! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nickelodeon return to Chicagoland Speedway this September as entitlement sponsor for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff opener. This marks Nickelodeon's second consecutive year wearing the sponsor hat at the Illinois track. The pair made the Nickelodeon Tales of the Turtles 400 announcement Friday, coming off a wildly successful 2016 partnership and campaign. The news coincided nicely with National Superhero Day. "We're thrilled that Nickelodeon is coming back with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise as the entitlement partner of our playoff kickoff on Sunday, Sept. 17," Chicagoland track president Scott Paddock told NASCAR.com. Nickelodeon also joined NASCAR in 2015's SpongeBob SquarePants 400, which saw Jimmie Johnson collect his third win at Kansas Speedway . Last year's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 -- which Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. won -- sparked cross-generational pizazz thanks to Nickelodeon's revamp and ownership of the franchise. "Brands like Nickelodeon attract a younger audience," Paddock furthered. "We saw impact last year with about a 12 percent increase on kids that came to the race. And what's really fascinating about the 'Turtles' franchise is it's got cross-generational appeal so it was hot back in the '90s and (now) you've got this whole generation that grew up with it and now their kids are following Nickelodeon." It appears that this is a two-way relationship built on a foundation of deep admiration and appreciation. "This is Year 2 of our partnership with Chicagoland . We're thrilled to be coming back," Anthony Di Cosmo, senior vice president of sports marketing and content development for Nickelodeon, told NASCAR.com. "I think when we carried out this partnership it was really to kind of build a platform of something long term that we can really engage kids and family in the sport in a way that felt very authentic to Nickelodeon." Building off 2016's successful weekend, Nickelodeon plans to have its characters prominently displayed at the speedway as well as driver and team involvement with special paint schemes paying tribute to the network's cartoon. Last year, Monster Energy Series drivers such as Danica Patrick, Michael McDowell and David Ragan rocked Turtle-related schemes for the 400-miler. Although it is, as of yet, uncertain who will partake in the themed paint jobs this year, some of the characters -- as well as Nickelodeon stars -- are scheduled to be prominent during the September weekend with many activities for the entire family. Cowabunga, indeed. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Brett Eldredge to Perform at Chicagoland Speedway Pre-Race Concert
Eldredge's Pre-Race Concert Will Take Place On Sunday, Sept. 20 Joliet, Ill. -- Country music sensation and Illinois Native, Brett Eldredge, as the pre-race concert act for the myAFibRisk.com 400 -- the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday, Sept. 20. Eldredge hails from Paris, Ill., approximately 180 miles south of Chicago, and released his new single, "Lose My Mind," last Tuesday. The CMA New Artist of the Year plans to release his sophomore album later this year. His debut album, Bring You Back, yielded the No. 1 hits "Don’t Ya," "Beat of the Music," and "Mean to Me." The 29-year-old Eldredge was a student at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst before moving to Nashville to chase his dreams. "Over the past several years we've had an opportunity to host some of the premier performers within the country music industry, and we're looking forward to Brett Eldredge continuing that tradition," said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway . "Including an artist of Brett's caliber as part of our weekend festivities is an exciting addition for our track, NASCAR and particularly our fans, and the fact that he's from our own backyard makes it even more special as we kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ." Special packages are available for Eldredge’s biggest fans, including a $99 ticket upgrade which guarantees a place in the front row for Brett's concert and also includes a Fan Zone Pit Pass (grandstand ticket not included). The Fan Zone Pit Pass is required to enter the infield for the concert. For $75, fans can purchase a grandstand ticket and Fan Zone Pit Pass, which puts them in close proximity to the concert and provides access to driver introductions, a red carpet walk and the Infield Fan Zone. All fans with grandstand tickets will have the ability to view the concert from their grandstand seat. Tickets can be purchased online at ChicagolandSpeedway.com , by calling 888-629-RACE, through the Chicagoland Speedway mobile app, or by visiting the Chicagoland Speedway Administrative office Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Chicagoland Speedway , Sept. 18-20, will begin with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol e15 225 under the lights on Friday night. On Saturday, Sept. 19, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will hit the track with the Furious 7 300 as the precursor to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series showdown, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . In addition to the racing action, fans can enjoy live musical entertainment, Champions Park, tailgating and more. Tickets start at just $25 with kids tickets (12 and under) $25 OFF, and parking is always free at Chicagoland Speedway . Buy Chicagoland Tickets
Kyle Busch wins at Chicagoland ; Chase field set
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid JOLIET, Ill. – In a race punctuated by a record 10 cautions, Kyle Busch streaked away from Chase hopeful Cameron Hayley in overtime and won Friday night's American Ethanol e15 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway . With Busch's victory over runner-up Daniel Hemric , who passed Hayley after the final restart on Lap 150, Hemric and Timothy Peters locked up the final two of eight spots in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, which starts Sept. 24 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . With a truck dialed in on Thursday by last year's series champion Erik Jones while Busch took care of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup media day duties, Busch led 95 of the 151 laps en route to winning for the second time in four starts this season. It was his fifth win at Chicagoland and the 46th time in his career. Driving a Toyota Tundra built by Kyle Busch Motorsports, ThorSport Racing driver Hayley finished third but failed to make the Chase. Hayley was gaining ground on the race winner, when contact between the trucks of Tyler Reddick and John Wes Townley caused the ninth caution on Lap 144 and ultimately forced the race one lap past its scheduled distance. On the final restart, Busch chose the outside lane and pulled away from Hayley and Hemric before NASCAR called the final caution on the last lap for Rico Abreu's spin and froze the field, with Busch the winner. "This has just been a really good place for us and for KBM over the years," Busch said. "We've been really fast here, so it was really nice to come out here and keep that speed going… I really appreciate Erik Jones being out here (Thursday) and working it in for me and everything that he did." Two of Busch's KBM proteges, William Byron and Christopher Bell , already had qualified for the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase on the strength of regular-season victories. Byron, the top seed in the Chase with five wins as a rookie, had a tough night on Friday, getting loose underneath Ben Rhodes on Lap 3 and slamming the outside wall in Turn 2. Byron placed 30th, but the low finish had no effect on his Chase standing with the reset of points after the race. "It was really important, too, to see the 9 (Byron) and the 4 (Bell) make the Chase this year for KBM," Busch said. "They've got two opportunities there to go for the championship. And then the 13 (Hayley) there at the end, that's a brand new truck out of our KBM stable. "That thing was fast. It was hard to hold him off. He was right there at the end, and he was really quick." In fact, Hayley though he had the fastest truck but fell victim to Busch's vast experience in the series. "We definitely had the faster track there at the end, but he blocked my every move," said Hayley, who missed the playoff by one position in the standings. "But overall, it was all I could do. … We're not in the Chase, but you can't say we didn't try." Byron characterized his early accident as a learning experience. "It was learning what not to do for the Chase," he said. The eight Chase drivers in order of seeding are Byron, two-time champion Matt Crafton , John Hunter Nemechek , Bell, Johnny Sauter , Ben Kennedy , Hemric and Peters. Kennedy got the worst of a violent Lap 112 wreck that started when Sauter tagged Kennedy's Chevrolet and sent it spinning into the wall. Kennedy, who led twice for four laps, emerged from the infield care center with a bandaged hand. "I bruised up my hand a little bit," said Kennedy, who felt he had a truck capable of winning. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;JOLIET, Ill. – In a race punctuated by a record 10 cautions, &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html&amp;amp;amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html&amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;quot;/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html&amp;quot;&amp;gt;<a href="/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html" _rte_href="/en_us/sprint-cup-series/drivers/kyle-busch.html"> Kyle Busch </a>&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; streaked away from Chase hopeful &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html&amp;amp;amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html&amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html&amp;quot;&amp;gt;<a href="/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html" _rte_href="/en_us/camping-world-truck-series/drivers/cameron-hayley.html"> Cameron Hayley </a>&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; in overtime and won Friday night’s American Ethanol e15 225 NASCAR &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html&amp;amp;amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html&amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;quot;/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html&amp;quot;&amp;gt;<a href="/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html" _rte_href="/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html"> Camping World Truck </a>&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Series race at &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html&amp;amp;amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html&amp;quot; _rte_href=&amp;quot;/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html&amp;quot;&amp;gt;<a href="/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html" _rte_href="/en_us/nascar-tracks/ chicagoland - speedway .html"> Chicagoland Speedway </a>&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;.
The Rundown: Chicagoland driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . This season’s most-dominant driver on 1.5-mile tracks overcomes a tire issue in the first half of the race and then roars to the victory in overtime after his team gets him off pit road one spot ahead of Chase Elliott on the final stop. Grade: A+ 2. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano lined up sixth on the final restart and did the next-best thing to winning the race. And in the Chase, that’s huge. Grade: A 3. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Sooo close. If not for the caution with four laps to go, we’d likely be toasting Elliott. And blaming his pit crew for not getting him out ahead of Martin Truex Jr . on the final stop? Not here. As Elliott said after the race, you don’t know how many drivers are going to stay out. If Carl Edwards pits, it’s Elliott on the outside of Row 2, not Truex. Grade: A 4. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . All the issues the No. 21 team had on pit road vanished when Michael McDowell ’s right-front tire exploded and littered the track with debris with four laps to go, setting up NASCAR overtime. Blaney stayed out and restarted first. He was no match for Truex and his four new tires -- but no one else was, either. Grade: A 5. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski’s average running position of 3.2 was second only to Chase Elliott ’s 3.1. Grade: A 6. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Another top-10 finish -- his ninth in a row -- also ties Hamlin with Geoff Bodine for 36th all time with 190 top 10s. Grade: A 7. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne stayed out for the final restart and lined up second, but his old tires were no match for the competition. Still the right call, and Kahne now has three consecutive top 10s for the first time since 2014. Grade: A 8. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch started from the pole, led the first 21 laps and was a mainstay in the top five until a pit-road speeding penalty Lap 172. Grade: A- 9. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was running 10th when he was caught speeding on pit road during the second caution. Grade: A- 10. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . In his third start in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Bowman earned his first career top 10 (74th start). Grade: A 11. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray hung around the top 10 all day and moved up five spots in the Chase standings to 11th. That’s a good start and would put him in position to advance to the next round if he can maintain that spot. Grade: B 12. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson caught the break of the day when he pitted just before the first caution came out and exited the pits right before race leader Martin Truex Jr . crossed the start-finish line (enabling Johnson to not only stay on the lead lap, but also restart first). Then he squandered it all, including a race-high 118 laps led, when he was caught speeding on pit road during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 234. Grade: C- 13. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch’s average finish in the first 18 races was 9.1 (15 top 10s). In the next nine it’s double -- 18.2 (two top 10s). If Busch has any chance at a second Sprint Cup championship, he needs to turn things around. On the other hand, he did improve two spots in the standings to 10th. Grade: B 14. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon finished a respectable 14th Sunday. But in Chaseland, that’s not going to cut it. The No. 3 team needs to find more speed. Grade: B 15. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards stayed out on the final caution and restarted third … and in the two-lap sprint to the finish dropped 12 spots. Ouch. Grade: B 16. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart caught a break when he got the free pass back to the lead lap on the last caution. No one knows better than Stewart -- other than Carl Edwards , perhaps (see 2011 Chase) -- how important every point is in the Chase. Grade: B 17. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger scored his best finish at Chicagoland since finishing 14th in 2010. Grade: B 18. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson started in the rear of the field (transmission change) but had worked his way into the top 10 and was looking at a remarkable day when he had to make a green-flag pit stop on Lap 260 because of an issue with his right front tire. Tough break. But it was the right call. Had it gone flat and exploded (like Michael McDowell ’s), it would have been disastrous to his Chase chances. Instead, he’s only two points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart . Grade: B- 19. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman’s finish was his worst at Chicagoland since a 22nd-place effort in 2010. He’d had seven top 10s in his previous nine starts at the track. Grade: B- 20. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . About two feet separated Harvick from an awesome day and the mediocre one he experienced. Harvick was in the pits when the first caution came out, but unlike Jimmie Johnson , Harvick didn’t reach the end of pit road before leader Martin Truex Jr . crossed the start-finish line. Harvick was about two feet short. Instead of restarting second, he restarted 20th, the first car a lap down -- and he never made it back to the lead lap. And this was the driver who had started in the rear of the field (unapproved adjustments) and was putting on a show zipping his way into the top 10 in less than 40 laps. Tough, tough break. Grade: A 21. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Not a competitive day for Menard, who started 26th and ran only eight laps in the top 15, his fewest at Chicagoland since he had zero in his first race at the track in 2007. Grade: C 22. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . It’s OK to try this at home, kids: Bowyer finished 22nd for the third straight week. Grade: C 23. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne’s finish was in line with his three previous finishes at Chicagoland -- 23rd, 20th and 28th. Grade: C 24. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick turned only three laps in the top 15, but it was three more than last year at Chicagoland . In her five starts at Chicagoland , Patrick has raced in the top 15 in only 25 of her 1,332 laps. Grade: C- 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse posted his worst finish at Chicagoland in four starts. Grade: C- 26. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Chicagoland was Biffle’s worst track when he arrived (one top 10 in 13 starts), and his 14th start didn’t change anything. Grade: C- 27. Ty Dillon , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Dillon was making his ninth start of the season and 16th of his career -- but first subbing for Regan Smith , who was home awaiting the birth of his second child. Good call by Smith. Regan and his wife, Megan, had a girl Sunday, Eliza Grace Smith. Congrats. Grade: B (as in baby) 28. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Lack of speed, including the inability to make the car faster as the race progressed, was the culprit in the rookie’s first Chase race. Grade: C- 29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill finished three laps back, aided by a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 53. Grade: C- 30. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto finished three laps off the pace. Grade: D 31. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott brought out the second caution when he lost control in Turn 4 and went for a spin. Grade: D- 32. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola had to start in the rear of the field (unapproved adjustments), and then his team caused the first caution when one of the car’s tires got loose during a pit stop and rolled across pit road and onto the grass. Grade: F 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett finished five laps off the pace. Grade D 34. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was penalized for speeding on pit road on Lap 103 and then penalized again for speeding while serving the pass-through penalty. Grade: D- 35. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan nailed his day in his tweet: “Had too many speeding penalties and not enough time to make up ground.” He had two. Grade: F 36. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt finished seven laps back. Grade: F 37. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell changed the outcome of the race when his right-front tire exploded, spewing debris across the track and bringing out the fourth and final caution with four laps left in regulation. Grade: F 38. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise was already seven laps down when the No. 30 team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during the third caution on Lap 194. Grade: F 39. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. One week after getting his second-best finish over the past two seasons (26th at Richmond), Sorenson finished 13 laps back. Grade: F 40. Joey Gase , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Gase finished 16 laps back in his fourth start of the season and 11th of his career. Grade: F
Heads Up: Chicagoland weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races -- and Sprint Cup Series Chase opener -- at Chicagoland Speedway . WEATHER The weekend forecast for Joliet, Illinois, looks relatively clear. Friday night -- when the Camping World Truck Series will take the track -- there is a 90 percent chance of rain and expected evening thunderstorms. For the XFINITY race, Saturday looks promising for the afternoon XFINITY race, with partly cloudy skies, a high near 78 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain. Sunday looks to be ideal race day weather, with sunny skies and a high of 75 degrees. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports App) followed by Coors Light Pole qualifying at 6:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series qualifies Saturday morning at 11:45 ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App), turning around to race that day at 3 p.m. ET (NBC/NBC Sports App). Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for a Keystone Light Pole qualifying session at 4:45 p.m. ET on FS1 Friday followed by the American Ethanol E15 225 race at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Chicagoland media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Click here for a full XFINITY Series/ Camping World Truck Series press schedule. With this weekend being the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR.com will also live stream a Ready. Set. Chase. launch event, which includes interviews with all 16 competitors, on Thursday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME Denny Hamlin notched his second win of the 2015 season at Chicagoland , beating Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards across the finish line by .962 seconds to advance to the next round of the Chase. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman 's conflict on track last weekend at Richmond could be far from over. Stewart made the 16-car Chase field, while Newman missed out and was noticeably frustrated with "Smoke" post-race, saying it was "just disappointing that you have somebody old like that that should be retired the way he drives." Will that spill over into the opening Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race? We'll find out Sunday. • Alex Bowman will be wheeling the No. 88 Chevrolet for sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend at Chicagoland . Bowman has made two starts in the Hendrick Motorsports ride and will make seven more starts for the team this season, splitting seat time with veteran driver Jeff Gordon . Click here for the 2016 No. 88 driver schedule . • Given Chicagoland's relatively young age, there have only been nine Sprint Cup winners at the Illinois track. "Smoke" leads the pack with three trips to Victory Lane, with Brad Keselowski on his heels with two wins. Six of the nine winners are current Chase competitors. • A win at Chicagoland would guarantee a Chase competitor entrance into the next round of the Chase, beginning on Oct. 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . One thing to watch though, NASCAR announced rules updates for the Chase regarding post-race laser inspection and lug nuts and the penalties associated with those. Read more on those updates here .
XFINITY, Camping World Truck Chase-clinching scenarios for Chicagoland
XFINITY SERIES The XFINITY Series regular season finale, the Drive for Safety 300 , takes place Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway at 3 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), while the Sprint Cup Series Chase Grid was set last week at Richmond International Speedway . RELATED: See the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Grid An 11th-place finish at Richmond allowed Roush Fenway Racing 's Ryan Reed to clinch at Chase spot, leaving two spots available for clinching this weekend at Chicagoland . Erik Jones , Elliott Sadler , Daniel Suarez , Justin Allgaier , Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr . have also clinched Chase spots. All of the following drivers could also automatically clinch with a win. Possible to Clinch: • Blake Koch (0 Wins, 570 Points, 449 Points Ahead of 31st): Koch could earn a Chase berth by tallying 39 points -- achieved by finishing 2nd with no laps led, third with at least one lap led or fourth with the most laps led -- and a new winner at Chicagoland . He could also earn a berth with a repeat winner and 19 points, achieved by finishing 22nd with no laps led, 23rd with at least one lap led and 24th with the most laps led. • Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 567 Points, 446 Points Ahead of 31st): Sieg could clinch on points at Chicagoland with a repeat winner/ Blake Koch win and 22 points, achieved by finishing 19th with no laps led, 20th with at least one lap led or 21st with most laps led. He would need some help to clinch with a new winner at Chicagoland . • Dakoda Armstrong (0 Wins, 547 Points, 426 Points Ahead of 31st): Armstrong needs help to clinch on points. • Jeremy Clements (0 Wins, 538 Points, 417 Points Ahead of 31st): Clements needs help to clinch on points. The following need a win to clinch a Chase spot: Ross Chastain , Ryan Preece , Ray Black Jr ., BJ McLeod , Joey Gase . Camping World Truck Ser ies The Camping World Truck Series regular season finale, the American Ethanol e15 225, takes place Friday at Chicagoland Speedway at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Possible to Clinch: • Daniel Hemric (0 Wins, 374 Points, 305 Points Ahead of 31st) - Would clinch on points with 10 points (23rd and no laps led, 24th and led at least one lap, 25th and led most laps) and a new winner. Would clinch on points with a repeat winner, regardless of finish. With a win, they would clinch a Chase spot on wins. • Timothy Peters (0 Wins, 350 Points, 281 Points Ahead of 31st) - Would clinch on points with a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric ) and 2 Points (31st and no laps led, 32nd and led at least one lap). With a win, he would clinch a Chase spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help (needs to outpoint Daniel Hemric by six points (Peters owns the tie-breaker). • Cole Custer (0 Wins, 318 Points, 249 Points Ahead of 31st) - With a win, he would clinch a Chase spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a repeat winner (or win by Daniel Hemric ) and help (needs to outpoint Timothy Peters by 32 points (Custer owns the tie-breaker). The following need a win to clinch a Chase spot: Cameron Hayley , Tyler Reddick , Ben Rhodes , Spencer Gallagher , Rico Abreu, Austin Wayne Self, Travis Kvapil and Jordan Anderson .
Wallace Jr. shows off 'Shredder' scheme for Chicagoland
NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon today announced that it is has teamed up with NASCAR XFINITY Series star "Bubba" Wallace to drive a special No. 6 Shredder Ford Mustang in the XFINITY 300 on Saturday, September 17. Nickelodeon is the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 18, dubbed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway . The track will feature a weekend of action, activities and fun for the entire family with the iconic Heroes in a Half Shell. Wallace is in his second full-time season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Roush Fenway Racing. His unique race car at Chicagoland will feature Shredder in his iconic helmet on the hood, rear bumper and left rear quarter-panel. The Foot Clan is right there with him, standing watch on the right rear quarter-panel, ready to do battle. Shredder is the commander of an evil ninja army called the Foot Clan, and is one of the deadliest martial artists in the world. He is cold, cunning, ruthless, and obsessed with destroying Splinter, whom he blames for the death of his true love. Shredder’s thirst for revenge has drained him of all compassion, warmth and connection to humanity. Wallace will join a number of other drivers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint schemes for the Sept. 17-18 race weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Danica Patrick has already been announced to drive the No. 10 April O'Neil/Nature's Bakery Chevrolet SS in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 . Additional drivers will be announced this summer. "I grew up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shredder was always a cool character," said Wallace. "It's an honor to partner with Nickelodeon on this program. Hopefully Shredder and the Foot Clan will lead the way to Victory Lane." This Sept. 15-18 marks the sixth consecutive year that Chicagoland Speedway will kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Nickelodeon partnership will include sponsorship of the 2017 kick off race, as well. "We are excited to partner with Bubba Wallace and Roush Fenway Racing to showcase Shredder and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the NASCAR XFINITY race," said Anthony DiCosmo, Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing and Development, Nickelodeon. "Just as we did with last season's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway , the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 will continue to expand our relationship with NASCAR, while working with another best-in-class ISC track to give fans a unique and engaging race experience that the whole family can enjoy." Nickelodeon has a long-standing relationship with NASCAR, teaming up with the motorsports giant on several programming and racing events. On the track, the network has sponsored the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway in 2015; brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014; participated in the Bank of America 500 week in 2012; and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC in 2004. NASCAR has also contributed talent and content to Nickelodeon programming such as the Kids’ Choice Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2012 and 2013), Kids’ Choice Sports Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2014, Ben Kennedy , 2015), Team Umizoomi ( Jeff Gordon , 2012), Hammer Down (2014), which aired on Nicktoon’s NickSports block, and an upcoming Bubble Guppies episode ( Jimmie Johnson , 2015). Currently in its fourth season, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is seen in over 170 countries and territories and translated in 50+ languages. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows four mutant turtles -- Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo -- trained in the art of ninjutsu by their mutant rat sensei, Master Splinter, who teaches the turtles to battle evil from the New York City sewers. Executive produced by Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman, the series is created at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.
Matt Tifft: I'm '100 percent ready to go' at Chicagoland
MORE: Tifft tweets upbeat video post-surgery " Tifft joins Red Horse Racing JOLIET, Ill. -- Matt Tifft climbs back on the horse tonight here at Chicagoland Speedway , a Red Horse in fact, as the 20-year-old returns to competition following surgery for a brain tumor just 11 weeks ago. Tifft will be competing in the No. 11 Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing in Friday night's American Ethanol E15 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). It will be his first NASCAR start since May 21 when he finished fifth in a Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . He recently tested in a Late Model entry at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway and said he has driven go-karts as well to prepare for his return. "I did not feel anything at all that was different and I would not be here this weekend if I did not feel like I was 100 percent and ready to go," Tifft said Friday. In late June, Joe Gibbs Racing officials, for whom Tifft competes part-time in NASCAR's XFINITY Series, announced that doctors had discovered a "low-grade glioma" during Tifft's evaluation and treatment for a back condition. He underwent surgery on July 1. Thursday Tifft was back behind the wheel of the Red Horse entry, taking part in practice on the 1.5-mile track. "I radioed in after the first practice how much I had missed it," said Tifft, who was sixth and 19th, respectively, in Thursday's two Truck Series practices. ... "Going the high speeds and going into the banking of a track like Chicagoland in a Truck Series event, it's totally different than what you can prepare for on a short track. A lot of fun but also I had to be on my game just like any other driver has to be. It takes a lap or two for you to get used to it and I think by the second run out there we were running competitive times again. "But, definitely, was soaking it in going around the first couple of laps." Teammate Timothy Peters said the "feedback and … positives that (Tifft) brings to the race team is just second to none. "A good person to boot," Peters said. "It's hard to beat that. "He was fast in the first practice (on Thursday) and would've been right up there will all of us (in the second)," Peters noted, adding that Tifft's team did not make a mock qualifying run. " Chicagoland is one of my favorites tracks," said Tifft. "I had a lot of fun (Thursday). It was really great to be back in the truck, so I'm looking forward to tonight and getting back in my first race."
Teams beat the weather to test at Chicagoland
Weather concerns forced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams to cram two days of testing into a single day Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway as they prepare for the upcoming Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's opening race next month. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The organizational test, which permits one team per organization to participate, was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick , the 2014 series champion, recorded the top lap time during Tuesday's day-long test with the No. 4 Chevrolet circling the 1.5-mile track in 29.147 seconds (185 mph). Defending series champion Kyle Busch had the second best lap in No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 29.24 seconds (184.6 mph) while Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford) and Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) had the third and fourth quickest times, respectively. Fourteen teams took part in the test. Harvick completed 222 laps, most among those taking part in the test, while Busch logged 214 according to NASCAR timing and scoring data. "We haven't won here in a few years but I think the performance has been fine over the past two or three years," Harvick, winner of the first two Sprint Cup races hosted by the track," said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to coming back; it's a fun race track just for the fact that you can move around and run all around the race track. That's really the hardest part about today, it's hard to gather a lot of … confirmed information (because) you have to get enough rubber from the bottom to the top of the track to see where everything actually is." Joey Logano finished sixth in last year's Chase opener at Chicago. It's a race that sets the tone for the 10-race playoff, the driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Ford said. "A lot on the line here and you always want to start off the Chase on a good note and have a lot of momentum leaving Chicago," Logano said. "So far so good. … "This is a great track; to me it almost acts like a small Fontana for us. You can run anywhere you want on the race track, its got a lot of speed and it's bumpy. Its got a ton of character." One more organizational test remains for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, scheduled for Oct. 18-19 at Homestead Miami Speedway . While Sprint Cup teams were testing at Chicagoland , several Camping World Truck Series teams were busy at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday. Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates William Byron, Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin , along with Kaz Grala (GMS Racing) and Stewart Friesen (Halmar Racing) were on hand to test in preparation for the Truck Series' opening Chase race, the UNOH 175 (Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "This is one of my favorite race tracks," Byron, the series' points leader and winner of five races this season, said. "I won here in the K&N Series last year so think I have a lot of confidence here. "It's good to come back with a truck; it handles totally different but it's the same race track. I'm trying to use some of the things I learned last year and hopefully make that apply for when we come back in the Chase." The inaugural Chase in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins at New Hampshire and will feature a field of eight drivers competing for the 2016 championship.
Erik Jones holds off Larson to win at Chicagoland
RELATED: Complete race results " Series standings " Chase Grid JOLIET, Ill. – Kyle Busch opened the door, and that was all the invitation Erik Jones needed. When Busch, the polesitter for Saturday's Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway , spun with a tire down while leading on Lap 182 of 200, Jones took full advantage of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate's misfortune. The driver of the No. 20 JGR Toyota restarted sixth on Lap 187 after Busch brought out the eighth caution of the afternoon and quickly closed the gap on Elliott Sadler , who restarted second and grabbed the lead from JR Motorsports teammate Clint Bowyer , who had stayed out on old tires like Sadler. Jones caught and passed Sadler on Lap 192. Race runner-up Kyle Larson followed four laps later but couldn't catch Jones before the finish. In the final four laps, Jones moved up the track to take Larson's preferred racing line and crossed the finish line .392 seconds ahead of Larson, who brushed the outside wall on the final lap while trying to close in on the race winner. "It was tough," said Jones, who won for the second time at the 1.5-mile track and the fourth time in his rookie year. "I knew we were in a good spot on tires, but we pretty far back – think we restarted sixth there. "I didn't know if my Hisense Camry was going to have enough time to get back up to the front, but we had a really good restart and got clear to third and then just had to go chase Elliott down. It was a matter of time before we got around him. What an awesome day!" With four victories this season, Jones enters the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase as the No. 1 seed heading to the Chase opener next Saturday at Kentucky Speedway . "It's a lot of momentum," Jones said. "I wish this was our first round right here. We'll go into Kentucky definitely with a full head of steam and are due for another win there. Our mile-and-a-half program is great – it's been great all year. "To finally get a first mile-and-a-half win of the year – just looking forward to getting to Kentucky next weekend and try to chase down another one." Saturday's event finalized the 12-driver Chase field, as Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg clinched the final two spots with finishes of 15th and 12th, respectively. The full Chase field, in order of seeding, consists of Erik Jones , Sadler, Daniel Suarez , Ty Dillon , Justin Allgaier , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Sieg, Ryan Reed , Brandon Jones and Koch. Sadler finished third on Saturday, followed by Suarez and Allgaier. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to record his eighth top-five finish in 12 starts this year. "I knew I could get the top (lane) going, but I knew when I got the top going, Erik would move up just when I got to him," Larson said. "He did, and I tried to carry a lot of throttle off of (Turn) 2 and maybe get a run on him, but I got into the wall." Busch led 154 laps and recovered from his spin to finish 13th. All told, 11 different drivers led at least one lap, including the top eight drivers in the finishing order. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;