Tha Sports Junkies 101

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 From Chicagoland Race Preview


This weekend, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the 27th race of the 2016 season and the only visit to the track this season. Last year, Denny Hamlin came from the 29th starting spot to score the win, his first at the 1.5 mile oval. Coupled with his win last Saturday night in Richmond, his second in the past month, Hamlin has to be feeling good about his chances.

The Chase Is On: Sixteen drivers begin their pursuit of the series championship at Chicagoland on Sunday. The race winner automatically advances to the next round of twelve. Since the Chicagoland race became part of the Chase schedule, 2 drivers have won and gone on to claim the title. Tony Stewart picked up his first win of 2011 in this event on his way to taking that championship and Brad Keselowski repeated the feat in 2012.

A Good Time For A First Time?: Since the inaugural event in 2001, no driver has picked up their first career win at the Joliet, IL race track. Several drivers will be gunning for a first time win on Sunday, including Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and more. Two drivers have already picked up maiden wins on the tour over the summer and there’s certainly a good chance to see a new face in victory lane.

The Penalty Box: NASCAR announced some harsh penalties for race winners who fail various post race inspections. Lug nuts, Laser Inspection Station (LIS), and other violations could result in a race winner losing the important benefits that come with winning a chase event. Automatic advancement to the next round could be denied if a driver’s car fails LIS. Post race inspection will no doubt be an intense time for teams with so much riding on a pass or fail.

Old Six Time: Jimmie Johnson begins his hunt for his seventh Cup title this weekend. Johnson is the only driver who has qualified for the Chase in each of the 13 seasons it has existed. While Jimmie has graced nearly every victory circle in the sport, he does not have a Cup trophy from Chicagoland. Look for Johnson to challenge this for the win on Sunday.


NASCAR Fantasy Watch List:

Who To Consider: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth

Who To Avoid: Martin Truex, Jr, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle

Potential Sleepers: Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne


Where To Watch: Catch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on September 18th at 2:30 pm EST on NBCSN.