This week, the Sprint Cup Series took to the track to compete in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland. It was also the first time that the Sprint Cup Series has raced at Chicagoland under the lights.
Kyle Busch started the race on pole due to the qualifying being cancelled for rain. This set the field by owner’s points, which meant that Earnhardt Jr. would start second since he was currently second in the point standings before this weekend’s event.
Qualifying being cancelled allowed all the chase contenders to start at the front of the field.
Busch would lead the first lap and continued to lead when the first caution flag came out on lap 36 for a competition caution by NASCAR. The leaders all took advantage by coming to pit road with Jeff Burton winning the race out. Burton would have to come down pit road again though, as he missed his pit box on the previous stop causing him to continue down pit road beating everyone else off.
This would hand the lead back to Kyle Busch, who led the field down for the restart. Busch would lead a few laps after the restart until Carl Edwards passed him on lap 44 for the lead.
Edwards was leading when the caution came out for Denny Hamlin’s stalled car on the racetrack. Most of the field would come to pit road with Kyle Busch winning the race off with a fuel only stop. Some drivers like Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman, and Jason Leffler decided to stay out under the caution flag and gain track position.
Gordon was the new race leader until Biffle passed him shortly after the restart on lap 56. Biffle would lead the race until he, and the other four drivers who stayed out with him on the previous caution flag, had to make green flag pit stops. This would allow Tony Stewart to lead a few laps before he and the rest of the field would have to make their green flag stops.
After the round of pit stops had cycled through, Biffle was back at the head of the field. Biffle continued to lead when the third caution came out for a spin by Michael Waltrip on lap 111. The leaders would once again come to pit road with Stewart coming out first.
Stewart would not be the leader on the restart though as Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and A.J. Allmendinger all stayed out under the caution. Kenseth would lead a few laps after the restart before being passed by Kyle Busch on lap 121.
Shortly after Busch passed Kenseth for the lead, Matt had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a tire going down. This would put him one lap down, but later on Kenseth would receive the lucky dog and get back on the lead lap.
Busch would continue to lead through two caution periods brought out by debris on laps 142 and 177. The leaders would make pit stops under both cautions with Busch winning the battle out on both of them. Busch would continue to lead until Carl Edwards mounted a charge and passed Busch for the lead on lap 203.
Unfortunately for Edwards, he would have to make an unscheduled pit stop for what he thought was a flat tire. The problem was really from the splitter on the front of his car. It was broken and was rubbing against the track which made Carl believe something was wrong with his tire.
This would give the lead right back to Busch who continued to lead when another caution came out for debris with 41 laps to go. The leaders would once again pit with Busch winning the battle off.
Busch would continue to lead until a caution flag flew for a spin by Bobby Labonte with just 23 laps remaining. This would set up for an interesting restart as Jimmie Johnson passed Busch for the lead with just 17 laps to go in the event.
Johnson looked to be well on his way to victory when a caution came out for a blown engine by David Gilliland’s machine with just six laps remaining.
This would allow everyone to catch up to Johnson and make for an exciting finish. Johnson led the field down for the restart very slowly and Kyle Busch timed it perfectly, pulling right alongside of Johnson in turn one.
Busch and Johnson would stay neck and neck until Johnson got loose in turn four allowing Busch to pull ahead. Busch held off Johnson and Harvick on the last lap to earn his seventh victory of the season.
The top ten finishers were Busch, Johnson, Harvick, Biffle, Stewart, Vickers, Kenseth, David Ragan, Martin Truex, and Newman. Some notable finishes include Jeff Gordon in 11th, Kasey Kahne in 15th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 16th, Jeff Burton in 19th, Clint Bowyer in 22nd, Edwards in 32nd, and Denny Hamlin in 40th position.
The top twelve in points are Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Burton, Edwards, Johnson, Gordon, Biffle, Kenseth, Harvick, Stewart, Kahne, and Hamlin. Clint Bowyer is now in the 13thposition along with Vickers and Ragan in 14th and 15th. These three drivers will have some work to do if they want to get into the chase.
Chicagoland is now in the history books and we can all look forward to a great race in Indianapolis in two weeks.