Dustin Off the Next Race: LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway

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Dustin Off the Next Race:  LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway
John Harrelson/Getty Images

In a city that's more known for the Cubs, the Bears and the Bulls, NASCAR has made a big splash. Chicago has enjoyed having the sport in the northern tier of the country, and has provided many great moments.

Some say the track is a "cookie-cutter" shape, one and a half miles in length and tri-oval in design. That may be the case, but the style of this facility works.

When the track added lights a few years ago, it added a new element to the speedway. That added element has made the racing great, and Saturday night will be no exception.

The second half of the season begins now, so allow me to dust off the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

 

FAVORITES

Mark Martin

This is the track that set off Martin's strong second half last season. He dominated this race and kept the momentum all the way into the Chase.

This season, however, it's been a different story. He has been the sub-par driver this year for Hendrick Motorsports, and has not seen the front of the field on many occasions.

If he is to work at getting his season back on track, now is the time to do it.

GoDaddy's "Grand Daddy" rolls off 21st Saturday night, but don't expect him to be there very long.

 

Kevin Harvick

After getting back to victory lane last week at Daytona, the points leader certainly is looking like a strong championship contender. The RCR season of 2009 is a thing of the past, and the entire team is looking forward to a strong second half.

Chicago has been a very good track for Harvick, as he won the first two races at the facility in 2001 and 2002.

His average finish is eighth, while also having six top-fives and eight top-10s in the nine races run at Chicagoland Speedway.

Despite a 27th-place qualifying run, "Happy" is still my pick for Saturday night.

 

Jimmie Johnson

Call this guy "Mr. Mile and a Half" as this style of track is where he's best. Not even the birth of his new daughter can keep the enthusiasm of Johnson down.

Although he has no wins at this track, he does have five top-fives and seven top-10's in his eight races at the track. But, let's not forget that overall, Johnson has 39 wins on the intermediate sized tracks. Simply put, this style of track is exactly what Johnson likes.

The new dad should be extremely strong when the green flag drops.

 

SLEEPERS

Jeff Gordon

What is it going to take to have this team finally stand in victory lane? At Daytona he worked his way into the right spot only to get stuck behind the car in front, dropping him to the third spot.

This team is there, they have practically won races, but they just can't finish the deal. However, they are there, ready to pounce.

Chicago has been a track that has been good for Gordon, but not great. He has one victory here in 2006, after he bumped Matt Kenseth to get it. Last year, he was runner-up to his teammate Martin.

He's starting in the front, and I expect him to be there throughout the night.

 

Tony Stewart

Why would someone who has two wins, seven top-fives and seven top-10's be in the sleeper category?

Simple...his lack of success this season.

Last week he was caught up in the big wreck, and has yet to taste victory lane. Stewart is not used to being behind the ball when the Chase is looming.

He needs to get back on track, and with his success here, it is a good possibility.

 

This will be the last race for TNT this season, with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET with "Countdown to Green."

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