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NASCAR: The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 Truck Race Preview

Horn FanSenior Writer IOctober 8, 2016

NASCAR: The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 Truck Race Preview

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    Chicagoland Speedway was added to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2008.

    It is a great addition to the series, like the 150 Lap/ 225 Mile formatted, and it's just enough laps to make the race exciting.

    The 1.5 mile oval is one of the expansion tracks, when NASCAR went "cookie cutter" crazy adding multiple speedways that all looked like Charlotte, Michigan, or Atlanta.

    It has a D-shape to it, but it is unique in shape with it's continuous curve with the backstretch having a noticeable bend to it.

    I like the track, it was a great edition market wise for NASCAR, and more importantly Kevin Harvick's won at the track in both Cup and Nationwide.

    The inaugural event last year, had 11 lead changes, three to four wide racing action, had seven cautions for 28 laps, and an average speed of 119.293 MPH.

    Which saw Rowdy Busch lead four times, for 79 laps, and won by 0.580 seconds over Todd Bodine in second.

    No doubt this year will be just as exciting. Don't just think the Rowdy One will just stink it up again this week, but it is a shame that he just didn't let Johnny Benson Jr. run the No. 18 for a change.

    I do predicted we'll see Mr. Pouty Face, this weekend at Chicagoland (LOL).

     

Cool Rick Crawford's Back

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    The most exciting news heading into Chicagoland is that Rick Crawford will be back behind the wheel this week in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225.

    Crawford's a likeable wily veteran, who's been in the series since 1997, and one of the many faces that has made the Truck series so awesome.

    The 52 years young veteran, has spent his entire career in the series, holds the ironman record in Trucks at 327 consecutive races and unfortunately that streak ended in May due to lack of sponsorship.

    More impressive he accomplished that feat running for Ford, then 326 races were all with defunct Circle Bar Racing team, but also logging 56,000 miles over his lengthy career and counting.

    Crawford while not driving, has spent the last four months being at every race working as a spotter or mentoring the young talent in the series.

    He's worked with Austin Dillon, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Johanna Long and Chris Lafferty and you couldn't ask for a better teacher.

    It'll be his first race back driving, since May, when he drove for Ray Hackett Racing at Kansas.

    For the EnjoyIllinois.com 225, Crawford will start a new chapter racing a Chevrolet Silverado for the first-time, for the Oklahoma-based Tagsby Racing and in a Kevin Harvick Inc. prepared truck, with Superseal as a sponsor.

    It'll be bittersweet for Crawford's Ford fans, but I'm sure they'll just be happy to see him racing again and I'm excited to finally see him racing in a Chevy. Just so you know, Crawford one of the few Ford drivers that I follow, and hope he has a great finish Friday night.

Jennifer Jo Cobb

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Jennifer Jo Cobb is not only the best female racer in NASCAR currently, but she's also aspiring female racers across the country and future generations to come.

    She's opening doors of opportunity by doing it the hardway, being one of the very few owner/drivers left in NASCAR's top three series, operates on a shoestring budget using her own companies and with five full-time employees.

    Cobb's on track to become the highest finishing female driver in Truck Series history. Currently she sits 16th in the points, and has nine races to possibly finish in the top-15.

    Chicagoland will be her coming out party, Cobb will best her career best finish of 14th, and will battle hard to finish the race on the lead lap.

    Or at least I hope she has a great race day, since it's a great area to be racing while trying to attract sponsorship.

    Believe in one of our resident "humorist" Kara's articles, she mentioned that NASCAR has a 50% female fan base or higher. Sure she'll correct me if I'm wrong.

    Just surprised none of the female oriented companies haven't jump at the chance to put there brand on Cobb's No. 10 Ford. It's about a two to three million price tag, in return your getting a new market to tap into and a very loyal one at that.

     

Multi-Truck Qualifying Is Back

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    NASCAR has let the truck teams know that qualifying at Chicagoland will be multi-truck qualifying with procedures that are similar to the Pocono race. '

    But we'll see two trucks qualifying at a time on the track, and it makes me wonder if we won't see this done at more events in the future.

    Will we see it in the Nationwide or Cup? More than likely since the Trucks are the testing grounds for new ideas NASCAR wants to test first and this basically could eliminate races lining up by owner points.

    I thought it was pretty cool at Pocono, excited to see it back, and be fun watching it on a 1.5 mile track.

     

Rowdy Busch: Can He Win Four Straight National Series Victories?

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    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Rowdy Busch is coming off of sweeping Bristol, that saw him win all three of NASCAR's top tier series and make history. Becoming the first to do it.

    Now he's poised to make it four in a row, by winning Friday's night race, but while he's one of the favorites that necessarily mean that it's guaranteed he'll win and one of the series regulars could rain on his parade.

    Points leader Todd Bodine leads all drivers on 1.5 mile tracks with 11 wins, he finished second in the inaugural event and he's amazing on tracks this size.

    He could live up to his nickname of, "the Onion", really stink it up the race tonight and his Mike Hillman Jr. lead crew are rock solid right now.

    Ron Hornaday Jr., is another one that's real good on 1.5 mile tracks, has nine wins on tracks of this size and he wants nothing more than to get new crew chief Kevin Buskirk his first win.

    Horn in fact actually the closest to sweeping the current eight 1.5 mile tracks on the schedule, just lacking wins at Chicagoland and Las Vegas.

    Johnny Sauter, is another one that usually is pretty good on 1.5 mile tracks, and his two wins are on  tracks of this size. He'll be tough, and don't look past his teammate Matt Crafton either.

    We can't over look Aric Almirola, who's driving the same chassis that Busch won with last year and will be tough to beat for the win. He won earlier this season at Michigan a similar 1.5 mile track.

    And now on to my pick to win the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 tonight, drum roll please.

     

But I'm Picking Austin Dillon To Win

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    Jason Smith/Getty Images

    Austin Dillon won poles at both Texas and Michigan, he lead laps at both tracks and Texas was his breakout race for him at the time.

    Of course, he'll qualify well, possibly win another pole, and this time he'll seal the deal winning on a 1.5 mile track. Figure Dillon will lead a bunch of laps, he learned from Texas and this time he'll beat everyone to the checkers for win No. 2.

    Dillon, his crew chief Gary Stockman Jr. and his No. 3 Bass Pro Shop team have jelled quickly.

    They work hard for each other, Bristol showed just how good this team really is, for being so young they make very few mistakes, and already they enable him to be able to pick-up positions on pit road.

    I can't remember seeing a team that's been together for only 16 races, doing what these guys are doing and it'll be exciting to watch them move up through NASCAR.

    Nothing would be sweeter, than to see Dillon spoil Busch's off weekend from Cup by winning tonight and to see him celebrate with his Grandpa Mr. Childress another win, priceless.

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