After the exciting show last week in Daytona, we get to catch our breath a bit while the guys make laps at Chicagoland Speedway. Last week's race also marked the halfway point of the Sprint Cup season. Eighteen races down, and eighteen more to go.
Chicago is TNT's last telecast this year. Their six race season comes to an end before we can get fed up with them, ala Fox. TNT scored its highest ratings in two years with the Coke Zero 400 last week. That race featured TNT's 'Wide Open' coverage, in which national commercials are shown alongside the live racing action. It would be wonderful if 'wide open' was widely available.
The Four Horsemen of HMS
Jimmie Johnson became a father on Wednesday July 7, as wife, Chandra delivered a baby girl between races. Names are being solicited.
Jeff Gordon makes his 600th start Saturday night in Chicago. It won't be the same without having DW there to oversell the emotion.
Mark Martin going to Team Red Bull next year? So says Randy Pemberton. No word on which car, or if it will be a third car to team with Scott Speed and the returning Brian Vickers. This move would allow Kasey Kahne to jump in a HMS Chevy next season. Chance of this happening, 20%.
Dale Earnhardt Jr sold two million dollars worth of Wrangler tee shirts while winning the NNS race last week at Daytona. Little E also clawed back into the Chase race with a 4th place run on the Cup side at DIS.
Who's Greening Who
Like other large corporations, NASCAR is all about 'going green'.... unless it overly affects the bottom line. A couple of years ago, with much harumphing (hey, I didn't get a harumph outta that guy), NASCAR announced that they would be using ethanol as their race fuel in 2011. It takes over a gallon of gasoline to make a gallon of ethanol. Not very energy efficient. So, even though it does use biofuels, it still wastes more fossil fuel than just burning gasoline. According to Brian France, NASCAR "is looking at other options." Don't look for them to quit the high octane juice until the feds make them.
Chi Town Chatter
A couple of weeks after getting canned at RFR, Todd Parrott is reunited as Elliott Sadler's crew chief .
Ford still has yet to win a Cup race this year. The silence from Jack Roush is very strange.
Morgan Shepherd gets a great opportunity this week when he gets into RCR's NNS #21 at Chicagoland. The Chevy is unsponsored for this race, but it has been among the fastest NNS whips lately.
Kevin Harvick is the only driver with more than one win here. He won the first two races at Chicagoland.
Kyle Busch is the only race winner to start on the pole, and the field was set that year (2008) by points. He's also the only winner to start in the top-5 here.
Some chick returns in the NNS this week. Maybe she'll hold a press conference at the same time as Lebron's.
Will the Cup make a pit road appearance? Jim Cornelison of the NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks will sing the national anthem (USA's?) before Saturday's race. Teammate, Duncan Keith will be the Grand Marshall. Really, we're in Chicago, isn't there really only one Grand Marshall here? Wilbur Marshall of the champion 1984 Bears! And, he played an American sport!
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