The Stakes At Chicago Just Got Dialed Up A Notch

David Ragan,William Byron,Chris Buescher,Jimmie Johnson

For the past seven years, Chicagoland Speedway hosted the opening race in the Monster Energy Series Playoffs – meaning 16 drivers were looking for a while to advance to the next round in the postseason.

This year, the stakes have changed as the race moves to an early-summer date and a berth in the Playoffs is now on the line as only six drivers are virtually locked in.

There are a couple key veteran drivers in Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson who are still in search of that all-important first win of the season. Chicagoland is one of three tracks (also Kentucky and Watkins Glen) where Johnson has yet to win a Monster Energy Series race, but his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series win came at the track in Joliet. Keselowski, on the other hand, has twice visited Victory Lane there – and followed up his 2012 win with the championship.

And don’t count out Chase Elliott. The 22-year-old Hendrick Motorsports teammate of Johnson is still pursuing his first career Monster Energy Series win – but his two starts at Chicagoland have been stellar. He finished third in his first outing to the track and followed that up with a second-place finish last year. Also of note with Elliott – every lap he’s run at Chicagoland has been in the top-15 on the track.


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