Who’s Hot and Cold at the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup

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Once the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts, only two tracks remain on the schedule that teams haven’t competed at yet – Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Homestead closes out the postseason while Chicagoland has kicked off the Chase since 2011.

At Chicagoland, one of five 1.5-mile tracks in the Chase, qualifying has had little bearing on who finishes the day in victory lane.

Fifteen race have been held at Chicagoland since 2001. Only once has a winner started in the top five (Kyle Busch, 2008). That year, qualifying was canceled. Just five Chicagoland winners have come from the top 10 and there’s only been one (Matt Kenseth, 10th in 2013) in the last five races.

In 2015, Denny Hamlin won from 29th. Brad Keselowski‘s two wins, in 2014 and 2012, came from 25th and 13th. Qualifying has been canceled the last two years.

Of the 16 drivers in the Chase, six have won at Chicagoland and two have won twice (Kevin Harvick and Keselowski). Tony Stewart is the all-time leader with three wins.

Here’s a look at who is hot and cold going into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.

Who’s Hot

Denny Hamlin: Won at Richmond, third win of season (second in the last five races). Eighth straight top-10 finishes, the longest streak of his career. Won this race last year after leading just nine laps. Only two top fives in 10 Chicago starts.

Kevin Harvick: Finished fifth at Richmond, fourth consecutive top-five finish (matches longest streak of top-five finishes by a driver this season). Finished top 10 in 12 of the last 14 races. Has  21 top-10 finishes in 2016, most by three. Only three finishes in 2016 worst than 15th. Two-time Chicago winner (2001-2002). Top fives in two of the last three races at Chicago.

Brad Keselowski: Finished fourth at Richmond, finished in the top 10 in 13 of the last 17 races, including three wins. Top 10s in the last five races at Chicago, including two wins (2012 and 2014). Finished top 10 in 18 of the last 19 races on 1.5-mile tracks, including wins in two of the last five.

Kyle Larson: Finished second at Richmond, top-three three finishes in the last three races (longest streak of career), including a win at Michigan. Finished top six in five of the last seven races. Two starts at Chicago, finished third and seventh.

Who’s Cold

Matt Kenseth: Finished 38th, DNF accident while running in top five at Richmond last week. Has only five top-10 finishes in last 12 races. Two wins this season, Dover and New Hampshire (two of the three races in round one). Top-10 finishes including a win in three races at Chicago with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Carl Edwards: Finished in top 10 in only seven of the last 17 races after having eight top 10s and two wins in the first nine races of 2016. Five poles this season, most of 2016 and his most ever in a season. Last top-five finish was second at Kentucky in the lower downforce package for 2017. Best finish at Chicago in 11 starts is second, twice, including last year.

Tony Stewart: Finished 21st or worse in the last four races. Five top-five finishes this season, only had three total in the previous two seasons combined. Three-time Chicago winner with top-10 finishes in 10 of his 14 starts. Finished 18th and 25th in the last two Chicago races.

Kurt Busch: Finished eighth at Richmond, only third top-10 finish in the last 10 races; finished top 10 in 14 of the first 16 races of 2016. Top-10 finishes in the last three races at Chicago, including his best finish of third last year.

Other notes of interesting entering Sunday’s races

  • The driver leading the most laps won only one of the last six races at Chicagoland (Matt Kenseth in 2013).
  • Chicagoland is one of three active tracks that Roush Fenway Racing has not won at (Indianapolis and Kentucky are the other two).
  • Four drivers have won the six races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2016: Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski have two wins
    each; Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr have one win each.
  • Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are the only drivers that have finished in the top 10 in all six races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2016.
  • Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher are only Chase drivers without a top-10 finish at a 1.5-mile track this season.

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole

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Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Sunday Cup race at WWT Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather

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Twelve races remain until the playoffs begin in early September. Ten drivers have won races. The pressure to secure a playoff spot builds as the Cup Series heads into the summer months.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Six-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee will give the command to start engines at 3:32 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:40 p.m. … Driver intros are at 2:55 p.m. … Tim Bounds, pastor at The Crossing Church St. Louis, will give the invocation at 3:24 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Bebe Winans and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 3:25 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 240 laps (300 miles) on the 1.25-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 140.

STARTING LINEUP: Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Fox Sports

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 90 degrees and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Joey Logano won the inaugural Cup race at this track. Kyle Busch was second. Kurt Busch placed third.

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Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway

Cup starting lineup at World Wide Technology Raceway

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Kyle Busch will lead the Cup starting lineup to the green flag in Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.

Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney.

MORE: Cup starting lineup

The second row will have Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. The third row has Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.

Corey LaJoie, driving the No. 9 car in place of the suspended Chase Elliott, qualified 30th after hitting the wall on his lap.

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1.

Kyle Busch wins Cup pole at WWT Raceway

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Kyle Busch collected his first Cup pole of the season and will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Busch last won a Cup pole at Phoenix in November 2019. He earned his 33rd career Cup pole Saturday with a lap of 137.187 mph on the 1.25-mile speedway.

MORE: Cup starting lineup

“Being able to get a pole here with Richard Childress Racing, Team Chevy and everybody on this No. 8 team is good for us and just try to get some momentum rolling,” Busch said. “Our short track stuff hasn’t been the greatest this year so far, but this isn’t the short track aero package here this weekend, so that might pay dividends hopefully for us to just have a better day than what we anticipated. Just excited to have the guys pumped up and raring to go, and knowing that their hard work is paying off.”

Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney, who qualified at 137.153 mph. Blaney’s car failed inspection twice before qualifying. He will lose his pit selection for Sunday’s race. His car chief also was ejected. Brad Keselowski‘s car also failed inspection twice before qualifying. He loses pit selection and had the team’s car chief ejected. Keselowski qualified 19th with a lap of 135.743 mph.

Denny Hamlin (136.903 mph) starts third and is followed by Kevin Harvick (136.766) and Martin Truex Jr. (136.360). Harvick has two top-five starts this season and both have come in the last two events.

“I think we have a little bit of work to do on our car in race trim, but a lot of it is just getting into a rhythm I think – more than anything,” Harvick said. “Qualifying, we were just a little bit tight through Turns 1 and 2, and the car was good in 3 and 4. So, we have to have a better balance, and that’s what probably cost us a little bit of speed to get the pole. But, still a good day and a good starting spot.”

Corey LaJoie, subbing for the suspended Chase Elliott, will start 30th after hitting the wall on his qualifying lap. He qualified at 134.561 mph. Carson Hocevar, making in his Cup debut in LaJoie’s car, qualified 26th with a lap of 135.220 mph.

Green flag for Sunday’s race is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET on FS1.