It is no secret that Kevin Harvick (with wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Kansas) and Kyle Busch (Texas and Charlotte) have won all five races on 1.5-mile tracks this year. Martin Truex Jr. won on the two-mile Auto Club Speedway, so the question this week is: What will it take to beat the Big 3 at Chicagoland Speedway.
“You’ve got to be able to get through the bump in turn 3 and 4,” Earnhardt said. “You heard Alex Bowman talk about it’s a punch in the gut. It really is one of the more violent bumps in the series on any racetrack. So getting through there, you’re gonna try all day during practice to get your car comfortable across that bump.”
Finding a more comfortable place to run might be one of the catalysts for seeking a better groove, and the driver who does that best – and at the right time – has a chance to beat the three drivers who have dominated the season.
Success will be had by “the guy that can run all over the racetrack,” Earnhardt continued. “Some guys are gonna be really good just on the bottom or really good round on the top. But the track, the evolution of the groove and where you need to be running, sort of changes throughout the day.”
The knowledge needed to make the right adjustment starts in practice, which will come at a premium this week as the Cup series has only two days on track before the running of the Overton’s 400.
“Track time is always important,” Burton said. “It may be less important today than it used to be with all the technology. But at a track like this, with the bumps, the slickness, all of those things – they’re very difficult to simulate at home on a computer or a simulator.”
For more, watch the video above.