Chicagoland

CM Punk PUMPS…YOU…UP for NASCAR on NBC Sports (Video)

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“You want to be the best in the world? Well guess what…so does everybody else.”

That’s how CM Punk opens his NASCAR primer ahead of coverage returning to NBC Sports this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois and continuing throughout the rest of the regular season and entirety of the playoffs.

Coverage begins on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and streaming live via the NBC Sports app.

With only 10 races remaining in the regular season, the push for the playoffs is officially on. As CM Punk ends the video above, “what are [drivers] going to do to be the one standing at the top when it’s all said and done?”

The wait is over. We all get to find out starting this weekend.

Erik Jones completes weekend sweep, wins Owens Corning AttiCat 300 Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Ill. – Erik Jones passed Ryan Blaney with 10 laps to go and held on to complete a weekend sweep, winning Sunday’s Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jones won from the pole in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series at Iowa Speedway, and then doubled up in Sunday’s race, which had been postponed by rain from its originally scheduled time on Saturday night.

Just like he did at Iowa, Jones dominated once again, leading a race-high 94 laps of the 200-lap event, earning his second Xfinity win of the season.

It was a year ago at Chicagoland that Jones made his Xfinity Series debut, finishing seventh.

Blaney finished second, followed by pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan and Chris Buescher.

Ross Kenseth, son of NASCAR veteran Matt Kenseth, started on the outside pole and finished a very strong sixth, followed by Daniel Suarez, Brian Scott, Ty Dillon and Darrell Wallace Jr.

MORE: Owens Corning AttiCat 300 race results at Chicagoland

MORE: Chris Buescher remains atop Xfinity standings after Chicagoland

How Erik Jones won: It wasn’t like Jones stole the win away from Ryan Blaney. Jones led nearly half the race, a total of 94 of 200 laps. But it was with 10 laps to go that he made his winning move, getting past Blaney and sailing away to victory. In a sense, Jones completed what he started in last year’s race at Chicagoland, finishing seventh in his Xfinity Series debut.

Others who had a good day: Even though he lost the lead with 10 laps to go, Ryan Blaney still had an outstanding run, finishing second. “We were just too tight to run with the 54 (Erik Jones),” Blaney said. “I hurt us real bad by wrecking my primary yesterday.” Still, Blaney was able to mount a strong run with his back-up car, leading 43 laps. … Ross Kenseth had a very successful Xfinity Series debut, starting on the outside pole and finished sixth. “For a one-off deal like this, I was happy,” Kenseth said. “Hopefully, we can do it again.”

Who had a bad day: Having won at Chicagoland last season, Chase Elliott was hoping for a repeat Sunday. As it turned out, he finished 14th, leaving him winless through the first 14 races this season. It was Elliott’s third-worst finish of the season (worst was 37th at Talladega), but he remains third in the Xfinity Series points standings. … Even though NASCAR officials radioed that pit road was open on Lap 152, the indicator light at the entrance to pit road was still red. A total of 22 cars came onto pit road nevertheless and all were penalized for pitting when pit road was closed by being sent to the rear of the lead lap.

Notable: Richard Childress Racing put all four of its drivers in the top 10: Austin Dillon (third), Brendan Gaughan (fourth), Brian Scott (eighth) and Ty Dillon (ninth). … This was the 14th race of the Xfinity Series season. With next weekend off, the series will then begin a stretch of 16 straight weeks of racing at Daytona on July 4. The series has two consecutive weekends off (Oct. 24 and 31) late in the season before finishing with the final three races of 2015. … Daniel Suarez recovered from the car fire he experienced in Saturday’s ARCA race at Chicagoland to finish seventh. It was a big bounce back after finishing 31st, 18th, 6th, 19th and 20th in the previous five races. … 2014 K&N Pro Series East champ Ben Rhodes made his second career Xfinity Series Sunday, finishing 21st.

Quote of the day: “That’s three wins for me this week. That’s pretty awesome.” – Race winner Erik Jones, who won a Late Model race this past Tuesday at Berlin Raceway in his native Michigan, followed by Friday’s Truck Series win at Iowa and Sunday’s win at Chicagoland.

What’s next: The Xfinity Series is off next weekend before starting a string of 16 consecutive races. The next race on the schedule is the Subway Firecracker 250 on July 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

If Dale Jr. wins Daytona 500, you could get your ticket money back for Chase opener at Chicagoland

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Chicagoland Speedway is putting its money where its mouth is — and its faith in Dale Earnhardt Jr.

If Earnhardt wins the Feb. 22 season-opening Daytona 500, fans who purchase tickets for this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland will get their money back.

But there’s one small catch:

If you’ve already purchased your Chase opener tickets, you’re out of luck.

But if you buy your tickets between today (Feb. 11) and by Noon of the day of the 500 (Feb. 22), you will qualify to get your money back if Junior wins The Great American Race for the second consecutive season and for the third time in his career.

The key to get your cold, hard cash back is to buy a single-day ticket for the Chase race only, not a weekend ticket. Also, you must buy a ticket for a seat in sections A-I (all rows in sections 101 through 118 and sections 401 through 417).

Of course, if Junior fails to win the 500, the speedway gets to keep your money.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com, call 1-888-629-RACE or buy in person at the track office Monday through Friday.

Follow @JerryBonkowski