For a little twist this Sunday, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will take center stage for the STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The opportunity for the points leaders like Regan Smith, Sam Hornish Jr. and Austin Dillon to showcase their skills is evident, but also up-and-coming drivers like Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman also get to take advantage of the exposure.
Young standout Larson leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and is currently seventh in series standings 48 points behind leader Smith. Larson continues to impress fans and media alike. His past two starts on 1.5-mile tracks has resulted in top-10 finishes. Larson also has a season-to-date Driver Rating of 89.0 and an Average Running Position of 13.6.
Another driver on the rise is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brian Vickers. Flying high on his momentum from winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in New Hampshire last weekend, Vickers promised his NNS sponsors a win is coming soon. Watch for him to possibly break through and visit Victory Lane for the first time this season. Vickers has made four series starts at Chicago posting three top fives and an average finish of 10.3.
Joey Logano will be the only full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver participating this weekend. He sat on the Coors Light pole for this event last season. In total he has made four starts at Chicago posting one win (2009), two top fives and three top 10s. Without a doubt, expect Logano to contend this weekend; his pre-race Driver Rating is 119.2 – third-best in the series.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader Matt Crafton will mark his return to the series this weekend. Crafton finished third in his series debut earlier this year at Kentucky Speedway. Chicagoland Speedway, like Kentucky, is a 1.5-mile speedway; though the configurations are different. Crafton has already proven he is good on intermediate layouts.