THE GREEN FLAG FLIES AT THE START OF THE 2017 SOMETHING-SOMETHING-SOMETHING NINJA TURTLES 400 AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY. IMAGE COURTESY OF RACINGNEWS.COM
Coming to a worn-out, 1.5-mile-long Illinois Speedway near you is the Overton's 400 race in the Monster Energy NASCAR series.
Last year's winner was Martin Truex Jr, who (I hope, anyway, he might be wanting to sit this race out, vegetate on the couch, and play Minecraft all weekend instead for all we know) is seeking to be a repeat winner, and unseat former driver and Stewart-Haas team owner Tony Stewart's crown of having the most wins at Chicagoland Speedway (3 wins).
This race will be held on one of NASCAR's infamous 1.5-mile-long tracks, which usually does not produce stellar racing, but does create monster leads for whoever is in front, if you're into watching that sort of thing. F1 racing here of late creates gigantic leads for whoever is in front, and according to Liberty Media, fans apparently can't get enough of that, so I don't know why this wouldn't be a hit.
This weekend just might be entirely different, however, as this race used to be at the start of the 10-event Monster Energy "Chase for the Championship (and additional sponsorship dollars)", and temperatures were typically cooler, as was fan interest in this event, due to this event previously being held in September, usually after school had gone back into session.
It was moved to this weekend (July 1), which will change the makeup of the race, as theoretically-warmer temperatures will transform the already ancient asphalt into a hot and greasy surface. It is also hoped that the change in date will also generate larger crowds, but that remains to be seen.
Due to this changes in track condition (increased temperature, for example), tire management will be the key to winning this race, as it's entirely possible to lose two or three seconds in lap time towards the end of a green flag run, due to the tires experiencing significant wear as the cars go through their load of fuel.
As a result, the drivers will be balancing the need to preserve tires (by running slower lap times), to pulling into the pits as often as possible for fresh rubber.
The race will be available to watch online through NBC Sports.
1. This will also be the transition from Fox Sports to NBC Sports, and also the broadcast booth introduction to Dale Earnhardt Jr. We'll see as to whether or not he is any good in there, but seeing as how Jeff Gordon hasn't worked out too badly, this might be a good thing for the multi-time-race-winner-but-never-won-a-NASCAR-championship former NASCAR driver.
2. The late Indycar Championship winner and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon still holds the fastest lap record of any driver at Chicagoland. But seeing as how the Indycar series no longer runs at this track, and NASCAR vehicles aren't very likely to ever eclipse the laptimes of Indycars, Dan Wheldon will forever be King of Chicagoland Speedway, God rest his soul.