28 August 2009

Sweet Home Chicago

Ok, Chicago isn't my home, but it's close.  I do spend an inordinate amount of time there, whether it's visiting family or attending Cubs games.  Which is why not attending this weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway hurts.

Granted, I've never been to a race at Chicagoland, but then again, I've never had an outlet from which to convey my impressions of the IndyCar Series.  And now that I do, I figure I should try and make some races, whether they be at Indianapolis (my backyard), Kentucky (just a 2.5-hour drive) or Chicago.  This year, however, it's about saving a little bit of money.  And judging from the amount of good, cheap tickets available online, I should be able to go next year (especially if I can't go to Kentucky because of work).

Anyways, Chicagoland has been one of the IndyCar Series' go-to tracks, along with Texas, for exciting side-by-side racing.  Four of the 10 closest finishes in series history have come at the track, including three of the top five.

With that in mind, along with the push-to-pass system (drivers will get 20 at Chicagoland) and the aerodynamic options introduced at Kentucky, I would expect more of the same exciting racing we saw in early August.  As for who will come out on top, who knows.  Could anyone really have predicted that Ed Carpenter would fall just short of topping Ryan Briscoe at Kentucky?  Or that the Target cars - the ones who helped spearhead the car changes - would struggle with their setup most of the night?

Mix in a three-man battle for the points lead (does anyone really want the points lead at this point, though?  It's been traded around after all but one race this year.), and you have the ingredients to make Chicagoland an intriguing race to watch Saturday night.  Now, it won't help that the race won't start until roughly 9:45 ET (TV coverage on Versus starts at 9 p.m. ET), but hopefully the racing will be such that the highlights will be splashed on TV the following morning for those who can't stay up late.

As for me, I'll be up late, beer in hand, wishing I was at Chicagoland.

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