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Snapshot: Nationwide Series at Chicagoland

July 18, 2014, Brad Norman,

Catch up quickly before Saturday's running of the 300

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What: Fourth annual 300
Where: Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Illinois
When: Saturday, July 18
TV/Radio: ESPN2, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (8:30 p.m. ET)
Distance: 200 laps; 300 miles

Pit road speed: 45 mph
Caution car speed: 55 mph
Fuel window: 74 laps

Last July's race winner
Joey Logano, Team Penske No. 22 Ford

Front row
1. Brian Scott, Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet (177.807 mph)
2. Ty Dillon, Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet (177.643 mph)

Fastest in practice
First practice:
Brian Scott, Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet (172.806 mph)
Second practice: Cale Conley, Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet (175.262mph)


He said it: "Nah, I'm not nervous. Not at all." -- Erik Jones, 18, who will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut.

He said it II: "This is a cool stretch. A couple years ago I ran 28 races in 30 days or something, so I've been really busy before." -- Kyle Larson, who will race in four NASCAR national series races in a span of eight days. 

The favorite?: The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won here last September, and although the car is back, the driver is not. Kyle Busch is off this weekend, but don't expect any sort of letup from this team or part-time Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. In four series starts this year, Hornish has one win and three top-fives. His average Chicagoland finish of 4.8 over the past nine years is the best in the series.

Dillon's day?: Ty Dillon is the only driver in the Nationwide Series to have finished in the top 20 of all 17 races this season. Can that streak continue? His speeds Friday would indicate yes, but the No. 3 team is searching for more. 

Smith playing catch-up: Regan Smith's No. 7 team hasn't had the same success on intermediate tracks that his JR Motorsports teammates have enjoyed. Admitting that was an area on which he could improve, Smith finished 15th and 17th in Friday's two practices. 

Welcome, Cup friends: The spotlight is on the NASCAR Nationwide Series this week with the Sprint Cup drivers on an off week. Well, most of the Sprint Cup drivers. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson are in the field, and the NNS regulars are happy to see them.

On cloud nine: The past nine Nationwide Series races have yielded a different winner, a streak stretching back to Elliott Sadler's win at Talladega on May 3.

Former Chicagoland winners in the field
Elliott Sadler (1)


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