2012 Geico 400 Predictions
JOLIET, IL (ATS Consultants) - It's Chase time. The Chase for the Sprint Cup starts on Sunday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., with the Geico 400 offering up the first NASCAR betting opportunity of the circuit's playoff schedule.
Denny Hamlin leads the way atop the adjusted driver standings heading into the Chase with 2012 points thanks to his series-leading four wins this season. That has him just ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Brad Keselowski, who each won three races and sit at 2009 points. Stewart (2011,2007, 2004) and Kevin Harvick (2002, 2001) lead the way with multiple wins apiece on the track. Chicagoland Speedway is a 1.5-mile, D-shaped oval.
It has 18 degrees of banking in the corners, 11 degrees on the front stretch, and 5 degrees on the back stretch. Kansas, Las Vegas and Kentucky Speedway are all similar to Chicagoland.
Gordon has great momentum heading into Chicago. In his last two races at Chicago, he finished second and third. Many counted Gordon out of the top 12 a couple months ago. You could argue that no driver has been as good as Gordon over the last three weeks. While he hasn't won a race, he has finished in the top 3 in three straight events, including back-to-back runner-up finishes.
Not a lot of people are talking about Harvick heading into the final 10 races of the season, but he certainly deserves at look at Chicago. He hasn't won here since capturing his second straight title on this track in 2002, but he was the runner-up to Stewart at this race a year ago and has finished in the Top 5 six times on this track.
Jamie McMurray has made two starts here at Chicago since joining Earnhardt-Ganassi in 2010. In his first race with them (in 2010), he won the pole and led 72 laps before ending up 5th. Last year, he qualified 14th and was running there or better all race until his engine gave up around lap 160. He finished 8th at Las Vegas earlier this year and ended up 14th and 15th at Kansas and Kentucky, respectively.
2012 Geico 400 Race Information
Race Date: Sunday, September 16
Location: Chicagoland Speedway
Start Time: 1:30pmET
Green Flag: Approx. 2:16PM ET
TV Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: Motor Racing Network (MRN/Sirius NASCAR Radio)
Track Type: 1.5 miles 267 laps, 400 miles
2011 Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 143.306mph
2010 David Reutimann, Toyota, 145.138mph (race record)
2009 Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 133.819mph
2008 Kyle Busch, Toyota, 133.996mph
2007 Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 134.258mph
Last year's top 5
1. Tony Stewart (Start: 26)
2. Kevin Harvick (30)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19)
4. Carl Edwards (5)
5. Kurt Busch (3)