Lucas Oil 225 Preview: Cakewalk for Kyle Busch? Don’t Count on It

Lucas Oil 225 Preview: Cakewalk for Kyle Busch? Don’t Count on It

by September 12, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images

JOLIET, Ill. — Are you expecting a runaway performance by Kyle Busch tonight at Chicagoland Speedway? You shouldn’t be.

The sixth running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland is scheduled to kick off tonight at 7:30 p.m CST and will feature 150 laps of pulse-pounding, white-knuckle action.

While Busch has a nearly perfect record of three wins at Chicagoland in the Truck Series in four starts and an average finish of 2.0, the 40-time series race winner is up against some stiff competition in tonight’s 225-mile race.

In last year’s running of the Lucas Oil 225, Busch would wage a hard-fought battle with Brad Keselowski Racing’s Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney to pick up the win. Of the two BKR teammates from last year, only Blaney is entered for tonight’s race and comes into Chicagoland with plenty of momentum off of his win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. At Kentucky – a track similar in layout to Chicagoland – earlier this year, Blaney came home with a strong third-place finish. At Texas – a D-shaped 1.5-mile oval – the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford recorded a fourth-place finish that included leading 45 of 167 completed laps.

ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter are ready to make a challenge for tonight’s win as well.

Both Crafton and Sauter have nearly identical records at Chicagoland, with two top-fives and four top-10s in five races on both drivers’ official record at the 1.5-mile speedway. Comparing the two teammates, Crafton would have the overall edge over his points-leading teammate, possessing an average finish of 7.2 to Sauter’s 9.4.

In recent years, Crafton has been much more consistent at Chicagoland with two fourth-place finishes coming in the last two years at Chicagoland. In comparison, Sauter’s last two finishes at Chicagoland have been a 22nd-place result and a 10th-place result. With momentum at Chicagoland on his side, Crafton has a great opportunity to not only get the win tonight, but to chip away a large amount of points from Sauter’s lead.

In tonight’s race, only two former Chicagoland winners are entered for tonight’s Lucas Oil 225 – Busch and the 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion, Austin Dillon.

Dillon will race in NTS Motorsports’ No. 20 Chevrolet tonight with Rheem sponsorship adorning the hood of his Silverado. Dillon returns to Chicagoland, a track that has been very kind to him in the past, with one goal – to win his second Camping World Truck Series race of the season.

Dillon has been incredibly consistent at Chicagoland in the past, with three top-10 finishes coming in three races. Outside of his win here in 2011, Dillon has a ninth-place finish that came in his Chicagoland debut in 2010 and a seventh-place finish that came with NTS Motorsports last year.

As Michigan proved this year, Busch is not invincible in the Camping World Truck Series as that race broke a five-race winning streak that Busch had going this season. Busch’s fifth-place finish in the Careers for Veterans 200 should provide the rest of the field with plenty of optimism to challenge for the win tonight.


Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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