By HEATHER WILLIAMS
1:36 PM CDT, September 14, 2012
Chicago may be the Second City, but it's first up in the Chase for the Championship. Getting off to a good start at the Chicagoland Speedway is critical, not only because it's first race of the chase, but also because it's the first of five 1.5 mile tracks in the championship.
"You want to come out of the gate strong and get the best possible result you can," said Jeff Gordon. "If that's a win, great, if that's fifth, great. A lot can happen during the Chase. To me, 10 weeks is a lot of racing. More than a lot of people think."
And most of the drivers agree, that getting what you can and then getting out is the approach to take this weekend. As you will hear a thousand times this week, you can't win the title in week one, but you could lose it.
"I think it's pretty important to get off to a good start in the Chase," said Martin Truex, Jr. "I don't think it's devastating if you don't but I think it's important to get the momentum heading in the right direction."
Last year Tony Stewart won at Chicagoland, giving him that much needed momentum Truex talks about, and it helped him win the chase. But he says, that doesn't mean much this season.
"What was good the last time you were there doesn't mean it's going to be good the second time around," said Stewart. "You constantly have to work. You've got to keep pushing the envelope. It's a place I like. This place is really getting racy as far as finally being able to move around and change lines and run anywhere from the bottom to the top. It's a fun track because of that."
I might also be fun for Smoke, because he is good in Chicago. He has three wins there. Other chasers with windy city wins include Kevin Harvick (2), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and David Ruetimann also have wins at the track, which oh by the way isn't really in Chicago. It's actually just outside Joliet, but I guess it's close enough.
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