JOLIET, Ill. - It's another hot humid day in the Chicago area with scattered thunderstorms, which will hopefully be gone by the time the green flag flies at 7 p.m. central time. There are a bunch of nervous drivers and crew chiefs in the garage area not knowing exactly how this new Sprint Cup car will handle on this track, especially at night since there were no Sprint Cup practices held under the track's new lighting system.
Brian Vickers called Friday night's race the most important Nationwide Series race of the year as it turned into a perfect test session for a number of drivers who will be doing double duty this weekend. Although the two series' cars are now completely different, track attributes will be very similar from Friday night to Saturday which should give the Cup guys who raced last night a definite advantage.
Most crew chiefs are nodding to Kyle Busch as a fvaorite tonight, a no-brainer when you take into consideration what he's done all season as well as his dominating performance of last night. Maybe 1-B on the favorite list according to the buzz in the garage is Tony Stewart, who has won at Chicagoland before and now that the news of his future plans are out of the way can concentrate on simply driving the race car. Stewart usually goes on a hot streak at this time of the year and now with some extra incentive for Smoke and best friend/crew chief Greg Zipadelli to go out in a blaze of glory in the final 18 races together, the No. 20 car could be one to watch beginning tonight.
The other group getting a lot of attention is Roush Fenway Racing, which put all five of its drivers near the front of the speed charts in Friday's practice sessions. Roush and Ford have been shutout at Chicagoland in the previous seven races held here but Saturday night could be the breakthrough.
One thing is for sure, most everyone here including drivers, crew chiefs, fans and media members want this race to get in tonight for a rare Sunday off followed by the final off-weekend of the season,