This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
This Sunday afternoon the stars of NASCAR will head to the Windy City and Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 400. The 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Ill., boasts the same characteristics of many of the intermediate ovals on the circuit, but with a twist. Whereas Charlotte, Texas and Atlanta are steeply banked, Chicagoland Speedway is somewhat less banked. Turns 1 through 4 provide 18-degree banking, which gives the drivers some high speeds but also heightened handling sensitivity. The front stretch has 11 degree banking and the back stretch has very flat 5-degree banking. The groove is limited in width and passing is a lot trickier than most tri-ovals as a result.
The crew chiefs will be challenged this weekend to give their drivers a car that will handle comfortably enough for the drivers to push them to the edge and make the tough pass. If you have a handling issue at Chicago's oval, you won't be able to man-handle the car like we saw recently at the much more forgiving Charlotte Motor Speedway. No, a driver with an ill-handling car at this oval has to drive patiently until a pit stop and adjustments can be made.
Since this will be our first and only race of the season at Chicago, we need to visit the recent historical statistics for this oval. While Chicagoland Speedway is similar to many of the intermediate ovals on the circuit, it still has enough characteristics which make it unique. So we'll need to study the