Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/9/14

 

Illinois Natives Allgaier, Patrick Light Up Their Home State

Expect the cheers at driver introductions to be extra loud for Illinois natives Justin Allgaier and Danica Patrick this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway for the STP 300. Both Allgaier and Patrick are securely in the top 10 in NASCAR Nationwide Series points 17 races into the season.  

Allgaier, from Riverview, Ill., had a popular win at Chicagoland in this race last year when he coasted across the finish line ahead of Carl Edwards after both drivers ran out of fuel. It was Turner Motorsports’ first win in the NNS.

Currently fifth in the standings 73 points out of first, Allgaier is still in the mix but is close to being in a now-or-never scenario as far as his championship hopes. He’s on a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes – and seven in his last eight races – including his first top fives of the year, fifths at Dover and Kentucky. In four career races at Chicago, Allgaier has three top-10 finishes. He has a pre-race Driver Rating of 97.8 and an Average Running Position of 9.9.

Patrick hails from Roscoe, Ill., and finished 10th in this event last season. She is currently ninth in the standings, 215 points back from leader Elliott Sadler coming off a solid run at New Hampshire, where she finished 14th.

Halfway Point: Championship Races Continue To Get Better With ‘Pick-A-Series’ Rule

Since the advent last year of the “pick-a-series” rule where drivers in NASCAR’s national series declare the series in which they’ll accumulate championship points, the NNS has had consecutive seasons during which the championship has been its closest at the midway point since 2005. Then, 79 points separated first through fourth in the rankings. At this stage last year, the top four were within 37 points of the leader. From 2006-10 (under a different point system), an average of 474 points were between first and fourth place at the halfway mark.

As the series heads to the first of two races at Chicagoland Speedway, the contenders list is growing with three drivers within 32 points of the lead. Elliott Sadler has a three-point advantage over Austin Dillon, his Richard Childress Racing teammate. Reigning series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 16 points back while resurgent Sam Hornish Jr., 32 points behind, is very much still in the hunt.

 Among those, Dillon, 22, may be poised for the biggest second half. With a series-leading 10 top fives and tied with Sadler atop the leaderboard with 13 top 10s, the Sunoco rookie keeps fighting despite point penalties that may have destroyed the confidence of other young drivers. He’ll make his series track debut at Chicago but has great notes after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race there last fall. That win was key in his championship run.

But don’t count out Sadler or Stenhouse just yet. Sadler’s consistency is unmatched; he has a series-leading season-to-date Average Running Position of 7.437 and Driver Rating of 106.4. He has made five starts at Chicago, posting a best finish of sixth last fall. Stenhouse, on the other hand, has finally righted his ship rallying off three consecutive top-10 finishes. He has made three starts at Chicago with an average finish of 13.6.

Dash 4 Cash Heavyweights Ready To Fight For The Prize In Round Two

 Chicagoland hosts the second of four consecutive NNS “Dash 4 Cash” races where the highest finisher (not necessarily the winner) among the four eligible drivers for this race – Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Sam Hornish and Elliott Sadler – will take home a $100,000 bonus in addition to his race purse. Indianapolis and Iowa round out the 2012 D4C races.

Dillon won the first $100,000 D4C bonus last week at New Hampshire with his third-place finish, best among the eligible drivers.

When asked what he would do with the money, Dillon said with a chuckle, “I think I am going to get a pool. Maybe I’ll be smart like my grandpa (Richard Childress) and invest it somehow.”  

Dillon is the remaining driver with a chance at $1 million should he capture the bonus at Chicago and the Brickyard on July 28 and then win outright at Iowa. The bonus winner from Chicago automatically advances to Indianapolis. The next three highest finishers among series regulars from Chicago also are eligible for the bonus at Indianapolis.

NASCAR Nationwide Series, Etc.

Penske Racing announced this week that Ryan Blaney has joined the organization and will compete in the No. 22 Dodge in selected NNS events. First up is Iowa Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 4, then Richmond International Raceway and Kentucky Speedway. …  NNS all-time wins leader Kyle Busch is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver competing in the NNS this weekend at Chicago. He leads the series in wins at Chicago with two.  … “It’s going to be a little different racing on Sunday but it will put us in front of a large audience, which will be pretty exciting,” Jason Bowles said. His MacDonald Motorsports has never been inside the top 20 in the owner standings this far into the season. … Former NNS crew chief for Trevor Bayne and Roush Fenway Racing, Chad Norris, has been called up to take the place of Bob Osborne in the NSCS for Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team.

NASCAR PR

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Riley Curry steals show at postgame news conference

Warriors beat Rockets in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals

Kentucky fan in Louisville has 38-1 sticker on car

Nick Kyrgios talks sex before tourneys, dating female players

Jared Dudley: 'Melo is most overrated player in NBA

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.