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Everything That Happened in the Xfinity Race At Chicago

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What’s Happening

On this July 4th weekend, NASCAR heads back to the Windy City to race in the streets of downtown Chicago! That’s right! NASCAR’s back in Chicago (despite the whining of some prude journalists) and it’s the NASCAR Xfinity Series who are kicking off this weekend’s show. Luckily this year, it doesn’t appear that rain is going to muck things up! We’re sunny skies in the Windy City this year and we couldn’t be happier about it. Who was strong today and who struggled? Let’s talk about it. Here’s everything that went down in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race on the streets of Chicago.

You Need To Know:

  • Shane van Gisbergen started on the pole for today’s race and he was, by far and away, the favorite to win. Also showing some serious speed in qualifying were Kyle Larson in the Hendrick Motorsports #17 and Connor Mosack driving the JR Motorsports #88. They were all looking to take down SVG today as was his teammate in A. J. Allmendinger. The Dinger has grown tired of being outshined by SVG on these road courses. Did he have anything for SVG today? He rolled off in the 11th spot.
  • The was clear early in this race that this race was going to be settled between Kyle Larson and SVG. Throughout the opening stage of the race, the #17 and #97 swapped the lead back and forth like they were playing Hot Potato. SVG was able to power by the #17 on the last lap, though, to win the stage. Pit strategy cost the two the second stage but, in the end, SVG could not be denied.
  • Fans tend to like SVG overall. His win today proved very popular amongst the fanbase with many fans speculating that he could sweep the weekend.

The Finish

When the race restarted to kick off the final stage, Jesse Love battled hard against his teammate Austin Hill and took the lead. Ty Gibbs in the 19 took advantage and filed into 2nd as Hill slipped back to 3rd. Meanwhile, the two fastest cars, now mired back in traffic, continued their intense battle. SVG was able to best Larson and separate himself from the number 17 by 2 spots. SVG ran 6th and Larson ran 9th at the time of caution for a stack up in the back of the pack.

The race restarted with just 11 laps to go. Jesse Love aggressively pulled away from the number 19 of Ty Gibbs as Austin Hill took advantage and retook 2nd. Before the lap could be completed, the number 50 of Preston Pardus stalled, causing a caution. Meanwhile, somebody got into the back of the number 9 of Brandon Jones, sending him around.

This got the field all bunched up again. The race restarted then with 8 laps to go. Love again defended the lead aggressively against Ty Gibbs who overtook Hill for second. Gibbs then sat his sights on Jesse Love. The two were trailed by Sheldon Creed in 3rd and SVG in 4th. Creed and SVG battled aggressively which eventually saw the number 97 take 3rd away. It then quickly became a 3-car race for the win.

SVG made several attempts to pass Gibbs but the number 19 kept blocking aggressively. This led to SVG getting into the wall and losing all the time he made up. He was, however, able to hold onto 3rd. The caution flew yet again with under 6 laps to go as Leland Honeyman in the number 42 got into the tire barrier.

The race restarted with 3 laps to go. Love had another great restart as SVG passed Ty Gibbs for 2nd. Van Gisbergen then set his sights on leader Jesse Love. In Turn 7, SVG overtook Love for the lead with Gibbs going through to 2nd. Also on the move was Kyle Larson, who marched his way up to 3rd with 2 laps to go. He was 3 seconds behind the two leaders but quickly started to chip away at that lead. But it was too little, too late

As SVG took the white flag, he started to pull away to over a second lead ahead of Ty Gibbs. He continued his dominance and marched straight for victory lane. This was SVG’s third win on the year and of his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He earned a total of 51 points in today’s race plus 6 playoff points.

Congratulations to your Chicago Xfinity Series winner, SVG, and the whole Kaulig number 97 team.

The Layout

Per Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports, this was a short 50-laper. The stage breakdown was as follows.

  • Stage 1: 15-Laps
  • Stage 2: 15-Laps
  • Stage 3: 20-Laps

The average fuel run was somewhere between 29-32 laps so, realistically, only 1 pit stop was required to make it to the finish as long as the tires held up. Teams were granted 4 sets of Goodyear rubber.

Also per Bob Pockrass, going to the rear were:

  • Kyl Weatherman (rear adjustments)
  • Justin Allgaier (backup car)
  • Dawson Kram (backup car)
  • John Hunter Nemechek (engine change)
  • Sheldon Creed (engine change)
  • Parker Kligerman (engine change)
  • Kyle Sieg (engine change)
  • Ryan Sieg (unapproved adjustments)
  • Daniel Suarez (unapproved adjustments)

The Bushwackers

There were several Cup Series regulars who were looking to gain a little extra track time in the Windy City. Those drivers included:

  • Joey Logano (AM Racing #15)
  • Kyle Larson (HMS #17)
  • Ty Gibbs (JGR #19)
  • Joe Hunter Nemechek (JGR #20)
  • Daniel Suarez (DGM Racing #36)

SVG and Larson Swap The Lead To Settle Stage 1

The race started off with an aggressive battle for the lead between Shane van Gisbergen and Kyle Larson. The #17 briefly took the lead in the opening lap before SVG snatched it back. SVG led the opening 3 laps prior to Larson swapping back into the lead. The #17 led a few laps before he overdrove Turn 12 and SVG took advantage, retaking the lead.

The lightening quick pace of the race was interrupted by a caution for debris following a spin by the #38 of Matt DiBenedetto. With a little bit of time to catch their breath and let the tires cool down, the race restarted on Lap 11 and the #17 and the #97 went back at it. Kyle Larson drove deep into Turn 1, briefly taking the lead before SVG muscled it away from him. They swapped again with 5 laps remaining in the stage. As those two battled up front, a few drivers had some issues. Battling for the 11th position, Riley Herbst squeezed Sheldon Creed into the wall. Creed didn’t take too kindly to it and, in response, spun the number 98 around in the next turn. Meanwhile, Justin Allgier spun out trying to get to pit road from the 24th position. No caution was thrown for either incident.

While all that craziness was going on, Larson and SVG separated themselves to settle the stage win amongst themselves. On the final lap of the stage, SVG powered by Larson. He went onto win the stage.

With this stage win, SVG adds 10 points to his standings total as well as 1 playoff point to benefit him in the postseason. Also gaining valuable stage points were:

  • Cole Custer (6 pts)
  • A. J. Allmendinger (5 pts)
  • Jesse Love (4 pts)
  • Austin Hill (3 pts)
  • Sam Mayer (2 pts)
  • Parker Kligerman (1 pt)

Austin Hill Disrupts The Larson/SVG Show

When the race restarted to start the second stage, Larson once again drove deep into Turn 1 to take the lead away from SVG. Gisbergen filled in behind him with a new contender in A. J. Allmendinger slipping into 3rd. Larson and SVG were able to separate themselves slightly from the 16 of Allmendinger as they continued to race each other aggressively. Larson came out on top this time heading into the first caution of the stage, which saw A. J. Allmendinger lose it and get into the tire barrier.

Following the caution, the leaders came down pit road for some fresh Goodyear rubber. 16 cars, however, stayed out. Sammy Smith and Austin Hill inherited the lead with 5-laps to go in the stage. After the stage restarted, Austin Hill rocketed out front and started to pull away from S. Smith, Jesse Love, and Justin Allgaier. Larson and SVG were able to work their ways up to 10th and 11th respectively as their battle continued to rage on.

Hill went on to win the second stage, upsetting Larson’s and SVG’s dominance. With this stage win, he receives 10 points and 1 playoff point. Other regulars receiving points this stage are:

  • Sammy Smith (9 pts)
  • Jesse Love (8 pts)
  • Justin Allgaier (7pts)
  • Sheldon Creed (6 pts)
  • Parker Kligerman (4pts)
  • Sam Mayer (3 pts)
  • Shane van Gisbergen (1 pt)

Around The Garage

Engine Issues For JGR

A story early in this race was the engine changes for Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. Prior to the green flag of today’s race, both the #20 of John Hunter Nemechek and the #18 of Sheldon Creed had to go to the rear for changing engines. After the green flag, about 10-laps into the race, JGR teammate Chandler Smith came over the radio to inform his #81 team that he, too, was blowing up. That’s 3 JGR engine issues today alone. As you can imagine, Smith was very upset and disappointed at his early retirement from today’s race. On the bright side, he has those 2 wins to fall back on so he’ll still easily be in the playoffs later this year.

A. J. Allmendinger Loses It

Slowly but surely, A. J. Allmendinger was able to scratch and claw his way towards the front throughout Stage 1. After a quick pit stop, Allmendinger found himself in the top-5. Upon the green flag to kick off Stage 2, Allmendinger found himself in the 3rd position. It was difficult for him to keep up with the two leaders and, with 8 laps to go in the stage, he made a rare mistake. He overdrove a corner and spun, getting hard into the tire barrier. The impact caused significant damage to the rear of the number 16 Chevy. You can watch Allmendinger lose it in the video below.

Stack Up Towards The Back of the Pack

The first caution of the final stage came just a few laps in as there was a major stack up in the back of the pack. Involved in the incident were the #31 of Parker Retzlaff, the #26 of Sage Karam, the #5 of Anthony Alfredo, and the #28 of Kyle Sieg. This caused heavy damage to the front ends of the cars involved. You can watch the debacle in the clip below.

Conclusion

Well, Daily Downforce readers, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the streets of Chicago is officially in the books. How many of you are surprised that SVG was able to triumph today in a big way? I’m not. But, what do you think his odds are of sweeping the weekend? Does SVG break out the broom tomorrow or does Kyle Larson or someone else break up that dream? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on all our socials.

Be sure to tune back in right here at DailyDownforce.com tomorrow for our coverage of the Grant Park 165 from the Streets of Chicago.

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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