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By Micah Roberts
Posted 09/14/2012 at 11:04 PM

Kyle Busch laid down the fastest lap during Friday’s final practice session at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Geico 400. Busch’s lap at 181.507 mph on the final of his 40 laps run was considerably faster than what he showed in the first session when posting the 28th fastest lap. ---------------- Busch may not be one of the 12 drivers running for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title that begins this week, but he can still try to salvage something with hopes of carrying momentum into next year. The best sign of all that Busch, who won at Chicago in 2008, may be a contender this week beyond his fast single lap time is that he had the second fastest 10-consecutive lap average. ------------- Aric Almirola was second fastest in the final 90-minute session followed by 2009 Chicago winner Mark Martin, Carl Edwards and Chase leader Denny Hamlin. -------------- Hamlin has all the signs of looking like a winner this week and his stellar practices emphasize the point even more. He’s finished third or better with two wins at the past four 1.5-mile tracks and during Friday’s practices, he finished within the top-5 of both sessions. He was also fourth or better in the 10-consecutive lap category during both sessions. -------------- Martin Truex Jr. was fastest in the first 90-minute session, but fell to 25th fastest in the final session. Truex Jr. should be considered one of the top candidates to win this week just because of all his success in 1.5-mile tracks this season. At Kansas in April, probably the track most similar to Chicagoland, he finished runner-up in a race he thoroughly dominated. ------------- Kasey Kahne was sixth fastest in the final session and had the top 10-consecutive lap average among the 24 drivers that attempted at least 10 straight laps. Kahne’s best performances on 1.5-tracks this season was a win at Charlotte and runner-up at Kentucky. The car he's using this week is the same one he won with at Charlotte. ------------- Dale Earnhardt Jr struggled in the final session with the 31st fastest lap, but was second fastest in the first session while running in qualifying trim. Don‘t put too much into Junior’s final times because he was fast with average speeds, fifth fastest in 10-consecutive lap average. He's been good on these type of tracks all season and is the only driver to finish 10th or better on all six 1.5-mile tracks. ------------- The other Hendrick drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, finished seventh and 10th respectively during the final session. Gordon is carrying a lot of momentum into this race and has a an average finish of 10th at Chicago including a 2006 win. Chicago remains one of the few tracks Johnson has never won at, but has performed well with a couple runner-up finishes. Johnson comes into this race with a chassis that has never lost. Two starts and two wins. ------------ Tony Stewart is a three-time Chicago winner with the best average finish position (8.7) in track history. He has struggled on the 1.5-mile tracks since winning at Las Vegas in March, but showed some speed in both practices, being 12th quickest in the first session and 14th fastest in the final session. ------------- Despite what we may perceive to be struggling with Stewart, he is one driver on the tour that poor practice times, or running poorly on a type of track, have to be taken with a grain of salt. He proved that last season when he didn’t win any of the first 26 races, and then won five in the final 10 which catapulted him to his third championship. Chicago is where he got it all started last season with a win. This week, he's in a brand new car that saw it's first track time on Friday. ------------ Brad Keselowski had the 16th fastest lap in the final session and was third fastest in the earlier practice. He’s finished fifth or better at his last three 1.5-mile tracks, including a win at Kentucky in June. -------------- Based on Friday’s practices, mixed in with other variables consisting of past history and performances on similar tracks, the top candidates to win Sunday look to be Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch. -------------

11/19/2012 at 01:40 PM
Can Keselowski Repeat?

11/17/2012 at 04:56 PM
Top Listed Chassis for Homestead

11/08/2012 at 11:41 PM
Top Listed Chassis for Phoenix

11/03/2012 at 04:57 PM
Keselowski & Johnson 1-2 in points, and 1-2 in Saturday's early practice

10/27/2012 at 08:33 PM
Two Drivers along with Vickers that could fare well at Martinsville

10/20/2012 at 09:48 PM
Top Chassis' for Kansas

10/13/2012 at 06:14 AM
Top-3 Drivers for Charlotte

10/06/2012 at 07:10 PM
Talladega Practice Notes: Nothing to report

09/29/2012 at 10:49 AM
Dover Practice Notes: Kyle and JJ look strong

09/22/2012 at 04:50 PM
New Hampshire Practice Notes: Hamlin Sweeps all three Practices

09/21/2012 at 02:46 PM
New Hampshire Practice Notes: Hamlin Backing up Win Claim, So far

09/14/2012 at 11:04 PM
Chicagoland Practice Notes: Hamlin Dialed In

09/07/2012 at 10:25 PM
Richmond Practice Notes - Edwards came to play

09/01/2012 at 07:13 PM
Atlanta Practice Notes: Kenseth Fastest, Hamlin Still Strongest

09/01/2012 at 04:26 PM
Atlanta Practice Notes: Biffle Fastest, Hamlin Strongest

08/18/2012 at 03:28 PM
Michigan Practice Notes: Biffle Fastest Again in Final Session

08/18/2012 at 03:27 PM
Michigan Practice Notes: Biffle Tops 200 mph in Second Session

08/17/2012 at 03:25 PM
Michigan Practice Notes: Johnson Fastest in First Session

08/11/2012 at 02:52 PM
Watkins Glen Practice Notes: Kyle Busch Fastest in Saturday Make-up Session

08/10/2012 at 06:49 PM
Watkins Glen Practice Notes: Kurt Busch Fastest in Lone Session

08/03/2012 at 06:14 PM
Pocono Practice Notes: Junior Fastest in Final Session

08/03/2012 at 06:12 PM
Pocono Practice Notes: Johnson Fastest in First Session

07/28/2012 at 02:38 PM
Brickyard Practice Notes: Roush Drivers Making Case for First Indy Win

07/28/2012 at 12:43 PM
Brickyard Practice Notes: Kahne and Martin Fastest in First Session

07/27/2012 at 02:43 PM
Brickyard 400 Chassis Selections

07/14/2012 at 01:12 PM
New Hampshire Practice Notes: Hamlin Thoroughly Dominates Both Saturday Sessions

07/14/2012 at 01:10 PM
New Hampshire Practice Notes: Hamlin Very Fast

07/13/2012 at 02:49 PM
New Hampshire Practice Notes: Kyle Busch Fastest

07/05/2012 at 08:53 PM
Daytona Practice Notes: Whole Lots of Nothing Going on in Final Session

07/05/2012 at 07:37 PM
Daytona Practice Notes: Almirola fastest in First Session

06/29/2012 at 04:19 PM
Kentucky Practice Notes: Gordon Fastest, But Earnhardt Jr Most Impressive

06/29/2012 at 01:32 PM
Kentucky Practice Notes: Kyle Busch Fastest in First Session

06/27/2012 at 03:35 PM
NASCAR @ Kentucky: Couple Long shots look good this week

06/23/2012 at 03:32 PM
Sonoma Practice Notes: Gordon Fastest in All Three Sessions

06/22/2012 at 07:08 PM
Sonoma Practice Notes: Gordon Fastest in First Session

06/21/2012 at 10:34 AM
More Parity Than Ever Before at Sonoma

06/20/2012 at 06:26 PM
Notable Sonoma Chassis Selections

06/15/2012 at 06:27 PM
Michigan Practice Notes: Biffle Tops 204 mph in Final Session

06/15/2012 at 03:13 PM
Michigan Practice Notes: Martin Blazing Fast

06/14/2012 at 06:25 PM
Michigan Testing Notes: Stewart, Martin & Junior Look the Best

06/14/2012 at 03:12 PM
Michigan Test Notes from Thursday: Martin Fast Again, Junior Looks Great

06/13/2012 at 01:56 PM
Notable Michigan Chassis Choices

06/08/2012 at 06:59 PM
Pocono 400 Practice Notes: Logano Fastest, Johnson Strong

06/07/2012 at 05:31 PM
Thursday Pocono Testing Notes

06/06/2012 at 05:36 PM
Wednesday Pocono Testing Notes

06/06/2012 at 04:12 PM
Notable Pocono 400 Chassis Selections

06/01/2012 at 05:18 PM
Dover Practice Notes: Gordon Impressive, Almirola Fastest

06/01/2012 at 01:52 PM
Dover Practice Notes: Martin Fastest in First Session

05/26/2012 at 03:51 PM
Coca-Cola 600 Practice Notes: Johnson is Superbad

05/26/2012 at 12:26 PM
Cola-Cola 600 Practice Notes: Hamlin Fastest in Important Second Session

05/25/2012 at 09:57 AM
Notable Charlotte Chassis Selections

05/24/2012 at 07:48 PM
Charlotte Practice Notes: Ambrose Fastest in First Session

05/18/2012 at 04:13 PM
All-Star Practice Notes: Keselowski Looks Strong

05/11/2012 at 03:58 PM
Darlington Practice Notes: Truex Jr and Biffle Look Strongest

05/11/2012 at 01:57 PM
Darlington Practice Notes: Harvick Fast Early and Often in First Session

05/04/2012 at 04:49 PM
Talladega Practice Notes: Almirola Fastest, again, In Final Practice

05/04/2012 at 03:37 PM
Talladega Practice Notes: Almirola fastest, ho-hum...

04/27/2012 at 04:13 PM
Richmond Practice Notes: Junior Fastest in Final Session, Kyle and Clint Look Great

04/27/2012 at 02:33 PM
Richmond Practice Notes: Martin fastest, but Bowyer looks like the Best

04/20/2012 at 06:41 PM
Kansas Practice Notes: Johnson Fastest, Doesn't Hold Back

04/20/2012 at 03:36 PM
Kansas Practice Notes: Kyle Busch Fastest

04/13/2012 at 05:23 PM
Texas Practice Notes: Stewart Struggles, Hamlin, Biffle & Kenseth Look Great

04/12/2012 at 08:02 PM
Texas Practice Notes: Martin Fastest in First Practice Session

03/30/2012 at 06:10 PM
Martinsville Practice Notes: Gordon Fastest in Final Session Too

03/30/2012 at 04:44 PM
Martinsville Practice Notes: Gordon Fastest Lap in First Session

03/30/2012 at 01:45 AM
Notable Martinsville Chassis Selections

03/24/2012 at 06:11 PM
Cal Practice Notes: Hamlin Still Dominant in Final Practice

03/24/2012 at 03:44 PM
Cal Practice Notes: Hamlin fastest in Second Session

03/23/2012 at 05:29 PM
California Practice Notes: Bowyer and Martin Lead the Way

03/22/2012 at 05:10 PM
Notable California Chassis Selections

03/17/2012 at 01:49 PM
Bristol Final Practice Notes: Kyle, Kahne and Kez look good

03/16/2012 at 03:28 PM
Bristol Practice Notes: Edwards Fastest in First Session

03/16/2012 at 01:17 PM
Notable Bristol Chassis Selections

03/10/2012 at 05:22 PM
Las Vegas Happy Hour Notes: Kahne looks to be the best

03/10/2012 at 02:50 PM
Las Vegas Practice Notes: All Hendrick Cars Dialed In

03/08/2012 at 03:10 PM
Top Chassis Coming to Vegas

03/08/2012 at 02:59 PM
Vegas Success Parlays into NASCAR Championships

03/02/2012 at 09:22 PM
Phoenix Final Practice: Kahne Still Looks the Best

03/02/2012 at 04:34 PM
Phoenix First Practice: Stewart top charts, but Kahne looks Best

03/01/2012 at 04:02 PM
Brendan Gaughan using Harvick's winning Coca-Cola 600 car

02/29/2012 at 04:47 PM
Stewart bringing great car to Phoenix

02/17/2012 at 07:51 PM
Kenseth Fastest in First Bud Shootout Practice

10/27/2011 at 02:24 AM
Harvick using great car at Martinsville this week

10/21/2011 at 08:28 PM
Friday's Top Talladega Practice Times

10/08/2011 at 04:27 PM
Kansas Practice Notes

10/08/2011 at 01:35 PM
Top Chassis' for Kansas

09/24/2011 at 06:20 PM
Top Chassis for New Hampshire

09/17/2011 at 08:22 PM
Strange Chicago Practices

09/09/2011 at 05:28 PM
Edwards Fastest in Final Richmond Practice

09/04/2011 at 12:04 PM
Gordon fastest in final practice session; Stewart looks great!

09/02/2011 at 03:22 AM
Driver Chassis Selections for Atlanta

08/26/2011 at 07:11 PM
A few Nice Longshot Possibilities at Bristol Following Practices

08/20/2011 at 01:31 PM
Martin Fastest in Final Michigan Practice, But Menard and Kenseth Look Better

08/19/2011 at 02:35 PM
Roush Stable Has 3 of the top-5 Fastest Speeds in Michigan's First Practice Session

08/13/2011 at 03:27 PM
Driver Quotes from the Top Contenders in Sunday's Watkins Glen race

08/12/2011 at 02:42 PM
Kyle Busch Tops First Practice at the Glen; Montoya and Ambrose Look Strong

08/11/2011 at 07:09 PM
Driver Chassis Selections for Watkins Glen

08/06/2011 at 06:38 PM
Don't Let Hamlin's Poor Pocono Practice Times Scare You Off

07/16/2011 at 02:54 PM
Johnson and Stewart top final New Hampshire Practices

07/15/2011 at 03:45 PM
Bowyer fastest in first New Hampshire practice

06/30/2011 at 03:50 PM
Driver Chassis Selections at Daytona

06/25/2011 at 05:59 PM
Wakefield In Pittsburgh Saturday brings back memories

06/25/2011 at 05:42 PM
Sonoma Final Practice Notes: McMurray Looks Awfully Tough for Sunday

06/02/2011 at 05:01 PM
Driver Chassis Selections for Kansas

06/01/2011 at 02:45 PM
NASCAR Driver Matchups Tough in 2011

05/26/2011 at 04:07 PM
How Will Joplin Native Jamie McMurray Fare at Charlotte This Week?

05/25/2011 at 10:29 AM
A few notes on the Chassis' being used in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

05/15/2011 at 08:36 PM
Awful Baseball Weekend, but NASCAR picked up the Slack

05/13/2011 at 06:36 PM
Kyle Busch Quotes Friday at Dover Regarding Kevin Harvick

05/06/2011 at 03:52 PM
Tough Battle in Baltimore Friday

05/05/2011 at 08:49 PM
Driver Chassis Selections for Darlington

05/04/2011 at 12:39 PM
Rough Tuesday Betting Baseball

04/29/2011 at 02:27 PM
Earnhardt Jr Leads First Richmond Practice

04/29/2011 at 02:21 PM
NFL Draft Was Fun To Watch; Great Players Still Available Throughout

04/24/2011 at 07:23 PM
Week 1 NFL Lines are Up Already

04/17/2011 at 09:53 AM
Short practices weren't enlightening at Talladega

04/13/2011 at 02:52 PM
Restrictor Plate Racing at Talladega

04/09/2011 at 12:29 PM
Texas Practices Not Too Telling

04/07/2011 at 01:24 PM
Texas Practice Schedule a little different

04/02/2011 at 05:29 PM
One way to Keep Johnson & Hamlin from Winning at Martinsville.....

04/01/2011 at 06:01 PM
Martinsville Practice Notes: Kyle Looks Strong!

03/31/2011 at 04:17 PM
Martinsville Notes

03/05/2011 at 08:20 PM
Odds to Win and Matchup Selections posted by 7am (PDT) Sunday

03/05/2011 at 02:42 PM
Edwards, Biffle and Kyle Most Impressive in Final Vegas Practice

03/04/2011 at 08:34 PM
Roush Drivers Run Strong in First Vegas Practice

03/02/2011 at 01:19 PM
Johnson and Kyle Busch Are Using Their Strong Charlotte Chassis' this week

02/27/2011 at 08:26 AM
Waiting For Driver Matchups To Open is Beyond Rediculous

02/25/2011 at 04:30 PM
Kurt Busch Fastest in 1st Phoenix Practice

02/23/2011 at 08:53 PM
First Practice on Friday the Most Critical for Phoenix Wagering

02/23/2011 at 06:34 PM
Newman & Stewart are Bringing Great Cars to Phoenix

02/19/2011 at 06:45 PM
On Paper, Burton, Busch, Bowyer or Harvick Should Win the Daytona 500

02/18/2011 at 03:06 PM
Ho-Hum Friday Daytona Practice - Means Little to Betting Equation

02/17/2011 at 06:48 PM
Plus Money in Matchups pays off in Duels

02/16/2011 at 05:39 PM
Earnhardt Jr Wrecks Pole Sitting car in Practice, using Jeff Gordon's Old Talladega Chassis Now

02/16/2011 at 01:34 PM
Communication is a major factor in the two car draft; Teammates have an edge

02/16/2011 at 12:24 PM
Roush's Head Engine Builder Doug Yates on the Recent Rule Changes

02/15/2011 at 04:08 PM
All four RCR teams using brand new Chassis for the Daytona 500cars

02/15/2011 at 10:51 AM
Jimmie Johnson regarding the new surface heading into the Daytona 500

02/12/2011 at 01:50 PM
Earnhardt Jr discusses his drafting and winning strategy

02/12/2011 at 02:15 AM
Bud Shootout a Great Prelude to Daytona 500