|Race 27 of 36 in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
|Date||September 19, 2011|
|Location||Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Illinois|
Permanent racing facility|
1.500 mi (2.414 km)
|Distance||267 laps, 400.5 mi (644.5 km)|
|Weather||Few rain showers with a high temperature around 74°F; wind out of the SSE at 10 mph.|
|Driver||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Kurt Busch||Penske Racing|
|No. 14||Tony Stewart||Stewart Haas Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, and Andy Petree|
The 2011 GEICO 400 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race that was scheduled to be held on September 18, 2011 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. However, because of wet track conditions, the race was postponed until September 19, 2011. Contested over 267 laps on the 1.500-mile (2.414 km) asphalt oval, it was the 27th race of the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, as well as the first race in the ten-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, which ends the season. Tony Stewart of Stewart Haas Racing won the race, while Kevin Harvick finished second, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. clinched third.
This was Stewart's first win in the 2011 season, and the 40th of his career. The result advanced Stewart to second in the Drivers' Championship, seven points behind Harvick and three ahead of Carl Edwards. Chevrolet maintained its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship, thirty points ahead of Ford and thirty-eight ahead of Toyota, with nine races remaining in the season. A total of 95,000 people attended the race, while 3.68 million watched it on television.
Chicagoland Speedway is one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races; the others are Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway. The standard track at Chicagoland Speedway is a four-turn tri-oval track that is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long. The track's turns are each banked at 18 degrees and have a turn width of 55 feet. The racetrack has a grandstand capacity of 75,000.
Before the race, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick each led the Drivers' Championship with 2,012 points, with Jeff Gordon in third place with 2,009. Matt Kenseth had a total of 2,006 points, while Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman were tied for fifth place with 2,003 points. Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the first 12 positions with 2,000 points each. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet was leading with 171 points, 27 points ahead of Ford. Toyota, with 139 points, was 21 points ahead of Dodge in the battle for third place. David Reutimann was the race's defending champion.
Practice and qualifying
Two practice sessions were held in preparation for the race; both on Friday. The first session lasted 90 minutes long, while the second was 60 minutes long. Reutimann was quickest with a time of 29.486 seconds in the first session, 0.028 seconds faster than Clint Bowyer. Mark Martin was just off Bowyer's pace, followed by Kyle Busch, Trevor Bayne, and Newman. Some Chase for the Sprint Cup participants were not scored high in the first practice, such as Johnson and Hamlin, who were 36th and 40th in the session.
In the second and final practice, Brian Vickers was quickest with a time of 29.304 seconds. Kasey Kahne followed in second, ahead of Kenseth and Paul Menard. Harvick was fifth quickest, with a time of 29.455 seconds. Gordon, Greg Biffle, Johnson, David Stremme, and Edwards rounded out the first ten positions. Kyle Busch, who was third in the first session, could only manage forty-fourth.
Forty-seven cars were entered for qualifying, but only forty-three could race because of NASCAR's qualifying procedure. Kenseth clinched his sixth pole position in the Sprint Cup Series, with a time of 29.469 seconds. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Menard. Kurt Busch qualified third, Newman took fourth, and Edwards started fifth. Johnson, one of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, qualified twelfth, while Harvick was scored thirtieth. The four drivers that failed to qualify for the race were Travis Kvapil, David Starr, Stephen Leicht and Mike Skinner (T.J. Bell was gonna enter the race but withdrew).
Once qualifying concluded Kenseth said, "I think starting up front is nice, having a good pit stall. Hopefully, you can get a good start and get a bonus point for leading a lap and try to keep up with the track a little better. We've been qualifying a lot better, if you throw Richmond out, but we've been slipping a little at the end of the race. I'm really happy to be on the pole, but it's just a starting position, and we've got to work really hard on the race, keeping up with our adjustments and that type of thing."
The race, the twenty-seventh of the season, was scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT on September 18, but wet track conditions postponed the race to September 19, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The race was televised live in the United States on ESPN.
Standings after the race
- "Sprint Cup Series Schedule". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Brown, Brian. "The Geico 400". September 13, 2011. RotoWorld.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Sporting News Wire Service (September 17, 2011). "Kenseth kicks Chase off with Chicagoland pole — Sep 17, 2011 - NASCAR.COM". NASCAR. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on August 11, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "NASCAR Tracks—The Chicagoland Speedway". Chicagoland Speedway. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Driver's Championship Classification". NASCAR. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Manufacturers' Championship Classification". Jayski.com. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "2010 LifeLock.com 400". racing-reference.com. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Jayski'sŽ NASCAR Silly Season Site – Sprint Cup Race Info / Rundown Page". Jayski.com. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Practice One Timing and Scoring". NASCAR. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Practice Two Timing and Scoring". NASCAR. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- "Qualifying Order". NASCAR. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- "Race Lineup: Chicagoland". NASCAR. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Hembree, Mike (September 18, 2011). "NASCAR — CUP: Weather Postpones Chase Opener To Monday". Speedtv.com. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
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