NASCAR races through Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Auto racing speeds through Joliet for the Stars and Stripes Weekend at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday. There will be four races in as many days, including the NASCAR Xfinity Series Overton's 300 featuring Illinois native Justin Allgaier.

"This is what I consider my home race," he said, adding, "Home field advantage means a lot. You've got a lot of friends, a lot of family."

He's come to know the track well over the years and took me for a spin earlier. His stock car is still en route to Joliet, but I made sure we climbed in through the rental car's windows to keep the experience authentic.

"My NASCAR doesn't have a cup holder," he joked.

Up on the track, we were flying between 80 and 100 miles per hour-that's only about half the speed he'll be driving on Saturday. He points out what makes this speedway unique.

"The higher the banking, the faster you can go through the corners... The cold winters and the hot summers that we have here in Chicagoland... it's worn out a little bit but it's making it a lot of fun... 'There's not necessarily one lane where you say 'hey, I have to be stuck to that line,'" he explained as we lapped the mile and a half track.

This knowledge helped Allgaier cruise to victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway twice, including last year. He's the only driver from Illinois to do so in the track's 17-year history.

"To be the only NASCAR driver that's a native of Illinois to come to Chicagoland speedway and win, that's huge and that's a great feeling. It's something for me that I don't take very lightly," he said.

He'll try for the three-peat this weekend, coming off of a win in Iowa. Organizers say the Stars and Stripes Weekend, which leads up to Independence Day, will be like a festival.

"We'll welcome about 150,000 fans over the course of the four day event. Music is a big part of the weekend, camping, tailgating," said Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock, adding that there will be military tributes.

There will also be plenty of racing starting Thursday.
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