For the Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, 2018 was a year that will not to be forgotten for a long time. It all started at the end of 2017 when the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced that they would be moving the Overton's 400 from September to July. While this seemed like a major change to some, the loyal fans thought different. If you have followed NASCAR for some time, you know that when the Chicagoland Speedway first opened, the original race dates were in July. With the major date change for NASCAR, sister track, Route 66 Raceway moved their National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Jegs Route 66 Nationals to June.
This season marked the 20 year anniversary of the opening of Route 66 Raceway. To celebrate the special anniversary, Route 66 Raceway redesigned their logo to incorporate the number 20. The NHRA Jegs Route 66 Nationals highlighted the season long track activity with two new track records in the four professional categories. John Force, one of the most well-known drag racer off all time, made the headlines as he had a frightening moment when he made contact with the wall. In drag racing, a car hitting the wall is very uncommon and always makes the fans hold their breath. In the pro-stock motorcycle division, the fans saw the first pass over 200 mph, a speed that has only happened five times in the history of the division. The weekend ended with three of the four professional divisions winners claiming their first victories at the Route 66 Raceway.
For the 2018 Overton's 400, a lot of hype was made from the media, as Chicagoland Speedway would be the first race that NBC would broadcast for the season. Former driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be making his broadcasting debut after recently retiring at the end of the 2017 season. It just so happened to be one of the most talked about races in the last ten years as the finish was one for record books. Kyle Larson made a last lap move on Kyle Busch in turns one and two that was dubbed as the “Slide Job”. Larson took the lead heading down the backstretch and Busch gave him a little tap in turn three, causing Larson to go spinning. Busch hit the wall and drove to his second win at the track. Larson would go on to finish in second.
After a year like this, more people should look into checking out a race at these two tracks. If you are interested in attending the events in 2019, visit www.chicagolandspeedway.com or www.route66raceway.com.