With eight races to go, only one point separates Elliott Sadler from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Nationwide Series standings.
Stenhouse's second-place finish compared to a 12th-place run for Sadler last Friday at Richmond allowed Stenhouse to trim 11 points off of Sadler's lead.
Now the title battle between the two moves on Chicagoland Speedway. Sadler is hoping to put Richmond behind him with another victory at Chicagoland. When the series last competed there in July, Sadler grabbed the lead during a late- race round of pit stops and then held off Stenhouse and Justin Allgaier in a green-white-checkered finish for the win.
"I feel like I let the team down (at Richmond), but we are all hungry and have no other choice but to get back up and fight," Sadler said. "I've said it several times this season but these are the races and circumstances that make a championship team. We'll regroup, get more fired up and head to Chicagoland Speedway."
Sadler and Stenhouse have four wins each this season.
Stenhouse has been hot lately, finishing either first or second in the last three races. He won at Atlanta.
All but two of the remaining eight races will be contested on 1.5-mile tracks, beginning with Chicagoland. Kentucky (Sept. 22), Charlotte (Oct. 12), Kansas (Oct. 20), Texas (Nov. 3) and Homestead (Nov. 17) are the other mile and a halfs.
"Our 1.5-mile track program has been stout this year," Stenhouse said. "Earlier this year, we sat on the pole and finished second (at Chicagoland). After leading 135 laps, we felt like we let that race slip away, so we are looking to redeem ourselves this weekend. We currently sit one point out of the lead in the championship battle, so we need a strong finish."
Dover (Sept. 29) and Phoenix (Nov. 10) are both one-mile tracks.
Rookie Austin Dillon comes to Chicagoland 30 points behind his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Sadler, while Sam Hornish Jr. trails the leader by 50 points.
Forty-five teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Dollar General 300. Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this event. Keselowski is the defending race winner.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, September 15. Race: Dollar General 300. Site: Chicagoland Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 3:30 p.m.(ET). Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2011 Winner: Brad Keselowski. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.