Racing's return to Chicagoland Speedway did more than whet the appetite of local fans. Saturday's back-to-back ARCA and NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the sprawling Joliet track offered both a dry run and broader promotional platform for the big show — September's Chase for the Sprint Cup NASCAR weekend.
"We're working out some operational logistics, we have some new members of the staff so they're going to get their feet wet," track President Scott Paddock said.
The big show — three days of NASCAR racing on Sept. 12-14 — will be capped by the Chase kickoff race at Chicagoland for the fourth straight year.
"I feel very good about our progress becoming more of a regular part of the Chicago sports conversation," Paddock said.
Chase weekend includes Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Trucks races.
Mitchell's first: Mason Mitchell claimed his first ARCA victory after six second-place finishes with an unofficial 0.795-second margin over runner-up Justin Boston in Saturday's Ansell ActivArmr 150. John Wes Townley grabbed his first pole of the season in qualifying with a 172.117 mph lap but was knocked out when he hit the wall in the race's 23rd lap.
Name change: Nationwide's seven-year affiliation as series sponsor ends with the season. NASCAR Chairman Brian France recently said there was "very good interest" in sponsors for the No. 2 series and predicted one will be chosen soon.