Chicagoland Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Notes

Chase Elliott leads Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. [Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images]

Chase Elliott leads Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. [Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images]



by Paul Gohde

  • Kyle Busch lost his Stage 2 lead to Kevin Harvick when he pitted to check for a loose right-rear wheel. He was given a drive-through penalty for having a crew-member come over the wall too early. The penalty dropped him to 30th place, two laps down.
  • Former USAC and NASCAR star, “Fearless” Fred Lorenzen, was in attendance for Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Lorenzen, who hails from Elmhurst, IL, was a star on Chicago short-tracks in the 1950’s before moving south. was a two-time USAC Stock Car champion (1958-59) and won 26 times in NASCAR Cup races from 1959-1972. His most productive NASCAR years saw him race the iconic No. 28 Holman Moody Ford. He has battled health issues in the past few years, but was smiling while in the Media Center.
  • After NASCAR handed out 11 penalties during Saturday’s Xfinity race, three drivers (Martin Truex Jr, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon) were caught with pit road violations in the first 48 laps of Sunday’s Cup race.
  • Kyle Busch has held the lead in 18 of the past 19 races. The only one he failed to lead was the Daytona race in July.
  • Due to cloudy, overcast skies, the track temperature was 30-degrees cooler today than it was on Saturday. The Change caused many crews to reconsider their race set-ups.
  • Six Playoff drivers were one-lap down by Lap 200; not a good omen for the playoffs. Included in that group was early leader Kyle Busch who was finished in 15th-place.
  • Much speculation in the garages regarding the 2018 fate of drivers Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch as well as the Richard Petty team that has lost its Smithfield sponsorship… Time will tell.
  • Attendance at Sunday’s Cup race appeared to be down quite a bit from 2016. TV shots from above seemed to show quite a few empty seating areas. Some talk of rain may have had an affect on the walk-up numbers. Crowds were reported to also be quite light for the weekend’s ARCA, Truck and Xfinity events on Thursday-Saturday. Next year’s Chicagoland NASCAR weekend will be on the last weekend in June with the Cup series race on July 1st, outside of the Playoff window.
  • Jamie McMurray battled back from an early spin to finish 10th and avoid digging himself a hole for the first round of the Playoffs.




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Paul Gohde heard the sound of race cars early in his life.

Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950’s, Paul had no idea what “that noise” was all about that he heard several times a year. Finally, through prodding by friends of his parents, he was taken to several Thursday night modified stock car races on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the one-mile oval -and he was hooked.

The first Milwaukee Mile event that he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the pink Racing Associates lay-down Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After the 100-miler Gohde got the winner’s autograph in the pits, something he couldn’t do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he was hooked.

Paul began attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, and saw A. J. Foyt’s first Indy win. He began covering races in 1965 for Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter/photographer and his first credentialed race was Jim Clark’s historic Indy win.Paul has also done reporting, columns and photography for Midwest Racing News since the mid-sixties, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first big race to report for them.

He is a retired middle-grade teacher, an avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide at Miller Park. Paul loves to explore abandoned race tracks both here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats.

Paul loves the diversity of all types of racing, “a factor that got me hooked in the first place.”