Chicagoland to open NASCAR's 2011 Chase

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 2:55 PM ET

JOILET, Il. - Chicagoland Speedway will kick off the Chase for Sprint Cup championship in 2011. The speedway, located roughly 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, will hold its event on September 18.

Officials from the speedway and NASCAR, as well as drivers Kevin Harvick and David Reutimann, made the announcement from the 1.5-mile track on Monday.

"We could not be more excited," track president Craig Rust said. "I don't think there's a better location to kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup than in Chicago."

Chicagoland has hosted a Sprint Cup Series race in July each year since 2001.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been the first race in the Chase since NASCAR began its 10-race playoff format in 2004. New Hampshire is expected to move to another date on the Chase schedule for next year. New Hampshire will publicly address its schedule for next season on Wednesday.

Chicagoland is the latest in anticipated major changes for the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule, which likely will be released within the next two weeks.

Last week, officials from Atlanta Motor Speedway announced that track will host only one Cup event, which will take place on Labor Day weekend. The loss of Atlanta's spring race paves the way for the long-awaited addition of Kentucky Speedway to the Cup schedule. Kentucky has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday.

More announcements are scheduled for this week, with Kansas Speedway expecting to announce it will have a second Cup date, starting next year. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA reportedly is giving up their second season event, which is part of the Chase schedule, to make room for Kansas' additional date.


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