July 9, 2003 | 9:31 A.M. EST
Matt Kenseth- Kenseth was seventh in the first Chicago-land race but fourteenth here last year. Mathematically speaking he should finish 21st this year but my guess is he’ll manage a top 10 though not a win.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Earnhardt has run fairly well here in his two stabs at the joint finishing tenth and eleventh.
Jeff Gordon- Gordon was runner up to Harvick here last year. I suppose because he’s got so few mountains left to climb Gordon seems to drive harder on tracks where he has never run and this is one of those rare tracks.
Bobby Labonte- Labonte and Kenseth are the two hottest drivers on the circuit as of late. He suffered a DNF here in 2001 and a eighteenth (18, hey that’s my number!) finish last year but I expect he’ll improve on that this time around.
Michael Waltrip- Bad and badder. Waltrip has finished 22nd and 42nd here at Joliet. Personally shook Stuart Kirby’s hand here last year for keeping him from finishing dead last.
Jimmie Johnson- Johnson finished fourth here last year in his first Cup race at Chicago and won his only Busch series race here in 2001.
Kurt Busch- Busch has managed top 10 finishes in both Cup races here with a sixth and eighth place result.
Kevin Harvick- Harvick has won both races here including that spin and win deal last year. It’s hard to improve on that sort of batting average.
Rusty Wallace- Wallace has finished 13th and 25th here in Cup races. Can’t say where he’ll finish except that it will probably be behind his teammate Newman.
Sterling Marlin- Marlin is batting .500 here as far as top 10s with a ninth place result here in 2001.
Mark Martin- Martin has two top 10 finishes here with sixth and eighth place results.
Tony Stewart- Stewart suffered a DNF here in 2001 but rebounded with a third place result in last year’s Cup race.
Terry Labonte- Expect the unexpected from the suddenly resurgent 5 team.
Jeff Burton- Burton suffered a mechanical DNF here last year in the Cup race but did finish 3rd in both Busch series races run here to date.
Robby Gordon- Gordon finished eighth here last year and is the teammate of the guy who won both Chicago-Land Cup races to date. But expect to see George W. and Osama bin-Laden dancing the Beer Barrel Polka together before Robby and Kevin cooperate.
Ryan Newman- Newman won the pole here last year and finished fifth.
Ricky Craven- Craven has finished 20th and 21st at the two Cup races at Joliet.
Elliott Sadler- Sadler finished 15th here last year. This doesn’t seem to be a horsepower type track so he may struggle this week.
Bill Elliott- Elliott has a pair of top 10 finishes here with seventh and tenth place results.
Greg Biffle- Biffle finished eighth here last year in the Busch race.