Teams Complete Chicago Test

Kevin Harvick

Harvick, who turned 222 laps, topped the one-day test session at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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JOLIET, Ill. - NASCAR Sprint Cup teams spent Tuesday testing at Chicagoland Speedway, which will host the first race in the post-season Chase on Sept. 18.

The test was originally slated to run two days but was cut down to one full day due to rain in the forecast for Wednesday.

Throughout 12 hours of on-track testing, 14 drivers combined to complete 2,046 laps around the 1.5-mile oval with Kevin Harvick running the most, 222. Harvick, who won the first two races at Chicagoland in 2001 and 2002, was the fastest with a lap of 185.268 mph coming on his third lap.

"We haven’t won here in a few years, but the performances have been fine," said Harvick, who has one top-five finish in two track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. "It's a fun racetrack. You can move around and use the whole track. The hardest part about today is that it's really hard to gather a lot of 100 percent confirmed information, just for the fact that you have to get enough rubber from the bottom to the top of the racetrack."

Chris Buescher, currently Chase-eligible after moving into the top 30 in points with his fifth-place finish at Bristol, took part in the test as he looks to maintain that position with three races left in the regular season.

"We have a set plan, not necessarily tuning for the race but just going through our run log," said Buescher, who posted the least amount of laps with 41. "Looking at the next handful of races coming up, there are a lot of good races for us."

Kyle Busch was second-quick (184.628 mph) after running 214 laps with Ryan Blaney (183.524 mph), Ryan Newman (182.859 mph) and Regan Smith (182.809 mph) rounding out the top five.

"We're happy with our speed," said Smith, who drives for Tommy Baldwin Racing. "That's an added bonus in testing, when you're fast. We don't get the opportunity to do this as much as the big teams do, so it's even more valuable to us."

Joey Logano represented Team Penske and was one of five drivers participating that are currently locked into the Chase based on wins.

"You always want to start the Chase on a good note and leave Chicago with a lot of momentum," he said. "So far, so good. We're trying some things we typically don't get to try. This is a great racetrack. It's almost like a small California (Auto Club Speedway). You can run anywhere you want, it's got a lot of speed, it's bumpy and has a ton of character. That's what puts on great racing."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was on hand for the test, but Roush Fenway Racing teammate Trevor Bayne drove his No. 17 Ford. On Wednesday, Stenhouse will travel to Indiana to attend the Celebration of Bryan Clauson’s Life at Kokomo Speedway.

"This was supposed to be a two-day test and they weren't going to let me test one day, and then Trevor Wednesday," Stenhouse said. "I was already in Chicago, so I just came to hang out with the guys."

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