Jane Miller's In the Fast Lane racing column.
When it was announced a few weeks ago that Chicagoland Speedway was putting in lights, you had to figure they weren't just going to be for decoration.
Tuesday, officials at the track in Joliet announced the 2008 Sprint Cup and whatever the Busch Series race is going to be called will be night races - Friday, July 11 for the Busch race and Saturday, July 12 for the Cup.
One of the obvious reasons for the move is weather.
"Traditionally, our NASCAR races have taken place during the time of year when excessive heat can become an issue for our fans," said Matthew Alexander, president of the racetrack. "By adding lights to our facility, we hope to make the guest experience a more comfortable one. In addition, we will now have the flexibility to run events later in the day in the event of inclement weather."
That is definitely a plus, because it seems like storms pop up at least one afternoon during the weekend every year, causing a big delay.
Next year's race will be the eighth at the track, and it has seasoned and settled into a venue the drivers have grown to like very much.
In fact, Dale Earnhardt Jr. includes his 2005 victory there in his list of most memorable moments in his career.
Speaking of Earnhardt Jr., he has eight races left with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but this will be crew chief Tony Eury Jr.'s next-to-last. He'll be leaving for Hendrick Motorsports after the Talladega race Oct. 7.
"(Kansas) is similar, but not exactly like, the track at Chicago. I felt like we had a car that could win at Chicago (in July) until the power steering went out, so maybe we've got that figured out and we can take it to the finish here," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"It's even more urgent we get after it this week since Tony Jr. is leaving after Talladega. We need to close out his career at DEI with a big ‘W.’ ... We're certainly taking our favorite chassis (#39), and we're loaded for bear to get a win."
One for All
Nine of the 12 Chase drivers had some sort of trouble last Sunday at Dover.
Only Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and winner Carl Edwards escaped trouble on the track, though Gordon and Stewart ran poorly the whole race. Edwards was then penalized 25 points after his car failed inspection, dropping him from third to sixth in the Chase standings.
Kansas should give everyone a chance to catch their breath before the craziness that is Talladega.
John Force's crash Sunday at Texas was one of the most bizarre ever.
Force himself has said he's lucky to be alive - and to still have his legs - after the front half of the car split off and left his lower extremities exposed at 300 mph.
Kenny Bernstein, who was in the other lane, also did a heroic driving job after the driverless front end of Force's car collided with his.
Despite the severity of the crash, it appears that the blood, sweat and tears Force's team has been putting into safety modifications has been worth it.
Force suffered no head or neck trauma in the crash.
For those who watched the McLaren spy scandal unfold and thought, "That would make a good book," you're in luck.
Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney, who allegedly gave the sensitive documents to the rival team, is said to writing his autobiography, due out next year.
The working title is "Red Mist."
Jane Miller is the Peoria Journal Star motorsports columnist. Write her at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, call (309) 686-3207 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.