It's only been two weeks since the Advocare 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway ran 48 hours after planned - believe me, I know all-too-well, as my unused tickets from that Tuesday still sit on my bedroom dresser - but NASCAR is playing the rain game once again.
The Geico 400 - and the start of the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship - is on hold at a soggy Chicagoland Speedway with a poor forcast on tap. No Chase race has ever been postponed due to rain, a streak that appears in serious jeopardy. Chicagoland Speedway does have lights - installed for the 2008 season - which opens the window of opportunity significantly.
When the race finally does go green, the title fight will be on display immediately. Six drivers in the Chase roll off from the top-10, five of whom start in the front three rows. Only outside polesitter Paul Menard is among the drivers racing for respect and wins and little else in the last 10 races. Matt Kenseth, the 2003 champion - the last under the pre-Chase season-long points format, making him the "Father of the Chase" - will roll off from his sixth-career pole.