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NASCAR's Chase title playoff to open at Chicagoland Speedway next year


Changes to the 2011 schedule for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series continued to dribble out Monday with Chicagoland Speedway saying it would hold the first race in the series' 10-race "Chase for the Cup" championship playoff next year.

NASCAR plans several schedule changes for next season and, for reasons still unclear, so far has elected to let the individual tracks involved announce their new dates before posting its full 2011 schedule.

Atlanta Motor Speedway, for instance, last week said it would lose one of its two Cup races next season. And Kansas Speedway plans a news conference for Tuesday in which it's expected to announce that it will obtain a second Cup race next season.

Kansas Speedway is owned by International Speedway Corp., and Kansas' second race is expected to come from another ISC track, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, which currently has two Cup races a year but has struggled with attendance problems at the two-mile track 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

Kentucky Speedway near Cincinnati likewise has a news conference scheduled Tuesday in which it's expected to announce that it will be hosting its first race in NASCAR's premier series in 2011.

The Cup race at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland track in Joliet, Ill., historically held in early July, will move to Sept. 18 next year to kick off NASCAR's Chase, the track said. The Chase, in which the top 12 drivers in points vie for the title, has opened in New Hampshire since the format was introduced in 2004.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Jamie McMurray (No. 1) and Jimmie Johnson (48) lead the field at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Credit: Todd Warshaw  / Getty Images
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