Kyle Busch hopes to continue his hot streak as NASCAR invades Chicagoland Speedway

Busch edged Kyle Larson at Joliet for the fifth of his eight Cup Series victories last season.

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It’s NASCAR weekend at Chicagoland Speedway

For the Sun-Times

NASCAR is returning to the Chicago area with its Ultimate Summer Festival this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

The weekend will feature all three of NASCAR’s national series after Ty Majeski won the rain-delayed ARCA race Thursday.

Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson will do battle again in the 267-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at 2 p.m. Sunday. Busch edged Larson at Joliet for the fifth of his eight Cup Series victories last season.

Busch is at the top of the Cup Series standings this season with four victories, 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes and is one point behind Joey Logano in the standings (643-642).

And Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the broadcast booth for NBC, along with Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Rick Allen. Earnhardt won 26 Cup Series races during his career before retiring after the 2017 season.

Earnhardt created an iconic moment that went viral on social media during his broadcast debut as an official member of NBC’s crew at this race last year. As Larson tried to pass Busch, Earnhardt yelled, ‘‘Slide job!’’ twice in the booth before Busch edged out Larson for the victory.

‘‘When I was hollering, ‘Slide job,’ I was yelling it at Rick Allen; I wasn’t talking to the audience,’’ Earnhardt said during a conference call Wednesday. ‘‘When we’re in the booth, when it’s great, I think, is when we’re us four having a conversation with each other.

‘‘It was a tribute to Rick and Jeff and Steve getting me that comfortable that quickly. I’m really a bit shy and a bit of an introvert, to be honest. They worked really hard as a group of three guys to help me get comfortable as fast as I could. By the end of the season, I think we were all hitting on eight cylinders.’’

Earnhardt has stayed busy since the 2018 races in Joliet. He worked his first Kentucky Derby on May 4 before driving the pace car during the Indy 500 on May 26.

Earnhardt also drove the pace car for the 2018 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while providing commentary for NBC.

His enthusiasm and NASCAR knowledge have helped him make a smooth transition into his broadcasting career.

‘‘You’ve got to understand what’s been happening this year, what’s been going on on the racetrack, who’s been good, who’s not been good, what’s different from last year as far as performance across the teams and drivers,’’ Earnhardt said. ‘‘You just get in there and react naturally and genuinely to what’s going on, what you’re seeing.’’

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