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At Least Nine Drivers to Drop to the Rear Prior to Sunday's Grant Park 165

It's been a wild weekend so far at the Chicago Street Course, and as a result, at least nine drivers will drop to the rear before Sunday's Grant Park 165 for a variety of reasons.


hero image for At Least Nine Drivers to Drop to the Rear Prior to Sunday's Grant Park 165

While Kyle Larson, who will start from the pole in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 165 at the Chicago Street Course, and Shane van Gisbergen, slated to start fifth, will be the two favorites to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Street Race, several strong competitors will drop to the rear before the race goes green for a myriad of reasons.

Brad Keselowski, who secured the 10th-place starting spot for the race, will drop to the rear after he severely damaged the rear of his primary car in the final round of Saturday's qualifying session.

Joining Keselowski at the rear of the field will be his RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher, who suffered suspension issues, including a broken toe-link in qualifying. Buescher was set to roll from the 16th starting spot in the field, but now the driver of the No. 17 Ford Mustang Dark Horse will be among the gaggle of drivers hoping to slice their way from the back of the field on Sunday.

Ryan Blaney, who had qualified one spot behind Buescher in 17th, will also drop to the rear prior to the green flag of Sunday's race. Blaney, like Buescher, suffered suspension damage, which included a broken toe-link. Due to the unapproved adjustments made, Blaney will go to the back.

There's probably no driver on the list more mad about dropping to the rear than Corey LaJoie. LaJoie, who had just turned the 20th-fastest lap of qualifying on Saturday, crashed his No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet in Turn 11 the following lap. The frustrated LaJoie could be seen shouting from inside his car after the crash.

LaJoie's team will be able to get his primary car fixed for the race, but the repairs will force him to the rear of the field.

Erik Jones was another casualty of a rough day on the track on Saturday as the driver of the No. 43 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Toyota Camry XSE suffered damage, which will necessitate repairs. Those repairs will be considered unapproved adjustments, which will drop him to the rear.

William Byron, who qualified 27th, ended practice and qualifying with a clean car cosmetically, but mechanically, the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was suffering from a power steering issue. Crew chief Rudy Fugle did his best to fashion a quick fix for the No. 24 car in an effort to not need additional repairs after qualifying, but the issues persisted.

Byron's team will go to work on fixing the power steering issues, but he will drop to the rear due to those repairs.

Harrison Burton crashed in Turn 6 on his qualifying run on Saturday, a run where the driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang locked up the 31st-place starting spot. In what has been a rough week for Burton, as he was officially announced as not returning to the Wood Brothers team this week, he'll start from the rear of the field on Sunday.

Josh Berry, who will take over the No. 21 car from Burton next year, will also drop to the rear before Sunday's race in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang. Berry made hard contact with the wall during qualifying, which will require repairs by his team. He was set to start from the 36th position.

And Josh Bilicki, who did not turn a lap in practice or qualifying, will drop to the rear and serve a pass-thru penalty after the green flag on Sunday due to multiple failed inspection attempts for his No. 66 MBM Motorsports Ford Mustang on Friday.

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

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