Hello, Chicago!

Kurt Busch (22) will write about his love of Chicago sports for ESPNChicago.com Andrew Weber/US Presswire

Hello Chicago – Kurt Busch here.

This marks my first post in a weekly series of posts from now until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway this September. Many of you know me as the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, but off the race track I’m as big of a sports fan as anyone, especially when it comes to the Chicago Cubs and Bears. While I was born and raised in Las Vegas, my parents and relatives are from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago -- Schaumburg/ Arlington Heights area. With my ties to Chicago and no professional sports teams in Vegas, I became a diehard Cubs and Bears fan at a young age. And like any loyal Chicago sports fan, I haven’t looked back.

In the 1980’s I would rush home from school to watch the Cubs on WGN. When you’re 7 years old, sports make a big impression on you. Rooting for the Cubs and becoming a part of that devoted fan base became a part of my identity. When we would come back to Schaumburg to visit my grandparents, my grandpa and I would drive to the “big” city for a Cubs game at the ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field. To this day, I make sure to get in one game at Wrigley and at least one road game each season.

Like any Bears fan, I can still vividly remember the 1985 Bears season with Ditka and the Monsters of the Midway. I watched all the games and to end that season with the sweet taste of victory was just the best feeling. I couldn’t help but feel that me sitting at home in Vegas cheering for the Bears played a part in their successful season -- like WE won the championship.

This summer is flying by, and we’re already past the halfway point in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ‘regular’ season. In the last few weeks my team and I have been running great and been very competitive. Coming out of last weekend at Pocono Raceway, we walked away with a second place finish maintaining sixth place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. This weekend we’re off to Michigan International Speedway. Michigan is Dodge’s headquarters and on Thursday I’ll be heading out to their offices for an event with all their employees. Friday I’ll have practice, Saturday is qualifying and Sunday is NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. I’m feeling like we have a great shot to bring home the win -– it will be about leading laps and putting ourselves in the position to walk away with the win.