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Bears did their part, now on to the Chase

9/14/2011
Drivers pose after clinching spots for the Chase to the Sprint Cup. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

This is it. It's here. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway is set to kick off this weekend -- Sept 16-18.

I have been through ups and downs the past few months in my journey to the Chase, but had one goal -- to make it to the Chase here in Chicago. I couldn't tell you how excited I am to finally be in the city I love after a solid fifth-place finish at Richmond this past Saturday.

I flew directly into Chicago and immediately soaked up everything that I've been talking about for the past few weeks. But first ... did you see that Bears game on Sunday? DA BEARS! What a way to come back into the city with a big “W” from the Monsters of the Midway. If Sunday's game is any indication of the rest of the season, this is going to be one hell of a year for Chicago football.

On Tuesday I had the honor of visiting Children's Memorial Hospital with Chicagoland Speedway and Bear Necessities. It was so inspiring to see how brave these children and their families are as they battle these illnesses. We went there with the intentions of brightening their days -- even if for just a short period of time -- but I walked away feeling as though they had brightened my day. I can't think of better way to kick off this Chase weekend. Immediately following our visit with the kids at Children's Memorial Hospital I headed to Navy Pier where ESPN's NASCAR Now is set up and broadcasted live each day until Thursday.

Thursday, I got to spend the day golfing with the great people from SOPUS and Shell Oil Products out in Sugar Grove for the SOPUS Open Golf Tournament. We really couldn't ask for a better day to get out there and soak up the sun and truly enjoy the breeze.

Friday is practice at Chicagoland Speedway. The Chase is severely competitive and there is nothing I want more than to clinch the first Chase race victory, especially at Chicagoland Speedway in the GEICO 400.

Qualifying will be held early Saturday afternoon thankfully so I still have time to catch the Notre Dame game later that day. I am so excited to go to Notre Dame and visit the campus, it's absolutely beautiful. Clear skies and college football are the perfect combination!

Sunday of course is the big race -- it's make it or break it time. Our team has been pretty solid this year in proving that we have what it takes to win. The No. 22 Penske Dodge is one of the best cars on the track and it's time to prove it.

Monday will be a great day to hopefully bask in some glory -- from either the GEICO 400 or from the Cubs. I am a huge Cubs fan and am stoked to head to the game Monday afternoon and enjoy the rooftops at Wrigley with my friends and family here in Chicago.

Well my friends, it has been great. I loved sharing my thoughts, opinions and views with you on Chicago sports and a little more on what being a NASCAR driver is about.

If you'd want to stay connected, feel free follow me on Twitter at @KurtBusch22

GO BEARS!