NASCAR Cup Series is Ready to Enjoy Illinois at World Wide Technology Raceway

Third time’s a charm.

At least that is what one of the winless drivers this season in the NASCAR Cup Series is hoping how their trip to World Wide Technology Raceway will result. This Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, the Enjoy Illinois 300 (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), is the 15th race of the 26-race regular season schedule, and with just 12 races left to decide who makes the Playoffs, time is of the essence for drivers and teams to secure their spot.

The previous two NASCAR Cup Series World Wide Technology Raceway winners – Joey Logano (2022) and Kyle Busch (2023) – are both still looking for their first win of 2024.

This weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 marks the third time the NASCAR Cup Series has competed at World Wide Technology Raceway. This Sunday’s event will be 300 miles (240 laps).

Practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Getting to know World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway, located in Madison, Illinois just outside St. Louis, was originally built as a drag strip and road course in 1985 and was originally known as St. Louis International Raceway Park. In 1994, new ownership acquired the track. The existing tracks (drag strip and road course) were demolished over the course of 1995–1996 and a new oval speedway and drag strip were constructed.

The current 1.25-mile oval that is World Wide Technology Raceway has a unique shape and different degrees of banking in each set of turns. The backstretch is confined to run parallel with Illinois Route 203, making Turns 1 & 2 a tighter radius than Turns 3 & 4. Turns 1 & 2 have similar characteristics to New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Turns 3 & 4 are similar to Phoenix Raceway. The track’s egg shape mimics the legendary Darlington Raceway. The facility has more than 700 acres welcoming fans this weekend.

The first NASCAR national series race held at World Wide Technology Raceway was a NASCAR Xfinity Series race held on June 26, 1997. The race was won by Elliott Sadler driving a Chevrolet for car owner Gary Bechtel.

Though this will only be the third NASCAR Cup Series event this weekend at the 1.25-mile track (2022-2023), World Wide Technology Raceway has hosted 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series races from 1997-2010 and 23 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races from 1998-2010 and 2014-2023.

NASCAR first raced in Illinois in 1954

The first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Illinois was a NASCAR Cup Series race at Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois. Santa Fe Speedway was a half-mile dirt track. The event was held on July 10, 1954 and the race was won by Dick Rathman driving a ’54 Hudson for car owner John Ditz.

In total, there have been 100 NASCAR national series races among six tracks in the state of Illinois.

The most recent track in the state of Illinois to join the NASCAR fold is the Chicago Street Race, which made its debut last season racing on the streets of Chicago – a first for the city and the sport.

Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway

At this weekend’s World Wide Technology Raceway, six NASCAR Cup Series drivers that have made both previous starts, have posted an average finish inside the top-10, led by the defending winner of this race – Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch with a 1.5 average finish.

Joining Busch with an average finish inside the top-10 is 2021 World Wide Technology Raceway winner Joey Logano (2.0), Ryan Blaney (5.0), Martin Truex Jr. (5.5) Kyle Larson (8.0) and last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 winner Christopher Bell (10.0).

Team Penske’s Joey Logano won the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Logano passed Kyle Bush with two laps to go to win the race.

Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch is the defending winner of last season’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Busch passed Kyle Larson with 60 laps to go to take the lead ultimately the win.

A total of seven other drivers entered this weekend (not including Busch or Logano) have won in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway: Ross Chastain (NCTS 2019), Justin Haley (NCTS 2018), John H. Nemechek (NCTS 2017), Christopher Bell (NCTS 2016), Brad Keselowski (NXS 2010), Bubba Wallace (NCTS 2014), and Martin Truex Jr. (NXS 2004).

All the on-track action begins for the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, June 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET on FS1.

Confluence Festival is a nice weekend addition for fans at WWTR

This weekend’s NASCAR festivities at World Wide Technology Raceway, will be accompanied by the Confluence Festival, a showcase of innovation, talent and live entertainment that represents the region’s communities coming together in welcoming NASCAR to World Wide Technology Raceway.

A fan’s race ticket is their concert ticket to experience the electrifying excitement of the third annual Confluence Music Festival, returning to the St. Louis area on June 1-2 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Fans will have the opportunity to revel in the performances of chart-toppers Ludacris and T-Pain, along with country sensation Riley Green.

Ludacris will set the stage ablaze on June 1, followed by T-Pain and Riley Green captivating the crowd on June 2. They’ll share the spotlight with over 30 national and local acts across multiple stages, including Adam Wainwright, Big & Rich with Gretchen Wilson & Cowboy Troy, Brittney Spencer, and Tim Dugger.

Playoff Bubble: Just eight postseason spots still open following Charlotte

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell scored himself a NASCAR Cup Series ‘crown jewel’ win last weekend taking home the trophy for the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 – the series’ longest race. Bell is now one of four drivers this season with multiple wins. Looking to this weekend, the Cup Series competitors turn their attention to World Wide Technology Raceway knowing time is running out to secure their spots in the postseason. Half of the Playoff field positions is already spoken for, leaving just eight spots left with 12 races to go in the regular season.

The eight drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoff by virtue of their wins are Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez.

Currently riding the cut line for the postseason is RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher, who made the Playoffs last season. Buescher is ranked 16th in the Playoff projection, 11 points up on Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in 17th, and 30 points ahead of two-time Cup Series champion and Team Penske driver Joey Logano in 18th.

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