World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Il — June 5, 2022
The NASCAR Cup Series visits a new track today for the Enjoy Illinois 300. World Wide Technology Raceway is located in Madison, Illinois. Just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The 1.25-mile circuit is built in the shape of a paper clip, featuring long straightaways with a tight radius in turns one and two combined with a wide arc in turns three and four.
The Ford Mustangs seem to like the track and Joey Logano was the fastest Ford all weekend until qualifying. A slight bobble cost Logano a shot at the pole, he starts seventh today. But the Mustangs of Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric will start on the front row. With Briscoe earning the first pole of his Cup career.
To complete the 300 miles of today’s race it will take 240 laps around World Wide Technology Raceway. Stages are 45/95/100 laps. Half the distance of last week’s 600-mile event at Charlotte, maintaining track position will be a key to victory. There is not enough time to recover from a mistake on pit road. A penalty for a pit stop violation and the resulting relegation to the rear of the field would be a costly error.
Chase Briscoe(14) led the first 27 laps until he experienced tire trouble. On lap 30 Briscoe suffered a flat left rear tire costing him the lead and putting him a lap down to the field. Daytona 500 Champion Austin Cindric(2) took over the top spot and held it until the Stage ending green and white checkered flag.
Three-wide and the occasional four-wide racing highlighted the early laps of the Stage as drivers jockeyed
Stage One Results
*Ford Mustang Drivers
Team Penske drivers Cindric and Blaney led the pack back to the green on the restart. With Cindric holding off an attempt by Blaney to grab the lead away.
Ross Chastain(1) got into a battle with Denny Hamlin(11) early in the Second Stage. The fight for position got physical at Chastain put the bumper to the rear of Hamlin’s car and sent him up the race track to make the pass. Unfortunately for Hamlin, he tapped the outside wall and broke something in the right rear suspension. Hamlin lost four laps in the pits making repairs.
When racing resumed, after the Hamlin caution, Kyle Busch(18) and Joey Logano(22) raced for the lead with Busch taking over the top spot.
The Hamlin/Chastain incident continued. The first time the pair met again on the track, Hamlin drove Chastain down to the bottom of the track and almost into the grass as Ross was making a pass. With Hamlin just logging laps in his damaged race car, the two came together again a few laps later. This time Hamlin blocked him high and low while Chastain tried to work his way around the #11 car.
Tire troubles appear to be an issue drivers will have to contend with this week. Blaney had a left rear go down and he lost control, lightly backing into the outside wall bringing out another caution.
Two new leaders for this restart as Michael McDowell(38) and Tyler Reddick(8) took a turn at the front. Racing for positions back in the pack, Chastain was back in the middle of another incident. Trying to go three-wide, Chastain got underneath Chase Elliott(9) causing Elliott to spin in front of half the field. Fortunately, Elliott avoided serious contact but did have to come to pit road to replace a tire flattened during the slide.
Interestingly, Elliott lined up behind Chastain for the restart with Hamlin on the inside of both cars. Elliott put the bumper to Chastain twice moving the number one car up the track and making the pass. Hamlin filled the spot not allowing Chastain to come back down into line. Hamlin blocked Chastain for a lap and a half moving high and low until Ross was able to finally get around the slower car.
Back out front, McDowell held the top spot while Aric Almirola(10) held second over Reddick as the Fords continue to show good speed. The Busch brothers joined the battle up front as Kurt Busch(45) and Kyle began to put pressure on Reddick. Michigan’s Erik Jones, having another good day, moved into the seventh spot as another on-track incident brought out the caution again.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(47) put the bump and run move on Bubba Wallace(23) causing Wallace to spin around in the middle of the track. A number of drivers opted to stay on the track hoping to cash in on Stage points as the restart came with just six laps to go in Stage Two.
Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson led the pack back to the green flag. Kyle Busch, who did stop for fresh tires, was the man on the move in the closing laps as he picked off car by car to move into the third spot as brother Kurt battled with Martin Truex Jr.(19) for the Stage win. Kurt Busch held off the late charge to take the checkers.
Stage Two Results
|2||19||Martin Truex Jr.||9|
*Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
The varying pit strategies on the late caution in Stage Two jumbled the field for the beginning of Stage Three. Truex and Kyle Busch started on the front row. Almirola and Bell sat on row two, with Suarez and Jones occupying row three.
Once positions were established drivers settled in and rode for several laps until Reddick spun out just before the halfway point of the Final Stage. All the leaders came to pit road as they were inside the window for enough fuel to finish the race. Erik Jones exited with the lead, just edging out Kyle Busch to the line at the end of pit road.
On the restart, Busch drove to the lead, Logano jumped past Jones and Almirola followed. Truex rounded out the top five. With 40 laps to go, Stenhouse spun off turn two bringing out the caution flag and an opportunity for crews to make adjustments to any cars that are willing to give up track position.
The top 15 cars stayed out while most of the rest of the field came to pit road for fresh tires. On the restart, Logano was able to put a move on Kyle Busch and take over the top spot. Almirola held onto third, with Blaney fourth and Jones running in fifth. Chastain went three-wide back in the pack to return to the top-10.
With 19 laps to go, Cole Custer spun bringing out the ninth caution of the day and setting up a sprint to the finish for the win. None of the leaders visited pit road during the caution and the race restarted with 13 laps to go.
This time it was Kyle Busch powering off on the drop of the green and taking the lead back from Logano. Ryan Blaney was the third car in the mix and the top trio pulled away from the rest of the field.
Logano hugged Busch’s rear bump and dove to the inside lap after lap but could not pull even with the leader. With five laps to it was a two-car race and then Kevin Harvick(4) hit the wall coming to rest against the outside barrier in turn three. Resulting in the race going into NASCAR overtime.
Kyle Busch opted to start on the outside of Logano with Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney directly behind respectively. Logano got the better start and slid up in front of Kyle to take the lead. Off turn two Busch crossed under him and took the lead into three. Kyle overdrove into the corner and Logano passed coming off turn four.
Once back out front, Logano held on for the win. Kurt Busch finished third, and Blaney ran fourth with Almirola in fifth. Giving the Blue Oval three of the top-five finishing positions.
|1||Ross Chastain||490||In Win (2)|
|2||Joey Logano*||467||In Win (2)|
|3||William Byron||438||In Win (2)|
|4||Denny Hamlin||319||In Win (2)|
|5||Chase Elliott||507||In Win|
|6||Kyle Busch||498||In Win|
|7||Kyle Larson||444||In Win|
|8||Alex Bowman||439||In Win|
|9||Chase Briscoe*||362||In Win|
|10||Kurt Busch||333||In Win|
|11||Austin Cindric*||330||In Win|
|13||Martin Truex Jr.||470||+93|
|NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Cut Line|
*Ford Mustang Drivers
Results of the Enjoy Illinois 300 from World Wide Technology Raceway
|6||19||Martin Truex Jr.||245|
|32||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||241|