Kyle Busch Wins NASCAR Cup Race at St Louis

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World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, IL — June 4, 2023

After a three-week stretch of traveling up and down the Carolinas, NASCAR hits the road to the Midwest and lands just outside St. Louis, Missouri, at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Last year, the Cup Series made its debut on the flat, 1-mile oval resulting in Joey Logano winning the inaugural event after an overtime battle with Kyle Busch — all in front of a sold-out crowd. This weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 is the 15th race of the 26-race regular season.

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 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 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 now 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 – Elliott Sadler won the event.

Though this will only be the second NASCAR Cup Series event at the track, the Raceway has hosted 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series races from 1997-2010 and 22 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races from 1998-2010 and 2014-2022.

Blaney Ends Drought

And just like that, another large winless streak is snapped. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney hustled to a crown jewel win in a rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He became the 10th different winner in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. Blaney also conquered a winless streak that had reached 59 races. He is the sixth different driver this season to snap a winless streak of 25 races or more, joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (199 races), Martin Truex Jr. (54 races), Denny Hamlin (33 races), William Byron (30 races) and Kyle Busch (28 races).

A total of 16 active drivers currently have winless streaks that date prior to the start of the 2023 season.

Driver Track Date Races Since Attempts Since
Justin Haley Daytona 07/07/19 140 83
Michael McDowell Daytona 02/14/21 85 85
Brad Keselowski Talladega 04/25/21 76 76
Aric Almirola Loudon 07/18/21 64 64
AJ Allmendinger Indianapolis RC 08/15/21 62 33
Austin Cindric Daytona 02/20/22 49 49
Alex Bowman Las Vegas 03/06/22 47 39
Chase Briscoe Phoenix 03/13/22 46 46
Ross Chastain Talladega 04/24/22 40 40
Daniel Suárez Sonoma 06/12/22 34 34
Kevin Harvick Richmond 08/14/22 26 26
Austin Dillon Daytona 08/28/22 24 24
Erik Jones Darlington 09/04/22 23 23
Bubba Wallace Kansas 09/11/22 22 21
Chris Buescher Bristol 09/17/22 21 21
Chase Elliott Talladega 10/02/22 19 13

 

Latest NASCAR News

The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports entry will miss today’s race as NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott for the incident with Denny Hamlin during the Coca-Cola 600.

Officials ruled Elliott intentionally crashed Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, turning left into Hamlin’s right-rear quarter panel and sending the No. 11 Toyota head-on into the outside SAFER barrier.

Another major penalty was announced Wednesday as NASCAR issued an L3-level penalty to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team for counterfeiting a Next Gen part.

As a result, the No. 14 team was docked 120 points in both the owner standings and driver standings for Chase Briscoe; an additional loss of 25 playoff points should Briscoe and the team qualify for the postseason; and a $250,000 fine and suspension for the next six points races to crew chief John Klausmeier.

This weekend RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski will become the 46th different driver to make 500 or more NASCAR Cup Series career starts.

Brad’s career in his previous 499 NASCAR Cup Series starts include one Cup Series Championship (2012), two Championship 4 Round appearances (2017, ‘20), 10 Playoff appearances (2011, ’12, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20, ’21), 35 wins, 142 top fives, 239 top 10s and has led over 9,000 laps.

Keselowski will look to become just the third driver to win on his 500th NASCAR Cup Series career start, joining Richard Petty (July 12, 1970, at Trenton) and Matt Kenseth (September 22, 2013, at New Hampshire).

NASCAR has announced that Phoenix Raceway will continue as the host of NASCAR Championship Weekend in 2024. Four champions will be crowned over three days, Nov. 1-3, 2024, as the best drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, and ARCA Menards Series West will compete for season supremacy at Phoenix Raceway.

“This honor is a testament to our fans whose overwhelming support makes this a true championship-caliber venue,” said Phoenix Raceway President Latasha Causey. “They pack the grandstands, fill the hillside, and create the best camping experience in all of NASCAR inside our breathtaking GEICO Gecko Campground. Now the onus is on us to exceed the already high standards we’ve set to continue building on this momentum and keep them coming back.”

The NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race completely sold out at Phoenix Raceway in 2021 and 2022, and only a limited number of seats remain for the 2023 NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 3-5.

Today’s Race

The NASCAR Cup Series drivers will race 300 miles over 240 circuits of the Raceway divided into Stages of 45/95/100 laps. Joey Logano is the defending champion of the race. He starts sixth today. It was a year ago in this race that the Denny Hamlin / Ross Chastain feud began, with Chastain running the driver of the #11 car into the wall.

Kyle Busch starts on the pole, with last week’s winner, Ryan Blaney, starting beside him. Corey LaJoie is filling in for the suspended Chase Elliott. He starts 30th. Hendrik “super-sub driver” Josh Berry is not at the track today. He raced yesterday in Portland, Oregon, as the Xfinity Series visited a different venue than the Cup cars this weekend.

Pyrotechnics fire along the backstretch as Cup drivers take their pace lap / NASCAR Photo

Stage One

Virtually the entire field drove side-by-side for the first lap around the 1.25-mile track. Tyler Reddick(45) locked up the brakes and spun, heading into turn one on lap two while trying to avoid running into Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(47). Putting the field under caution for the first time.

Before officials could restart the event, a lightning strike in the area prompted NASCAR to declare a weather safety emergency. The red flag was displayed, and drivers exited their vehicles.

After a one hour and thirty-seven minute delay, the red flag was lifted. Kyle Busch(8) and Ryan Blaney(12) will line up on the front row and restart the race again.

Busch moved away from Blaney and began to establish an interval at the front of the pack. Drivers seemed content to just make laps as the first Stage is only 45 laps, and pit stops will allow teams to adjust on their cars. Cloudy weather has cooled the track, and conditions are not what teams expected for the start of the race.

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 8 Kyle Busch 10
2 12 Ryan Blaney* 9
3 11 Denny Hamlin 8
4 19 Martin Truex Jr. 7
5 22 Joey Logano* 6
6 4 Kevin Harvick* 5
7 24 William Byron 4
8 1 Ross Chastain 3
9 2 Austin Cindric* 2
10 99 Daniel Suarez 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Stage Two

At 95 laps, the Second Stage will require a pit stop as fuel mileage is approximately 75 laps. Busch held the lead off pit road, followed by Blaney, Martin Truex Jr(19), Denny Hamlin(11), and Austin Cindric(2).

Truex and Cindric were guilty of infractions on pit road and were penalized by having to restart at the rear of the field. One lap in after the green flag, Ross Chastain(1) drove below Michael McDowell(34), hit the rumble strips in turn one, bounced off, and made contact with the #34 car. Causing McDowell to spin out and hit the outside wall.

Tight racing on restarts has already produced two incidents. It takes several laps for the drivers to sort out positions through the field. After two and a half laps of door-to-door racing, Blaney pulled away at the front. Busch, Hamlin, Kevin Harvick(4), and William Byron(24) made up the top five.

Carson Hocevar(7) had what appeared to be a right front brake rotor explode, sending his car into the outside wall and causing significant damage. Hocevar, a Craftsman Truck Series competitor, took over for Corey LaJoie(9) when he moved into the number nine car to fill in for Chase Elliott.

The caution with 50 laps to go in Stage Two will give everyone an opportunity to visit pit road for tires and fuel to take them to the green and white checkered flag. Strategies on pit road scrambled the field as some teams took two tires while others took four new Goodyears.

The leader, Blaney, took two and easily held the lead out of the pits. Joey Logano(22), AJ Allmendinger(16), Truex, Alex Bowman(48), and Kyle Busch all followed suit with just two tires and restarted at the front of the pack.

Blaney quickly put space between himself and Logano. Hamlin was the first car with four new tires moving up to fourth in the running order.

With 10 laps to go in the Stage, Busch had closed the gap on Blaney and was making a run to go back-to-back with Stage wins. Blaney held off the late charge to take the flag in first.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 12 Ryan Blaney* 10
2 8 Kyle Busch 9
3 11 Denny Hamlin 8
4 24 William Byron 7
5 99 Daniel Suarez 6
6 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 5
7 22 Joey Logano* 4
8 4 Kevin Harvick* 3
9 1 Ross Chastain 2
10 5 Kyle Larson 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

Tyler Reddick only took two tires during the Stage ending pit stops. The move gave him the lead heading into the Final Stage of the race. Byron, Blaney, Hamlin, and Daniel Suarez(99) all took four tires and followed Reddick to the green flag restarting the race.

Reddick sat 11th at the end of Stage Two. For the gamble for track position to work out, it will require a caution flag to allow him to get four fresh tires before he drops out of the top ten.

With 66 laps to go, Tyler Reddick suffered a brake rotor failure similar to Carson Hocevar. He slammed the wall and suffered extensive damage to the race car. Timing for his competitors was ideal, allowing teams to pit under caution and prep their cars for the run to the checkered flag.

Kyle Larson was the driver to gamble by taking just two tires, and he exited pit road with the lead. Hamlin, Busch, and Byron took four and will try and replace Larson at the front when the race goes green. McDowell took only two Goodyears and exited the pits in fifth.

Unfortunately, during pit stops, a tire changer on the Erik Jones(43) crew was injured. An ambulance was dispatched immediately to pit road and quickly removed the crewman to provide medical attention. The injured crewman was reported awake and alert. He was transferred to a local hospital for observation.

It only took two laps for Kyle Busch to replace Larson at the front. Larson was able to pull in behind the number eight car and ahead of Hamlin.

With 43 laps to go, Noah Gragson(42) spun and hit the outside wall with the driver’s side of his car. Another brake rotor failure was the cause of the crash. The impact left Gragson a bit wobbly as he exited and utterly destroyed the race car.

The debris field left by the accident forced NASCAR to red-flag the race to clean up the mess.

After a ten-minute delay, cars resumed circling the track under yellow. A few cars opted to come to the pits for final adjustments before the sprint to the finish.

On the restart, Larson again was able to slide up between Busch and Hamlin maintaining the second position. Christopher Bell spun, and the caution was back out after just two laps of racing.

The Finish

Restarting with 31 laps to go, Blaney got a nose-up on Hamlin, allowing Larson to easily slide in behind Busch. Blaney completed the pass, and Logano drove up into fifth to contend with the #11 car.

Gray Gaulding(15) stalled on the front stretch, bringing out the 11th caution of the afternoon.

Restarting with 23 laps to go, they fell into line with Busch, Larson, Blaney, and Hamlin out front. Then Cindric turned Austin Dillon(3) into Ricky Stenhouse(47), and the wreck fest continued.

Not just another caution but the third red flag of the day as track crews repair the safer barrier where Stenhouse impacted the wall. For the second week in a row, a Cup Series event turned into a marathon.

Just 15 laps remain when racing resumes. Busch, Larson, Hamlin, Blaney, and Logano line up out of turn two while the back of the field spreads out three-wide. They remain caution free with 10 laps to go.

With five to, the running order remained the same. However, Bubba Wallace(23) suffered a brake rotor failure and hit the wall. The 14th caution of the day will send the race into NASCAR overtime.

This is the sixth race of the season that has gone into overtime. Only once has the leader at the scheduled distance of the race held on for the win.

The older tires finally caught up with Larson, and Hamlin was able to follow Busch into the first turn to take over the second spot. Logano managed to pass Larson for third as Busch drove away to the win.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings

Ryan Blaney took over the points lead with his sixth-place finish, bumping Ross Chastain from the top spot that would have guaranteed Chastain a spot in the playoffs. Daniel Suarez unseated Alex Bowman on the bubble. A mere six points separate the 16th and 17th positions at the cut line. Ty Gibbs is making a run for a playoff spot, sitting only 15 points below the cut-off.

RANK DRIVER POINTS STATUS
1 William Byron 482 In Win(3)
2 Kyle Busch 451 In Win(3)
3 Kyle Larson 411 In Win(2)
4 Ryan Blaney* (Points Leader) 495 In Win
5 Martin Truex Jr. 472 In Win
6 Christopher Bell 455 In Win
7 Denny Hamlin 451 In Win
8 Tyler Reddick 411 In Win
9 Joey Logano* 401 In Win
10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 368 In Win
11 Kevin Harvick* 473 +166
12 Ross Chastain 466 +159
13 Brad Keselowski* 403 +96
14 Chris Buescher* 393 +86
15 Bubba Wallace 334 +27
16 Daniel Suarez 313 +6
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut Line
17 Alex Bowman 307 -6
18 Ty Gibbs 298 -15
19 Austin Cindric* 280 -33
20 Michael McDowell* 278 -35
21 Corey LaJoie 274 -39
22 Justin Haley 268 -45
23 Todd Gilliland* 266 -47
24 AJ Allmendinger 260 -53
25 Aric Almirola* 251 -62

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Results of the Enjoy Illinois 300 from World Wide Technology Raceway

POS CAR DRIVER BEHIND LAPS
1 8 Kyle Busch 243
2 11 Denny Hamlin 0.517 243
3 22 Joey Logano 1.161 243
4 5 Kyle Larson 1.357 243
5 19 Martin Truex Jr. 1.490 243
6 12 Ryan Blaney 1.688 243
7 99 Daniel Suarez 1.811 243
8 24 William Byron 1.910 243
9 34 Michael McDowell 2.242 243
10 4 Kevin Harvick 2.483 243
11 20 Christopher Bell 2.589 243
12 17 Chris Buescher 2.622 243
13 2 Austin Cindric 2.811 243
14 16 AJ Allmendinger 2.934 243
15 38 Todd Gilliland 3.067 243
16 31 Justin Haley 3.208 243
17 41 Ryan Preece 3.235 243
18 43 Erik Jones 3.427 243
19 10 Aric Almirola 3.463 243
20 54 Ty Gibbs 3.686 243
21 9 Corey LaJoie 3.729 243
22 1 Ross Chastain 3.964 243
23 21 Harrison Burton 3.978 243
24 51 JJ Yeley 4.247 243
25 77 Ty Dillon 4.255 243
26 48 Alex Bowman 4.400 243
27 78 BJ McLeod 4.637 243
28 6 Brad Keselowski 4.916 243
29 15 Gray Gaulding -1 242
30 23 Bubba Wallace -7 236
31 3 Austin Dillon -20 223
32 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -24 219
33 42 Noah Gragson -46 197
34 14 Chase Briscoe -50 193
35 45 Tyler Reddick -69 174
36 7 Carson Hocevar -152 91