NASCAR Cup Series returns to World Wide Technology Raceway

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After an outstanding debut last season, the NASCAR Cup Series will be returning to the World Wide Technology Raceway for this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – the 15th race of the 26-race regular season.

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 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 this weekend at the 1.25-mile track, World Wide Technology Raceway has hosted 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series races from 1997-2010 and 22 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races from 1998-2010 and 2014-2022.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the defending winner of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway – one of 19 different tracks the Connecticut native has won at in the series. Eight other drivers entered this weekend have won in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway, led by Kevin Harvick with three NASCAR national series wins at the 1.25-mile track (NXS 2000, 2001 and NCTS 2010); followed by Christopher Bell (NCTS 2016), Kyle Busch (NXS 2009), Ross Chastain (NCTS 2019), Justin Haley (NCTS 2018), Brad Keselowski (NXS 2010), Martin Truex Jr. (NXS 2004) and Bubba Wallace (NCTS 2014) each with one victory.  

All the on-track action begins for the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. ET on FS1.

NASCAR to ring in 100th National Series race in Illinois

NASCAR has a long history in the state of Illinois dating back to 1954, and this weekend the sport will run its 100th and 101st national series races in the state of Illinois at Word Wide Technology Raceway. 

Returning for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race, the Toyota 200, on Saturday, June 3 (race 100) and the NASCAR Cup Series’ second installment of the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (race 101). World Wide Technology Raceway is the fifth different track in the great state of Illinois that has hosted a NASCAR national series event. 

The NASCAR Cup Series first competed in the state of Illinois on Saturday, July 10, 1954 at Santa Fe Speedway, a half-mile dirt track located in Willow Springs, IL. The event had 23 cars entered and was scheduled for 200 laps (100 miles). Dick Rathman won the race driving a 1954 Hudson for car owner John Ditz.

It wasn’t until two years later that the NASCAR Cup Series returned to the state of Illinois, only this time it was at the famous Soldier Field in Chicago. On July 21, 1956, the NASCAR Cup Series saw 25 cars compete at the half-mile paved track inside the stadium for 200 laps (100 miles). The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts driving a Ford for car owner Pete DePaolo.

The NASCAR Cup Series has also competed at Chicagoland Speedway from 2001-2019 for 19 races.

In total, there have been 99 NASCAR national series races in the state of Illinois among five different tracks. The NASCAR Cup Series has made 22 starts in the state of Illinois and has competed at four of the five tracks.

Breakdown of the NASCAR National Series races in Illinois (All-Time)

Track NameCityCupXfinityTruckCombinedFirst Year
Chicagoland SpeedwayJoliet192411572001
World Wide Technology RacewayMadison11522381997
Chicago Motor SpeedwayCicero00222000
Santa Fe SpeedwayWillow Springs10011954
Soldier FieldChicago10011956

Confluence Festival 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.

Already announced 14-time Grammy-nominated Dierks Bentley will headline, playing a full set in what will be his only St. Louis appearance this year. He leads an impressive award-winning lineup:

Flo Rida – Five-time Grammy nominee Flo Rida is an American rapper and singer who 2007 breakout single “Low” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for over ten weeks and remained in the top ten for over 20 weeks. Having sold over 80 million records worldwide, he is one of the best-selling musical artists in the world.

Brothers Osborne – Brothers Osborne is an American country music duo consisting of brothers T.J. Osborne and John Osborne. Eight-time Academy of Country Music Award winners and six-time Country Music Award winners, they won the 2022 Grammy Award for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance”.

Brittney Spencer – Brittney Spencer is an American Country singer/songwriter from Baltimore. Brittney has released three singles; “Sober & Skinny”, “More Than Perfect” and “Wake Me Up (A Fever Dream)”. She was nominated for Country Music Television Music Awards “CMT Digital First Performance of the Year” in 2022 for her performance of “Sober & Skinny”.

Bailey Zimmerman – From nearby Louisville, IL, Zimmerman is one of country music’s most exciting new voices with the 2022 release of his debut LP, Leave the Light On – the biggest streaming country debut of all time and the most-streamed all-genre debut of the year.

Rissi Palmer – Rissi Palmer was one of the first African American female country artists to chart on country radio with singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” She has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”

Tim Dugger – A NASCAR favorite, country singer-songwriter Dugger returns for the 2023 Confluence Music Festival. After surpassing 15 million career streams, he released his new single, “Buy a Bar” this past February.

“We are so excited to deliver an impressive second-year experience for racing fans as they return to World Wide Technology Raceway,” said Curtis Francois, Owner and CEO of World Wide Technology Raceway. “We have so much to celebrate and live music entertainment is an important part of how we want to attract and delight our guests at the Enjoy Illinois 300.”

Special performances by BeBe Winans, Jazz St. Louis, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Madison High School Marching Band and The Muny Teens will put an unforgettable and uniquely local stamp on the event.

Regional acts scheduled to perform over the weekend include: Blinded By Stereo, DJ Mahf, DJ Big D, Dr. Zhivegas, Dylan Triplett, Funky Butt Brass Band, Lamar Harris, Malena Smith, Red and Black Brass Band, St. Boogie Brass Band, The Bobby Ford Band, The Mighty Pines – lead singer Neil Salsich is competed on NBC’s The Voice!, Vella La Vella, and We Are Root Mod. 

“We were intentional about developing a line-up that is exciting, representative and true to the mission of Confluence,” said Kwofe Coleman, President and CEO of the Muny, and producer of the Confluence Festival. “Sharing the platform of Enjoy Illinois 300’s remarkable reach among local and national artists from various genres is a special opportunity to celebrate the concept of together and offer race-goers and attendees an unforgettable experience.”

Blaney becomes 10th different winner this season, sixth to knockout big winless streak

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 becoming 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.

DriverTrackDateRaces SinceAttempts Since
Justin HaleyDaytona07/07/1914083
Michael McDowellDaytona02/14/218585
Brad KeselowskiTalladega04/25/217676
Aric AlmirolaLoudon07/18/216464
AJ AllmendingerIndianapolis RC08/15/216233
Austin CindricDaytona02/20/224949
Alex BowmanLas Vegas03/06/224739
Chase BriscoePhoenix03/13/224646
Ross ChastainTalladega04/24/224040
Daniel SuárezSonoma06/12/223434
Kevin HarvickRichmond08/14/222626
Austin DillonDaytona08/28/222424
Erik JonesDarlington09/04/222323
Bubba WallaceKansas09/11/222221
Chris BuescherBristol09/17/222121
Chase ElliottTalladega10/02/221913

As the most recent winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ryan Blaney jumps off the winless list this season and has secured his spot in the Playoffs for the seventh-time in his career (2023, ‘22, ’21 ’20, ’19, ’18, ’17). This year, the North Carolina native has posted one win (Charlotte), four top fives and eight top 10s. And to boot, Blaney is ranked second in the series driver standings, just one-point behind standings leader and Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain. 

As the series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway for the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, watch for Ryan Blaney to continue to ride his wave of success. In last year’s inaugural Cup Series event at WWTR, he finished in the top-five (fourth) and led 12 laps. Loop Data also has him ranked in the top five in several pre-race categories: Average Running Position (6.780, third-best), Driver Rating (118.2, second-best), Fastest Laps Run (38, second-best), and Quality Passes (52, second-most).

Playoff Bubble: Just five postseason spots still open following Charlotte

Rolling into World Wide Technology Raceway this weekend, 10 different drivers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. With a spot secured for the driver point standings leader without a win, currently occupied by Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, that leaves just five spots available in 16-driver field to make the postseason.

The 10 drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season are William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano.

Ross Chastain regained the points lead in the NASCAR Cup Series following Dover Motor Speedway and has held the top spot since, but he is winless and currently only has a one-point advantage over Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney in second.

The five drivers currently occupying Playoff spots on points are: 12. Kevin Harvick (+146 points over postseason cutoff), 13. Brad Keselowski (+102), 14. Chris Buescher (+76), 15. Bubba Wallace (+35), 16. Alex Bowman (+4). 

It didn’t take Alex Bowman long to bounce back into Playoff contention. He returned from injury last week at Charlotte with a Playoff waiver and ranked 17th in points. After posting a 12th-place finish at Charlotte, he has now jumped to 16th, up four points over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in 17th – the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff.

Not far behind Bowman in the points are Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs in 18th (-15 points) and Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suarez in 19th (-20 points). 

In last season’s WWTR Cup race Bowman finished 13th, Briscoe finished 24th, and Suarez finished 23rd. This weekend will be Ty Gibbs first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series at World Wide Technology Raceway. 

Four of the drivers that finished in the top-10 in the NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway last season are still looking for their first win of 2023 – Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger.


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