NASCAR welcomes a new market to the Cup Series on Sunday with the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter at World Wide Technology Raceway. The 1.25-mile oval, located outside St. Louis (Madison, Ill.), is the lone racetrack added to the 2022 Cup schedule.
The 15th race of the year will also be one of the shortest, a 240-lap event expected to take well under three hours. That’s quite a contrast from the longest race in NASCAR history last weekend, the 619.5-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway that took five hours, 13 minutes to complete under green.
That race produced some of the best competition we’ve seen on intermediate ovals this season. That’s left big shoes to fill up at Gateway, where drivers are extremely concerned about passing and track position after Friday’s practice. “Pit stops and restarts,” Chase Elliott said simply, “Will be vital on who wins.”
Team Penske had the top three speeds in that practice but wasn’t able to back that up in qualifying. Instead, Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing won the pole, the first on speed of his Cup career while Penske could do no better than second with Austin Cindric. All three manufacturers landed inside the top five, continuing the parity we’ve seen through this 2022 season.