Kyle Busch checks off Gateway

Kyle Busch led half the laps in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300, and conquered five late race restarts, including an overtime restart, to take the chequered to claim his third career win of the season, and win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Illinois, in the Cup Series for the first time in his second try.  

  • Kyle Busch checks off Gateway
  • Brake rotor failures
  • Rest of race recap
  • Full race results
  • Points standings
Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The polesitter won stage one, and led five different times for 121 laps of the 240 to get his 63rd Cup Series career win.

Kyle Larson challenged Busch for the lead in each of the final five restarts, who had got to first with under 65 laps to go after only taking two tyres on pit road.

Larson was unable to challenge Busch on the final restart, allowing Denny Hamlin to take second with last year’s winner Joey Logano finishing third and Larson fourth.

Kyle Busch said: “Man, to sit on the pole, lead a lot of laps and have my guys do such a great job today was pretty phenomenal for us. Great for RCR. Just win, baby! Thanks to Team Chevy, appreciate 3Chi (sponsor).”

Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, celebrates with RCR team owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Richard Childress and wife, Samantha Busch in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch had won at every track on the Cup Series schedule prior to the 2018 season, but with the addition of several new tracks in recent years, Busch has more work to do to reach that feat again. He has gotten one step closer by winning at World Wide Technology after only been added to the Cup Series schedule last year.

Kyle Larson had been outside the top 30 during stage one and described his car as “bad loose” finishing 28th in stage one. Several adjustments made to the car by the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports crew, along with the two-tyre call with less than 60 laps to go miraculously saw him go to the front briefly.

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, and Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney left off where he finished last week where he ended his 59 winless drought to win the Coca-Cola 600, led 83 laps, including dominating and winning stage two, but was unable to get by Busch and Larson in the closing 50 laps of the race and would finish sixth. 

Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

William Byron had taken over the lead of the race halfway through the final stage but a slow pit stop under caution on lap 178 dropped him down to fourth and sank further through the field under green. Byron finished eighth.

Corey Lajoie made his debut for Hendrick Motorsports filling in for Chase Elliott, who was serving a one race suspension by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin in last week’s Coca-Cola 600.

LaJoie’s No. 9 Chevrolet was not handling well in the first half of the race after qualifying 30th,  being stuck outside the the top 25 but managed a solid 21st place finish despite the ill handling race car.

Corey LaJoie, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Brake rotor failures

Full time Truck Series competitor Carson Hocevar, who got his first Truck Series win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year, filled in for LaJoie in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, making his Cup Series debut and put on an impressive show.

He qualified 26th  but worked his way up the order in the first two stages challenging Austin Dillon for 16th but his race ended early when on lap 90 his right front brake rotor exploded, taking him out of the race.

Hocevar said: “I had a blast. Just so thankful for the opportunity. I was running 16th… just so surreal for the first time ever. I thought we were going to have a good day and be in a good spot for the No. 7 Chevy team. Hopefully, that call for a Cup ride isn’t the only one I get in my life.”

Several drivers experienced brake rotor failures in the race, most likely down to the hard braking required from high speed to make turns one and three. The brakes appeared to be worse when drivers only took two tyres and ran long.

Tyler Reddick, Noah Gragson, and Bubba Wallace all had front right brake rotor failures on lap 175, 198, and 235 respectively, bringing out the caution as brake rotor debris littered turns one and two.

Rest of race recap

Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 04, 2023 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

The race was stopped on lap seven and delayed for two hours due to lightning in the area but no rain reached the race track.

A general view of pit road during a weather delay of the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski lost engine performance at the end of stage one and went down a lap. Due to a flurry of late race cautions, Keselowski was able to finish 28th on the lead lap despite the loss in performance.

The start of stage two saw Ross Chastain tag Michael McDowell on the restart sending McDowell go for a spin. McDowell had taken two tires during the stage break, gaining 11 positions, that put him inside the top 10. McDowell recovered from this to finish ninth.

Lap 61 saw Ryan Blaney finally clear Kyle Busch for the lead after racing side by side for several laps, and would lead the rest of stage two to lap 90 to take the stage win.

Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had strong runs going in the first two stages, running inside the top 10.

William Byron took over the lead briefly from Tyler Reddick at the start of the final stage. Reddick had gained 11 positions during the stage break on pit road by taking two tyres only. Byron lost the lead to Larson on pit road during the next caution due to Reddick’s brake rotor failure.

With 55 to go, Kyle Busch cleared Kyle Larson for the lead coming off turn two, who had held it briefly on the restart. Busch would stay out front for the remainder of the race.

Christopher Bell was spun out by Austin Cindric in a three-wide incident in turn two but recovered to a 11th place finish.

Klye Busch’s RCR teammate Austin Dillon ended Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s strong day with 22 laps to go when he turned off of the nose of Austin Cindric and piled into Stenhouse going into turn one, taking both of them out of the race.

Bubba Wallace’s brake rotor failure with five laps to go saw the caution come out again that led to the overtime finish that saw Kyle Busch take the chequered flag for Richard Childress Racing.

The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series will be the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in California with the green flag flying this Sunday at 3:30pm ET.

Full race results 

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Ryan Blaney
  7. Daniel Suarez
  8. William Byron
  9. Michael McDowell
  10. Kevin Harvick
  11. Christopher Bell
  12. Chris Buescher
  13. Austin Cindric
  14. AJ Allmendinger
  15. Todd Gilliland
  16. Justin Haley
  17. Ryan Preece
  18. Erik Jones
  19. Aric Almirola
  20. Ty Gibbs
  21. Corey LaJoie
  22. Ross Chastain
  23. Harrison Burton
  24. JJ Yeley
  25. Ty Dillon
  26. Alex Bowman
  27. BJ McLeod
  28. Brad Keselowski
  29. Gray Gaulding
  30. Bubba Wallace
  31. Austin Dillon
  32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  33. Noah Gragson
  34. Chase Briscoe
  35. Tyler Reddick
  36. Carson Hocevar

Stage one

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Ryan Blaney
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. William Byron
  8. Ross Chastain
  9. Austin Cindric
  10. Daniel Suarez

Stage two 

  1. Ryan Blaney
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. William Byron
  5. Daniel Suarez
  6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  7. Joey Logano
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Ross Chastain
  10. Kyle Larson

Points standings

(* = locked into playoffs)

  1. Ryan Blaney* – 495
  2. William Byron* – 482
  3. Kevin Harvick – 473
  4. Martin Truex Jr.* – 472
  5. Ross Chastain – 466
  6. Christopher Bell* – 455
  7. Kyle Busch* – 451
  8. Denny Hamlin* – 451
  9. Kyle Larson* – 411
  10. Tyler Reddick* – 411
  11. Brad Keselowski – 403
  12. Joey Logano* – 401
  13. Chris Buescher – 393
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* – 368
  15. Bubba Wallace – 334
  16. Daniel Suarez – 313

  17. Alex Bowman – 307
  18. Ty Gibbs – 298
  19. Austin Cindric – 280
  20. Michael McDowell – 278
  21. Corey LaJoie – 274
  22. Justin Haley – 268
  23. Todd Gilliland – 266
  24. AJ Allmendinger – 260
  25. Aric Almirola – 251
  26. Erik Jones – 245
  27. Ryan Preece – 245
  28. Chase Elliott – 215
  29. Harrison Burton – 209
  30. Austin Dillon – 200
  31. Chase Briscoe – 175
  32. Noah Gragson – 143
  33. Ty Dillon – 132
  34. BJ McLeod – 88

Featured Image: Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet, takes a bow after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)


Joey Logano achieves childhood dream win at Atlanta

Joey Logano outduelled former Penske teammate and two-time Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski in the final laps of the Ambetter Health 400 on Sunday, with a push from Christopher Bell down the backstretch helping Logano clear the pack to win for the first time at Atlanta in the Cup Series.

  • Race summary
  • Rest of race recap
  • Full race results
  • Points standings 

It was a dominant display from Logano, having nabbed the pole from Penske teammate Austin Cindric by 0.006 of a second on Saturday, and going on to lead the most laps in Sunday’s race, leading 140 of the 260 laps, and also winning stage one before taking the chequers.

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Autotrader Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 2023 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The reigning Cup Series champion said: “Yeah, first off so special to win Atlanta for me. So many memories of me and my dad racing right here on the quarter mile. This is the full circle for us. So many memories gritting over there with the Legends car, racing, having a big time. Dreaming of going straight at the quarter mile and going onto the big track. That was always the dream to do it. To finally win here means so much to me here personally, but the team.”

The track has deep family ties for Logano, having lived at one of the condo’s at the race track for four years with his family whilst working his way through the racing ranks.

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Autotrader Ford, celebrates with his father, Tom Logano, after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo by Sean Gardner | Getty Images)

Logano and his Team Penske teammates executed a strong race plan all day long. After the trio qualified one-two-three for the race with Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney qualifying second and third respectively, they helped Logano lead from the off. They stayed together for most of the race including in the final twenty laps where they persisted on the bottom lane, not allowing Brad Keselowski and the top lane to run away with the race.

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Autotrader Ford, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 King’s Hawaiian Ford, lead the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 2023 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

With six laps to go it appeared all momentum and hope for Logano and Team Penske had been lost but a reenergized bottom lane put Logano back in contention.

On the final lap, Corey Lajoie bump-drafted Logano into turn one propelling Logano to lead the top lane and race side-by-side with Keselowski before Bell bumped him down the backstretch and into the lead.

Logano said: “The Auto Trader Mustang; this thing was an animal. Very, very fast.”

Runner-up Brad Keselowski furthered a dominant Ford display, with Ford having taken the top eight spots in qualifying, a feat that Ford hadn’t reached since 1965.

Keselowski looked in control of the race until he could no longer halt the momentum of Logano and raced cleanly to the chequered flag. Keselowski led the second most laps with 47.

Keselowski said: “The coolest thing about this race is two veterans showed you can run a race here side by side, bump-drafting, and not wreck the field. It can happen if you race respectfully. I thought everybody did a great job.”

Corey LaJoie had a career best fourth place finish after running inside the top 15 for the majority of the race.

Rest of race recap 

Joey Logano and Austin Cindric led the field to green for the third Atlanta race since the 2021 repave where the banking was raised to 28 degrees in both corners, as well narrowing the corners, turning the track into a downsized Daytona superspeedway with the cars using the same race package used for Daytona and Talladega.

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Autotrader Ford, leads the field to start the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 2023 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Logano led the first 10 laps before a caution came out for an out of control Bubba Wallace when he got loose on the outside next to Kyle Busch coming off turn two, before spinning across the track into the wall. Wallace was able to continue the race after repairs but would finish 27th five laps down.

Early on in stage one saw Kevin Harvick lead the bottom lane, but was not able to take the lead away from Logano for long. The NASCAR veteran was competing in his final Spring Atlanta race before retirement, the race of which he won in just his third Cup start 22 years ago, driving for Richard Childress, only three weeks after Childress and the NASCAR world suffered the loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr. 

It was single file for the second half of stage one with Logano comfortably taking the stage win.

Stage two briefly saw a six-car breakaway at the front, midway through the fuel run in Logano, Kyle Busch, Blaney, Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Cindric, before the rest of the pack came back to them.

Green flag pit stops just after 70 laps into stage two saw Ryan Blaney who had been running second behind Logano receive a speeding penalty for driving too fast on the apron in turn four in what is now part of pit entry, after NASCAR doubled the length of pit road entry, after the drivers had voiced safety concerns of having no runoff for pitting under green with the new configuration.

After serving the drive-through penalty, Blaney ended up being three cars in front of Logano trying to prevent his No. 12 BodyArmor SportWater Ford going two laps down before the stage break.

Blaney held on, with Cindric pinching the stage two win coming off turn four. Blaney would get the free pass later in the final stage.

The final stage saw both lanes in use with Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Harvick all taking turns to lead.

Disaster struck for Harvick when on lap 190, as he was sent around after Ross Chastain pushed air onto his rear bumper aggressively around the corner in turns one and two until Harvick’s car squirrelly lost control causing carnage for the field behind to avoid.

Buescher, Josh Berry, Daniel Suarez, Harrison Burton and BJ McLeod all got collected up in the mayhem.


Aric Almirola led the field back to green but on lap 209, on 72 lap old tyres, he blew a tyre in front of the pack, taking out Kyle Larson who was running second. Almirola had prior to the restart, gained 17 spots on pit road after taking fuel only under the caution.

The final 40 laps saw a duel between Logano and Keselowski, swapping the lead, before the duel intensified further with 13 laps to go.

Logano had help in his Penske teammates on the bottom, while the three Toyota’s in Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin raced on the top, with Keselowski methodically blocking both lanes with help from his spotter TJ Majors.

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 45 Xfinity 10G Network Toyota, and Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo by Jonathan Bachman | Getty Images)

Logano outduelled Keselowski on the final lap with help from LaJoie and Bell sending the Connecticut driver to victory lane at Atlanta for the first time in the Cup Series.

The next race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is the 68-lap road-course race around Circuit of The Americas (COTA).

It’s a star-studded lineup for COTA’s Cup race with F1 champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen as well seven-time Cup Series champion as well as 2017 IMSA Champion Jordan Taylor all competing in the first road-course race of the season.

The race starts at 3:30pm ET.

Featured Image: Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Autotrader Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo by Jonathan Bachman | Getty Images)

Full race results 

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Christopher Bell
  4. Corey LaJoie
  5. Tyler Reddick
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Ryan Blaney
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Ty Gibbs
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Austin Cindric
  12. Noah Gragson
  13. Ross Chastain
  14. Alex Bowman
  15. Todd Gilliland
  16. AJ Allmendinger
  17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  18. Josh Berry
  19. Martin Truex Jr.
  20. Austin Dillon
  21. Michael McDowell
  22. Justin Haley
  23. Ty Dillon
  24. Chase Briscoe
  25. Cody Ware
  26. JJ Yeley
  27. Bubba Wallace
  28. Ryan Preece
  29. Daniel Suarez
  30. Aric Almirola
  31. Kyle Larson
  32. William Byron
  33. Kevin Harvick
  34. Harrison Burton
  35. Chris Buescher
  36. BJ McLeod

Stage one 

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Austin Cindric
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Christopher Bell
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Chris Buescher
  9. Daniel Suarez
  10. Martin Truex Jr.

Stage two

  1. Austin Cindric
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Alex Bowman
  4. Tyler Reddick
  5. William Byron
  6. Chris Buescher
  7. Martin Truex Jr.
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Corey LaJoie

Points standings after 5 of 36 races

  1. Joey Logano* – 177
  2. Christopher Bell – 176
  3. Ross Chastain – 172
  4. Ryan Blaney – 161
  5. Brad Keselowski – 160
  6. Kevin Harvick – `155
  7. Kyle Busch* – 153
  8. Martin Truex Jr. – 145
  9. Denny Hamlin – 140
  10. Daniel Suarez – 129
  11. Austin Cindric – 126
  12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* – 124
  13. Chris Buescher – 122
  14. Corey LaJoie – 113
  15. Tyler Reddick – 111
  16. Bubba Wallace – 102

  17. AJ Allmendinger – 92
  18. Michael McDowell – 92
  19. Ty Gibbs – 90
  20. Alex Bowman – 85
  21. Erik Jones – 82
  22. Austin Dillon – 80
  23. Chase Briscoe – 72
  24. Noah Gragson – 68
  25. Todd Gilliland – 68
  26. Ryan Preece – 63
  27. Aric Almirola – 63
  28. William Byron* – 55
  29. Harrison Burton – 51
  30. Cody Ware – 50
  31. Chase Elliott – 49
  32. Kyle Larson – 43
  33. Ty Dillon – 31
  34. BJ McLeod – 27
  35. Travis Pastrana – 26
  36. Jimmie Johnson – 10
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