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)


Will Power ties Mario Andretti for most all-time poles

Will Power put his Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet on pole in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, tying Mario Andretti for most all-time IndyCar poles with 67.

With a two-lap average of 182.727 he cleared his championship rivals and Team Penske teammates for the top spot for Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway and secured his fourth pole of the season.

Will Power qualifying (Photo by Sean Birkle/Penske Entertainment)

Power received the complementary bonus point for securing pole, giving him a now seven point championship lead over Scott Dixon with just three race remaining.

Speaking to NBC Power said: “This is a big victory for me, to reach the 67 number and equal such a legend of the sport in Mario Andretti. I just can’t believe that I’m right there with Mario because there’s been no one like him.”

It could very well have been Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden who would have taken his second pole of the season but a mistake in turns three and four on lap one causing him to downshift, meant he had to settle for only third with a two-lap average of 181.629.

On the radio Newgarden said, “I goofed the first one” and later said to NBC “I wish I could have a redo.”

Josef Newgarden discussing qualifying with his team (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Joining Power on the front row is 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson who also broke the 182mph mark with a 182.070 two-lap average after using all of the race track to do it.

Marcus Ericsson out on track (Photo by James Black/Penske Entertainment)

Power’s other teammate Scott McLaughlin qualified fourth. Ericsson’s teammates Palou and Dixon qualified fifth and sixth respectively.

It proved to be a frustrating qualifying for Arrow McLaren SP with Felix Rosenqvist spinning out on his qualifying attempt while Pato O’Ward felt he was too conservate on his.

Rosenqvist spun coming out of turn two on lap one in an effort to keep his car off the wall, and ended up tagging the inside tyre barrier before coming to a stop.

O’Ward qualified seventh with is first lap holding him back to a two-lap average of 180.303.

Takuma Sato impressively qualified eighth after the 2019 winner of the race, used up all of the race track saying he “had to pedal it” due to experiencing oversteer.

Takuma Sato qualifying (Photo by Sean Birkle/Penske Entertainment)

Romain Grosjean was the best of the Andretti Autosport cars qualifying ninth, continuing his good record at the track after a strong IndyCar oval debut at WWT Raceway last year.

Grosjean however has to take a nine-place grid penalty for Saturday’s race due to an unapproved engine change and will consequently start 18th.

A happy Romain Grosjean sat on the pit wall (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Andretti teammate Devlin DeFrancesco left off from where he did in practice and qualified 10th. Alexander Rossi qualified 11th. The last of the Andretti crew Colton Herta, had to contend with a wiggle in turns three and four on his qualifying run, resulting in a 12th starting spot.

The field of cars lined up on pit road readying to go out to qualify (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

The Ed Carpenter Racing cars were uncharacteristically slow, with Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter qualifying 16th, 23rd and 25th respectively with Carpenter saying he was not happy with the setup of the car.

Jimmie Johnson only managed 21st after putting it down to needing more track time since he had not raced at the track since 2002 in the NASCAR Xfinity series, whereas at Texas and Iowa he had more experience and time to adjust to the track.

Jimmie Johnson out on track during practice (Photo by James Black/Penske Entertainment)

Full qualifying results: 1st Will Power, 2nd Marcus Ericsson, 3rd Josef Newgarden, 4th Scott McLaughlin, 5th Álex Palou, 6th Scott Dixon, 7th Pato O’Ward, 8th Takuma Sato, 9th Romain Grosjean, 10th Devlin DeFrancesco, 11th Alexander Rossi, 12th Colton Herta, 13th David Malukas, 14th Simon Pagenaud, 15th Jack Harvey, 16th Conor Daly, 17th Graham Rahal, 18th Hélio Castroneves, 19th Christian Lundgaard, 20th Kyle Kirkwood, 21st Jimmie Johnson, 22nd Callum Ilott, 23rd Rinus VeeKay, 24th Dalton Kellett, 25th Ed Carpenter, 26th Felix Rosenqvist.

Will Power and Marcus Ericsson will  lead the field to green for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at WWT Raceway flies Saturday at 6pm ET. 

Featured Image: Will Power celebrates earning the P1 Pole Award with his crew (Photo by Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

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