The NASCAR Cup Series is headed into the unknown on Sunday. The Enjoy Illinois 300 will mark the first NASCAR Cup Series race at 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, in Madison, Illinois.
Sunday’s event will be contested over 240 laps (300 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 45 and 140 laps. Though this is the first Cup race at the track, there are nine drivers in the field who have won at Gateway either in the Xfinity Series or Truck Series—Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Justin Haley and Ross Chastain.
Qualifying Blunder Belies the Speed in Joey Logano’s Ford Mustang
A major bobble in Saturday morning’s time trials cost Joey Logano the pole position for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300. Instead, the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford will start seventh.
But don’t let the qualifying mishap fool you. Logano has a genuinely fast Ford, and though passing is difficult at the tight 1.25-mile speedway, it shouldn’t take him long to be fighting for the lead.
Ford drivers dominated time trials, with Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric locking out the front row and four other Mustang drivers taking spots in the top nine.
But we particularly like Logano because of the speed in his car and the +1000 price via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Chase Briscoe Will Be a Threat Because Gateway Is His Kind of Track
After winning the first pole position of his NASCAR Cup Series career, Chase Briscoe immediately turned his thoughts to March, when he won his first Cup event at Phoenix Raceway.
The reason? Phoenix and World Wide Technology Raceway are similar enough to give Briscoe confidence in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300.
We were obviously really good at Phoenix, and I have a really close package to that,” Briscoe said after his pole-winning run. “We’ll see if we can have the same result as Phoenix. Obviously, I’ve got the best starting spot for that, and looking forward to tomorrow, for sure.
On the basis of his strength in time trials, Briscoe has been installed as the favorite for Sunday’s race. But his +800 price (DraftKings) is reasonable if you think the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Ford can win another race in his sophomore season—at a track that suits his style.
We Can’t Find a Better Long-Shot Pick Than Toyota Driver Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch already has struck gold in the Midwest. The 2004 Cup Series champion picked up his first victory of the season last month at Kansas Speedway.
Busch just missed the final 10 in Saturday’s time trials, but he’ll start 11th on Sunday, and that shouldn’t be a deterrent for a driver of his elite talent.
We’re tempted to bet on Busch across the board, given his favorable odds (+1800 to win, +500 to finish in the top three and +225 to finish in the top five). We also like Busch (+115) to beat Aric Almirola in a head-to-head matchup.
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How to Watch Enjoy Illinois 300
Enjoy Illinois 300 Information Race Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR Cup Series race Location World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Time Sunday, June 5, 3: 30 p.m. ET How to Watch FS1