today is Jun 08, 2023

Nigel Kinrade/NKP/Motorsport Images

Chase Briscoe will lead a field of 36 drivers to the green flag in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the World Wide Technology Raceway.

The track is no stranger to NASCAR — it once hosted the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series. NHRA competes at a dragstrip on the same property, and inside the oval track is a road course.

WWTR is located just minutes from downtown St. Louis in Madison, Illinois, and has brought a party feel to the track with a three-day music festival in conjunction with the on-track action. Rapper Nelly is slated to appear Saturday night.

Here is some of what you need to know before the Enjoy Illinois 300.

Admission: WWTR is sold out for Sunday’s race, including 57,000 grandstand seats

Track specifics: A 1.25-mile paved oval. Turns 1 and 3 have a tighter radius and are banked at 11 degrees. Turns 3 and 4 are banked at 9 degrees.

Race length: 300 miles broken into stages end on laps 45, 140, and 240.

Weather: Sunday is forecasted to be 86 degrees and partly cloudy.

Coverage: 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Here is what some of the drivers are saying:

Tyler Reddick: “The track’s got a lot of grip. This is the only place that I’ve driven this car, besides the road courses, where you can have this thing completely sideways in the middle of the corner and not crash. You can really slide this car around a lot. It’s kind of refreshing because, with this car everywhere we’ve gone, you get sideways, you crash. That’s been kind of cool. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of grip here and can drive these things pretty hard.”

Ryan Blaney: “It is a neat place. I raced here a long time ago but passing is going to be very rare on Sunday. That is the best way I can put it. If you get behind somebody, you are stuck and can’t go anywhere. Hopefully the track widens out. Hopefully they do something about that. I figured they would have done something before we came here. I thought our practice was decent but it puts a bigger emphasis on qualifying up front tomorrow and then trying to stay up front.”

Denny Hamlin: “Turns 1 and 2 — it seemed like [they were] starting to widen out a little bit. Hopefully we can have multiple lanes. [Turns] 3 and 4 will probably be a little bit of a challenge to have multiple lanes, but you never know. Our cars don’t like single-lane tracks. They like ones that can spread out. Hopefully this is one of the better short tracks that we have. It drives like a short track. It’s something that we certainly need to work on – short, flat tracks. It seems like the cars struggled, but you never know. This weekend could be different.”

Joey Logano: “I’ve missed it. This is a fun racetrack. It was already fun out there and memories are coming back from 2008, although they repaved it and the track is a fair amount smoother than it used to be. Turns 1 and 2 are [some] of the best corners in our sport. You can move around and try different things and you’re shifting. It’s fun to be able to get off the gas pedal and on the brake and manage both pedals again. I have enjoyed that. [Turns] 3 and 4 are a part of the track where you really [have] to push yourself and hustle it. It makes for a pretty fun track to go around by yourself. We’ll see what the race is like. It seems like [Turns] 1 and 2 are already taking rubber and cars are moving up the race track already.”

Ross Chastain: “The track is different than what I remember it from the Truck races I did in 2018 and 2019. By myself out there, it was fun. The ends are so different and tire falloff is just enough that I was starting to lose grip. I wasn’t really slowing down as much, but I was starting to get loose and get tight. It’s like a new challenge; it’s like a new race track.”

Chase Elliott: “It’s about like everything I’ve watched here before. It’s kind of like a big Martinsville, honestly. It reminds me a little bit of that, just on a larger scale. I think the racing is going to be a lot like Martinsville was this year, too, so it should be good.”

Bubba Wallace: “Track position is going to be key. That’s probably the biggest thing. It’s good, though. It’s fast. I didn’t realize how fast we were here – 160, 170 [mph]. Compared to Martinsville where it’s 120 [mph], so pretty eye-opening when you look at that data.”

Daniel Suarez: “[It feels] good. I think the racetrack is great. In my opinion, it’s kind of like the baby of Pocono. At least to me, it feels that way. It has a long corner in [Turns] 1 and 2 and also a very flat [Turns] 3 and 4. It reminds me quite a bit of Pocono’s corners 1 and 3. It’s good. It’s a good track. I’m happy to be here.”

Champion Porsche