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Though this will be the inaugural Cup Series event this weekend, World Wide Technology Raceway has hosted 15 Xfinity Series races from 1997 to 2010 and 21 Truck Series races from 1998 to 2010 and again from 2014 to this season.
A glance at what to expect this weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series makes its first visit:
World Wide Technology Raceway, located in Madison, Ill., was originally built as a road course in 1985 and was known as St. Louis International Raceway Park.
The road course was demolished in 1996 to make way for the 1.25-mile paved oval and accompanying drag strip that are still there today. The track features 11-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 9-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4. The facility now has more than 700 acres welcoming fans this weekend.
The Cup Series first competed in the state of Illinois in 1954 at Santa Fe Speedway, a ½-mile dirt track located in Willow Springs, Ill. Two years later, the series returned to the state only this time it was at the famous Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Cup Series has also competed at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., from 2001 to 2019 (19 races).
The Cup series race on Sunday, the Enjoy Illinois 300, will consist of 240 laps (300 miles) in stages of 45, 95 and 100 laps.
The Toyota 200 Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday will feature three stages of 35, 35 and 90 laps for a 160-lap race of 200 miles.
What They’re Saying
“Gateway is very tight, very narrow. It can be slick, too, from what I understand talking with my KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) Truck Series guys. The long back straightaway getting into Turns 3 and 4, which is a huge, wide, sweeping turn, and a completely different way of driving both of those corners.” – Kyle Busch
“We went to the Ford simulator and got to run a decent amount. I think there’s going to be shifting. I think that’s kind of for sure, but it’s two different ends. It’s a track that I haven’t seen in four or five years and I haven’t seen the repave, so it’s going to be a hard track to get a hold of for the teams.” – Cole Custer
“It’s going to be a challenge. I think track position is going to be very important just based off of how this car races on flatter tracks. We’ll be shifting quite a bit, so that could make passing pretty difficult. But besides the on-track stuff, I’m excited to be going to a new market getting to race in front of fans who may not have seen us race before.” – Denny Hamlin
– Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. will make his 600th Cup Series career start this weekend. Truex made his series debut at Atlanta on Oct. 31, 2004 for Dale Earnhardt Inc. In 599 career starts, he has one championship (2017), 31 wins, 131 top-five and 254 top-10 finishes.
– Saturday’s Truck race kicks off the “The Triple Truck Challenge,” a three-race program in which drivers can win up to $500,000 in bonus money. An additional $50,000 bonus will be awarded to the race winner of any one of the three events; win two of the three races and pocket an additional $150,000; win all three and collect $500,000.
– Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney leads the Cup Series in Stage wins this season with four, but has yet to find Victory Lane, a winless streak that has reached 24 races dating back to the August race at Daytona last season.