Logano Battles Busch in Overtime to Win Inaugural Race at Gateway

Logano Battles Busch in Overtime to Win Inaugural Race at Gateway

The Enjoy Illinois 300 marked the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has visited World Wide Technology Raceway. The 1.25-mile track just outside of St. Louis has been hosting NASCAR sanctioned events since 1997, first with the NASCAR Xfinity Series, then the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The unique shape of the track features 11 degrees of banking in turns 1 and 2 and 9 degrees in 3 and 4. If there was one word to summarize the inaugural event, it would be “short” as in short track, short race, and short tempers.

LAP 1: After securing the pole position in qualifying, Chase Briscoe in the #14 Ford Mustang led the field
to the green flag. Briscoe was able to pull away from the second-place starter, Austin Cindric, and began setting the pace.

LAP 30: The left-rear tire on the #14 went flat, which forced Briscoe to surrender the lead and make an unscheduled pit stop. He went a lap down while Cindric took over the top spot.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 45: Austin Cindric easily won the stage and collected the playoff point. Behind him, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, and Ross Chastain rounded out the Top 5.  

CAUTION – LAP 64: After racing side-by-side for most of the first stage, Ross Chastain finally lost his patience with Denny Hamlin in the #11 Toyota Camry. Chastain aimed for the rear of the #11 and turned Hamlin into the wall, bringing out the caution. Hamlin had to pit for repairs (which put him several laps down) and upon returning to the track, he set his sights on Chastain in the hopes of getting revenge. When the two were side-by-side again, Hamlin pushed the #1 to the apron on the backstretch and then blocked Chastain’s attempts to pass.  

CAUTION – LAP 94: While hunting down Kyle Busch for the lead, Ryan Blaney in the #12 suffered a flat left-rear tire which caused him to spin in Turn 2.  

CAUTION – LAP 101: A lap after the restart, Chastain’s unprovoked rampage continued when he ran into the back of Chase Elliott’s #9 Chevrolet Camaro, spinning Elliott on the front stretch. Elliott sustained minimal damage but decided to retaliate when the race went back green by putting the bumper to the back of Chastain. Elliott then aimed for the left-rear quarter panel, which put Chastain in the wall, where Hamlin came up beside the #1 and door-slammed him. Being tag-teamed by Elliott and Hamlin resulted in damage to Chastain, but he was able to continue racing.  

CAUTION – LAP 129: The tempers continued to flare when the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr intentionally turned the #23 of Bubba Wallace in Turn 3 just in front of Denny Hamlin.  Hamlin, who co-owns the #23 team, raced alongside Stenhouse under caution to show his displeasure. During pit stops, the #45 of Kurt Busch took over the lead.  

STAGE 2 END – LAP 140: Kurt Busch won the stage and picked up the playoff point. Behind Busch, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Aric Almirola rounded out the Top 5 and collected points as well. Truex picked up the lead on pit road and set a dominant pace once the race restarted.  

CAUTION – LAP 182: Tyler Reddick in the #8 got too close to the outside wall coming out of Turn 2 and spun across the track on the backstretch. A slow pit stop for the #19 of Martin Truex cost him the lead as he exited the pits in P7, while Kyle Busch took the top spot.  

CAUTION – LAP 200: With 40 laps to go, the caution was waved for Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who spun in Turn 2 while racing at the back of the pack.  

CAUTION – LAP 221: The caution flag waved again when the #41 Ford Mustang of Cole Custer was tagged and turned by the #34 of Todd Gilliland. Custer did not sustain any damage and was able to continue to the end of the race.  

CAUTION – LAP 235: With just 5 laps to go in the scheduled race distance, Kevin Harvick experienced a brake failure that caused his #4 Ford to shoot straight into the outside SAFER barrier in Turn 3. Harvick was noticeable winded and shook-up after the hard collision but climbed out of the car without any injuries. The race went into overtime, triggering a 2-lap shootout with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano on the front row.  

LAP 244: The first lap after the restart saw a back-and-forth battle with Busch and Logano performing numerous slide jobs and crossovers, with Logano eventually taking P1 as the white flag waved.  

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 245: Logano sailed to his 2nd victory of the season, 0.655-seconds ahead of Busch. This continues a streak for Logano of winning during the inaugural race on new race tracks, as he accomplished the feat on the Bristol Dirt track last season and the exhibition race at the LA Coliseum earlier this year.  

RESULTS:

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