NCS: Enjoy Illinois 300 Practice & Qualifying Weekend Recap

The NASCAR Cup Series invades Gateway Motorsports Park for the inaugural race on Sunday. Gateway, playing host to the NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series for a number of years, is a track located just East of St. Louis on the Illinois side.

Joey Logano was fastest in the lone Cup Series practice on Friday posting a time of 32.906s / 136.753 mph. Logano is one of a handful of drivers that have made starts in the past at the 1.25-mile oval.

“I’ve missed it. This is a fun race track. 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. Turn 1 and 2 is one of the best corners in our sport,” said Logano. “You can move around and try different things and you are shifting.”

Blaney, who is a teammate of Logano and with previous experience at Gateway, sat second fastest in the practice session.

“It took me a little bit to kind of remember the place. That was eight years ago and it feels like a long time ago. I did have some things I remembered about it but it took me a handful of laps to get up to speed. I do think it helped a little bit. I think it helps the guys who have been here recently,” said Blaney.

Austin Cindric rounded out third on the practice sheet to give Team Penske the top three positions in practice.

Kurt Busch and Erik Jones rounded out the top five.

Chase Briscoe sat fastest on the timesheet in qualifying to earn his first career Cup Series pole. Briscoe, a driver from Indiana, posted a fast time of 32.544s / 138.274 mph. 

“The second round I kind of did the opposite and overdrove that one. I didn’t think the lap was going to hold up. I felt like Reddick or Joey would be able to get us but we were able to hold it off,” said Briscoe. “It is super cool to be here. This is a cool race track and a cool area. There are a lot of really passionate race fans in the St. Louis area and a lot of great dirt tracks and race tracks in general.”

Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric sat second quickest in the qualifying session. Cindric enters the weekend searching for his second career Cup Series victory.

Christopher Bell was the fastest Toyota in qualifying posting the third quickest time. 

Rounding out the top five starters are Kyle Busch, who led group B of drivers in round one, and William Byron.

35th and 36th starters Ben Rhodes and Parker Kligerman did not post times in their respective qualifying groups.

The Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter airs live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Brett Winningham
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