With winning on new circuits starting to become a new habit of his in recent years, Joey Logano scratched another new circuit off of his bucket list after fending off Kyle Busch during an overtime shootout to win the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 at the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Sunday, June 5.
The 32-year-old Logano from Middletown, Connecticut, led 20 of 242 over-scheduled laps as he swapped the lead with Busch at the start of the event’s lone overtime attempt before reclaiming it for good prior to the final lap and pulling away from Busch and the field to grab his second victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
With on-track qualifying occurring on Saturday, Chase Briscoe recorded the first Cup pole position at Gateway after clocking in a pole-winning lap at 138.274 mph in 32.544 seconds. Joining him on the front row was rookie Austin Cindric, who clocked in a qualifying lap sat 137.775 mph in 32.662 seconds.
Prior to the event, Parker Kligerman started at the rear of the field in a backup car along with Daniel Suarez, who had unapproved adjustments made to his car. AJ Allmendinger also dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to his car and due to the driver being absent for Saturday’s qualifying session as Truck Series competitor Ben Rhodes filled in while Allmendinger went on to win Saturday’s inaugural Xfinity event at Portland International Raceway.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Briscoe fended off Cindric to lead the field through the backstretch as he went on to lead the first lap while Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney battled for third place ahead of the field.
Through the first five laps and with the field fanning out and jostling early for positions, Briscoe was leading by four-tenths of a second ahead of Cindric, Reddick, Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Chastain, Logano, Harrison Burton and Bell.
By Lap 10, Briscoe stabilized his advantage to two-tenths of a second over Cindric while Blaney, Reddick and Hamlin remained in the top five.
At the Lap 20 mark, Briscoe remained as the leader by half a second ahead of Cindric. Third-place Blaney trailed by more than two seconds followed by Reddick and Hamlin while Chastain Almirola, Logano, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Chase Elliott was in 11th ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Harrison Burton, Bell and Kyle Larson while Cole Custer, Bubba Wallace, Michael McDowell, Erik Jones and William Byron were in the top 20.
Seven laps later, early disaster struck for Briscoe, who fell off the pace after he cut a left-rear tire as he made an unscheduled pit stop under green. With Briscoe out of contention, Cindric took the lead followed by teammate Blaney while Reddick, Hamlin and Chastain were in the top five.
By Lap 35, Cindric was ahead by two seconds over teammate Blaney followed by Reddick, Hamlin and Chastain while Almirola, Logano, Kyle Busch, Elliott and Kurt Busch occupied the top 10. Meanwhile, Briscoe was mired in last place of the 36-car field and two laps behind the leaders.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 45, Cindric claimed his first Cup stage victory of the season. Teammate Blaney settled in second, trailing by more than a second, followed by Reddick, Hamlin, Chastain, Almirola, Logano, Kyle Busch, Elliott and Bell.
Under the stage break, the field led by Cindric pitted and Cindric retained the lead following his service followed by teammate Blaney, Reddick, Kyle Busch and Hamlin. Following the pit stops, Chase Elliott pitted his No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for a second time to have the lug nut on his car checked.
The second stage started on Lap 53 as teammates Cindric and Blaney occupied the front row. At the start, both Team Penske teammates dueled for the lead as Cindric continued to lead by a hair over Blaney before the latter prevailed. With Blaney out in front, Cindric was left to battle Kyle Busch for the runner-up spot as Busch prevailed in his No. 18 Snicker Toyota TRD Camry. Behind, Reddick was in fourth ahead of Hamlin and Logano, both of whom were left bitter over a pit road incident last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
By Lap 60, Blaney was leading by more than a second over Kyle Busch followed by Cindric, Reddick and Hamlin while Logano, Chastain, Almirola, Bell and Kurt Busch were in the top 10.
Four laps later, the caution flew when a bump from Chastain sent Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota TRD Camry into the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2. During the caution period, a majority of the field led by Blaney pitted while Kyle Busch, Logano, Chastain and Elliott remained on the track.
When the race proceeded under green on Lap 69, Kyle Busch received a draft from Chastain as he fended off both Chastain and Logano to retain the lead while Logano battled and overtook Chastain for the runner-up spot. With all three Team Penske competitors in the top five, Blaney soon battled Chastain for third place while Cindric pursued in fifth.
At the Lap 75 mark, Kyle Busch retained a narrow advantage, three-tenths of a second, over Logano followed by Blaney, Chastain and Cindric while Elliott remained in sixth ahead of Michael McDowell, Truex, Almirola and Reddick. By then, Briscoe, who cycled his way back to the lead lap during the previous caution, was up in 26th behind AJ Allmendinger.
Fifteen laps later, Kyle Busch extended his advantage to more than a second over Logano followed by Blaney, Cindric and Chastain, who earlier was nearly wrecked by the lapped car of Hamlin with Hamlin expressing his displeasure over the incident involving Chastain that spoiled Hamlin’s run toward the front.
Another three laps later, the on-track feud between Chastain and Hamlin ignited again as Hamlin blocked and briefly stalled Chastain’s progress through Turns 4 and 1.
Four laps later, the caution flew when Blaney cut a left-rear tire, spun and backed his No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang into the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2. Under caution, some led by Kyle Busch pitted while the rest led by McDowell and Reddick remained on the track.
When the race resumed under green on Lap 100, McDowell retained the lead through the first two turns while Almirola and Bell overtook Reddick in a bold three-wide pass to move up to second and third. Not long after, however, the caution flew when Chastain bumped and sent Elliott spinning entering Turn 4, where he was hit by Harrison Burton while Bubba Wallace also spun to avoid sustaining any significant damage to his No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota TRD Camry.
With the race restarting under green on Lap 106, McDowell retained the lead ahead of Almirola and the field through the backstretch. Meanwhile, Elliott expressed his displeasure to Chastain over the contact during the previous caution by bumping and sending Chastain’s No. 1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 up the track through Turns 1 and 2. At the same time, Hamlin feigned another sideswipe move on Chastain with the latter falling below the leaderboard. With Chastain remaining on the track, Hamlin continued to stall Chastain’s progress by running in front of him and not letting him pass.
Back at the front on Lap 110, McDowell retained the lead by two-tenths of a second over Almirola followed by Reddick, Bell and Erik Jones while Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch, Cindric and Kevin Harvick were scored in the top 10.
At the halfway mark on Lap 120, McDowell was leading by half a second over Almirola while Reddick, Kurt Busch, Bell, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Suarez, Cindric and Kyle Larson were scored in the top 10. Logano was in 11th ahead of Truex, Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Blaney while Briscoe, Ty Dillon, Allmendinger, Todd Gilliland and Austin Dillon were in the top 20. Alex Bowman was in 21st ahead of Cole Custer, Zane Smith, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. while Bubba Wallace, Justin Haley, William, Byron, Chase Elliott and Cody Ware were in the top 30. Meanwhile, Chastain was mired back in 32nd while Hamlin was in 35th.
Nearly five laps later, Elliott and Chastain briefly dueled through the frontstretch as Elliott tried to pursue Chastain again to express his displeasure towards him. In Turn 1, however, BJ McLeod got into the rear of Elliott, which knocked Elliott sideways as he proceeded under green.
Nearing the Lap 130 mark, the caution flew when Wallace got bumped and turned into the Turn 3 outside wall by Stenhouse. Under caution, Hamlin, who witnessed the incident in front of him, ran Stenhouse’s No. 47 SunnyD Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 up the track in Turn 1 to express his displeasure over his competitor getting wrecked.
During the caution period, names like Kurt Busch, Larson, Cole Custer, Stenhouse, Byron, Haley, Cody Ware and McLeod remained on the track while the rest pitted. During the pit stops, Reddick was penalized for dragging his gas can out of his pit box.
With six laps remaining in the second stage, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Kurt Busch fended off Larson to retain the lead while Truex, who restarted in the top 10, bolted his No. 19 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota TRD Camry into third place as he quickly went to work on Larson for more.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 140, Kurt Busch, piloting the No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry, captured his second stage victory of the season. Truex settled in second place, trailing by four-tenths of a second, followed by Kyle Busch, Larson, Almirola, Bell, Suarez, Cole Custer, Erik Jones and Blaney.
Under the stage break, some led by Kurt Busch pitted while the rest led by Truex and Kyle Busch remained on the track.
With 93 laps remaining, the final stage started as teammates Truex and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. At the start and with the field jostling for positions, Truex retained the lead ahead of Busch while Almirola, Bell and Suarez were in the top five.
Down to the final 75 laps of the event, Truex retained the lead by half a second over teammate Kyle Busch as they were pursued by Almirola, Blaney and Bell. Suarez was back in sixth ahead of Erik Jones, McDowell, Briscoe and Cindric while Bowman, Logano, Reddick, Harvick, Ty Dillon, Chastain, Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Allmendinger and Larson occupied the top 20.
Fifteen laps later, Truex continued to lead by seven-tenths of a second over teammate Kyle Busch while Blaney, Almirola and Bell remained in the top five. Also remaining in the top 10 were Suarez, Erik Jones, McDowell, Briscoe and Cindric, respectively.
Another three laps later, the caution flew when Reddick spun in Turn 2. During the caution period, the leaders led by Truex pitted as Erik Jones exited with the lead following a quick two-tire pit stop followed by Kyle Busch, Logano, Bowman, Larson and Almirola while Truex was back in seventh.
With 51 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Erik Jones and Kyle Busch dueled for the lead through the backstretch until Busch muscled his way into the lead through Turn 3 while Logano made his move into the runner-up spot. Not long after, Almirola launched his attack on Jones for third place as the field jostled for late positions.
Eleven laps later, Kyle Busch was leading by three-tenths of a second over Logano followed by Almirola while Erik Jones was in fourth ahead of Truex. During the following lap, however, the caution flew when Stenhouse spun in the backstretch. Under caution, some like Keselowski, Elliott, Justin Haley, Ty Dillon, Suarez, Byron and Bubba Wallace pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch remained on the track.
Down to the final 34 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Kyle Busch took off with the lead ahead of Logano while the field scrambled for positions. During the following lap, however, Logano, who dueled Busch for the lead through the frontstretch, pulled a slide job on Busch to take the lead in Turn 1 as Almirola tried to close in on the two leaders.
With 20 laps remaining, Logano stabilized his advantage to nearly a second over Kyle Busch followed by Almirola, Blaney and Erik Jones while Kurt Busch, Truex, Bowman, Bell and Chastain were in the top 10. Cindric was in 11th ahead of Harvick, Larson, McDowell and Allmendinger while Briscoe, Austin Dillon, Harrison Burton, Zane Smith and Custer were in the top 20.
Two laps later, the caution returned when Custer got bumped by Todd Gilliland entering Turn 1 as he spun and made contact with the outside wall. During the caution period, some like Wallace, Haley, Byron and Custer pitted while the rest led by Logano remained on the track.
Down to the final 13 laps of the event, the race restarted under green as Kyle Busch utilized the outside lane to reassume the lead over Logano through the backstretch.
Three laps later, Kyle Busch was leading by a tenth of a second over Logano with Blaney joining the battle. Behind, Kurt Busch moved his way to fourth place while Almirola, Erik Jones, Chastain, Truex, Bell and Cindric were in the top 10.
With five laps remaining, Kyle Busch continued to fend off Logano with the lead while Blaney was starting to fall back and trail by less than a second in third place ahead of Kurt Busch and Almirola.
Then, the caution flew when Harvick slipped sideways and pounded the outside wall in Turn 3. The incident was enough to send the event into overtime as some like Keselowski, Suarez, Ty Dillon and Harrison Burton pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch and Logano pitted.
At the start of the first overtime attempt, Logano, who restarted beneath Kyle Busch, ignited his challenge by trying to force Busch up the track, but Busch pulled a crossover move to challenge and reassume the lead beneath Logano through the backstretch. Then in Turn 3, Kyle Busch got loose and washed up the track in Turn 3, which allowed Logano to cross over to the bottom lane and take the lead back as he started the final lap of the event.
With Logano out in front, Kyle Busch could not close the gap between himself and Logano, nor could he ignite a final charge on him. That all enabled Logano to drive away as he cycled his way back to the finish line and crossed the finish line to first place.
By winning the inaugural Cup victory at Gateway in Madison, Illinois, Logano notched his second victory of the 2022 Cup season, thus becoming the fourth multi-winner of this season, and the 29th of his career. This marked the third new circuit added to the Cup schedule that was won by Logano after he won the inaugural events at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Course in March 2021 and the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February 2022.
“Oh, packed house,” Logano said on FS1. “Thanks for coming out, [fans]. I hope you guys enjoyed that race. It doesn’t get much better than that. Racing for the lead like that with Kyle [Busch] with him is a lot of fun. Crossing each other back and forth. I knew it was coming because I did it to him. I knew he was gonna do it with me and was able to cross back and forth there a couple of times in the last lap there. Good Shell/Pennzoil Mustang, for sure. Nice to get a few wins on the season here. Start collecting those Playoffs points. What a great car. Really fast…[Crew chief] Paul [Wolfe] made a great call putting two tires on. [Teammate Ryan] Blaney did a great job with the push down into [Turn] 1, which kept me close, at least, to be able to make the move. Good racing there…It was a lot of fun to race here and looking forward to coming back.”
Kyle Busch trailed Logano to the finish line by six-tenths of a second in the runner-up spot followed by brother Kurt while Blaney and Almirola finished in the top five.
“[The crossover move was] Not even close,” Busch said. “You see me just about wreck off of [Turn] 4? Way better than Phoenix, though, I guess. For as bad as Phoenix was, [Joe Gibbs Racing], the Toyota guys did a good job of getting us some improvements there, at least being able to keep up and have a shot at the win. Our car just took too long to come in. Better on the long run, better up top [lane]. Top’s not good to fire off on, but good job by the Snickers guys. We stayed in the running all day long and fought hard. Though maybe we could, but that was it.”
Truex, who made his 600th Cup career start, came home in sixth place while Erik Jones, Chastain, Bell and Allmendinger completed the top 10.
Chastain, who rallied from adversity and his share of run-ins with Hamlin, Elliott and McDowell to finish eighth, took the time to acknowledge his cause of the on-track incidents and place the blame towards himself while Hamlin issued his warning towards the Floridian.
“Just terrible driving,” Chastain said. “It’s one thing to do it once, but I just kept driving into guys. At this level, I’m supposed to be better than that. [My sponsors and owners] deserve better. I owe half the field an apology. Words aren’t gonna fix it, so I’ll have to pay for it on the track. [I] Almost did today and I deserve everything they do. I can’t believe I continue to make the same mistakes and over-drive the corners and drive into guys. I like had time under caution to get reset and we go green and I drive into somebody. It’s terrible.”
“It’s good that [Chastain] takes responsibility, but ultimately, [the incident] ruined our day,” Hamlin said. “I think we were racing hard there for a while on the inside [lane]]. He tried to keep sliding up in front of us and wasn’t able to because I wasn’t willing to just back off and let him slide up in front. It didn’t take long, after he tucked in behind us, that it wrecked us. The unfortunate part is that it didn’t look that he got too shy after that because I think he got into [Elliott] after that one. We have to learn the hard way. We’ve all had it come back around on us and it will be no different.”
Notably, Cindric was the highest-finishing rookie in 11th, Larson finished 12th, Byron settled in 19th, Elliott ended up 21st, Wallace was mired in 26th and Hamlin concluded his event in 34th, one spot behind Harvick. In addition, Zane Smith, who filled in as an interim competitor for Chris Buescher with Buescher out after testing positive for COVID-19, finished 17th in his Cup debut.
There were 12 lead changes for nine different leaders. The race featured 10 cautions for 53 laps.
With 11 regular season races remaining to this season, Chase Elliott leads the regular season standings by nine points over Kyle Busch, 17 over Ross Chastain, 28 over Ryan Blaney, 37 over Martin Truex Jr. and 40 over Joey Logano.
Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Chase Briscoe, Kurt Busch and rookie Austin Cindric are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular-season stretch while Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola and Tyler Reddick occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs on points. Kevin Harvick trails the top-16 cutline by two points, Erik Jones trails by 26, Austin Dillon trails by 29, Daniel Suarez trails by 60, Michael McDowell trails by 86, Bubba Wallace trails by 96, Justin Haley trails by 101, Chris Buescher trails by 104 and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trails by 107.
1. Joey Logano, 22 laps led
2. Kyle Busch, 66 laps led
3. Kurt Busch, 12 laps led, Stage 2 winner
4. Ryan Blaney, 12 laps led
5. Aric Almirola
6. Martin Truex Jr., 42 laps led
7. Erik Jones, four laps led
8. Ross Chastain
9. Christopher Bell
10. AJ Allmendinger
11. Austin Cindric, 26 laps led, Stage 1 winner
12. Kyle Larson
13. Alex Bowman
14. Justin Haley
15. Austin Dillon
16. Tyler Reddick
17. Zane Smith
18. Michael McDowell, 34 laps led
19. William Byron
20. Brad Keselowski
21. Chase Elliott
22. Todd Gilliland
23. Daniel Suarez
24. Chase Briscoe, 27 laps led
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., four laps down
33. Kevin Harvick – OUT, Accident
34. Denny Hamlin, 11 laps down
35. Cody Ware – OUT, Power
36. Corey LaJoie – OUT, Engine
Next on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, for the series’ second road course event of the season. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m. ET on FS1.