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Stewart-Haas Racing: Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 from St. Louis

STEWART-HAAS RACING
Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 by TicketSmarter

Date: June 5, 2022
Event: Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois near St. Louis (1.25-mile oval)
Format: 240 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/95 laps/100 laps)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 240-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kurt Busch of 23XI Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:

● Aric Almirola (Started 8th, Finished 5th / Running, completed 245 of 245 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 1st, Finished 24th / Running, completed 245 of 245 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 14th, Finished 29th / Running, completed 245 of 245 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (Started 20th, Finished 33rd / Accident, completed 235 of 245 laps)

SHR Points:

● Aric Almirola (11th with 385 points, 122 out of first)
● Kevin Harvick (13th with 377 points, 130 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (14th with 362 points, 145 out of first)
● Cole Custer (27th with 246 points, 261 out of first)

SHR Notes:

● Almirola earned his second top-five and his fifth top-10 of the season.
● Almirola’s fifth-place drive equaled his best result so far this season. He finished fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500.
● Almirola finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn six more bonus points.
● Briscoe led the field to green by scoring the pole for the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300. It was Briscoe’s first NASCAR Cup Series pole and it came in his 51st career start. It was the 56th Cup Series pole for SHR and its 71st overall.
● Briscoe led the first 27 laps before a flat left-rear tire sent him to the pits for an unscheduled stop.
● Custer finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Harvick came into Gateway with the most experience among SHR’s drivers. He ran five NASCAR Xfinity Series races (2000, 2001, 2006, 2009 and 2010) and three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races (1998, 1999 and 2010) at the track. He scored two Xfinity Series wins, with his first in 2000 being the first of his 47 career Xfinity Series victories. Harvick successfully defended that triumph a year later when he took his third win of a five-win season that culminated with the championship. In Harvick’s third and final Truck Series start in 2010, he won the pole and dominated, leading 143 of the race’s 160 laps en route to his ninth career Truck Series victory.
● Almirola made three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Gateway (2006, 2009 and 2010), finishing among the top-10 each time. His best finish was fourth in 2009.
● Briscoe made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Gateway in 2017. He won the pole and led twice for a race-high 88 laps before finishing second.
● Custer made three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Gateway (2014, 2015 and 2016), scoring two top-10 finishes, highlighted by a win in 2015. He won the pole in 2014 to become the youngest pole winner in national touring series history at 16 years, 4 months and 22 days.

Race Notes:

● Joey Logano won the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter to score his 29th career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his second of the season. His margin over second-place Kyle Busch was .655 of a second.
● This was Ford’s 715th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its fourth this season.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 53 laps.
● All but five of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Chase Elliott remains the championship leader after Gateway with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

Sound Bites:

“It was a solid day for us. We really needed that. It kind of turned the last month around. We’ve been running top-10 and finishing 20th or worse the last month-and-a-half. Really proud of the effort today. It was kind of a mistake-free day and ran inside the top-five all day. Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and the guys on the team did a great job. We were just so close to having what we needed to go challenge those guys for the lead.” – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Built Ford Proud Ford Mustang

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 12 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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