Track: World Wide Technology Raceway
Race: Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway
Date: June 5, 2022
No. 2 Menards/Atlas Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Race Finish: 11th
Stage 1 Finish: 1st
Stage 2 Finish: 16th
Laps Led: 26
Point Standings: 18th (-177)
Race Rundown: Austin Cindric started the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway in the second position and finished 11th on Sunday afternoon. The driver of the Menards/Atlas Ford Mustang took the race lead on lap 27 and brought home the Stage 1 win, 10 points and one additional playoff point. As the track changed, Cindric fought handling conditions and with a mix of different pit strategy, the NASCAR Cup Series rookie fell to 19th but raced his way to 16th at the conclusion of Stage 2. Cindric stayed on track to gain several positions and started the final stage 11th. The team continued to adjust the No. 2 Menards/Atlas Mustang, pitting on lap 184 for four tires and final adjustments, restarting ninth with 51 laps remaining. The race saw three more caution periods including the last resulting in NASCAR Overtime. Cindric restarted 11th and was able to hold position to finish 11th at the end of the event.
Cindric's Thoughts: "Proud of the pit crew guys, really solid race for them and proud of their progress. Obviously a really strong weekend for Team Penske great to get Joey (Logano) another win, we've got a lot of strengths as a team. Feel like I just adjusted myself too tight by the end. We had the trap door come down and that took off a lot of rear downforce and led me down the wrong road."
No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Race Finish: 4th
Stage 1 Finish: 2nd
Stage 2 Finish: 10th
Laps Led: 12
Point Standings: 4th (-28)
Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney started fifth and finished fourth in Sunday's Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway in the No.12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang. Blaney was slightly free on entry and exit through the opening laps but finished second in Stage 1 behind teammate Austin Cindric. Blaney was running third in Stage 2 when he had a left rear flat which resulted in minor damage to the No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford. Blaney powered back from the incident to finish 10th at the end of Stage 2. The ascent continued as Blaney reached the top-five by lap 150 making a charge for the lead in the final stage. At lap 185, the field split the pit strategy with some electing two-tire stops with the No. 12 Dent Wizard team electing to take four tires and unfortunately the car fell off the jack, dropping valuable track position. Blaney would again power through the field, reaching the top-five and giving a race-winning push to teammate Joey Logano enroute to a fourth-place finish.
Blaney's Thoughts: "We had a really fast car. I had a great shot to win and just made a mistake in the pits and came out 17th and by the time we got back to race with the lead I just had no tires left. I am proud of the Dent Wizard team all day. The car was super fast, just didn't do a good job with execution there on that last pit stop. But the good news is, we've got fast cars."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Race Finish: 1st – 29th career NCS Victory
Stage 1 Finish: 7th
Stage 2 Finish: 18th
Laps Led: 22
Point Standings: 6th (-40)
Race Rundown: Joey Logano powered to Victory Lane in Sunday's Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway, contending through multiple late race restarts to secure his 29th career NASCAR Cup Series Victory in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Logano battled a loose entry and exit condition for the opening stage, getting trapped in dirty air behind the No. 10 Ford. In the second stage, Logano had two separate pit road issues that dropped the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang into dirty air and cost valuable track position, with the team finishing 18th at the end of Stage 2. At lap 185 the Shell-Pennzoil crew elected to go with a two-tire pit stop under caution, cycling Logano from 11th to third off pit road. Logano would power to the lead with only 34 laps remaining in the race. Logano would survive multiple late race restarts, charging to his second victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Logano's Thoughts: "Racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best. It was a lot of fun. Crossing each other back and forth. I knew it was coming. I did it to him; I knew he was going to do it to me. We crossed back and forth there in the last lap there a couple of times. Good for Pennzoil Mustang for sure. Nice to get a few wins on the season here, start collecting those points, playoff points. What a great car, though. Really fast. I kind of messed up in qualifying, and Paul made a great call putting two tires on. Blaney did a great job with the push down in the one, which kept me close at least and being able to make the move. Good racing there."