MADISON, Ill. – Start your engines! NASCAR meets the Metro East once again as Enjoy Illinois 300 returns this weekend for the second consecutive year.
The inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 race and festivities last year proved largely successful. NASCAR fans from all around the country gathered at the World Wide Technology Raceway for the race and three days worth of NASCAR-themed events. The raceway packed a sold-out crowd of 57,000 seats on race day, setting the stage for an encore this weekend.
To get ready for raceway royalty in the St. Louis region, here are five things worth knowing ahead of the Enjoy Illinois 300.
1. When is the race? How can I watch?
The Enjoy Illinois 300 race is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. CT.
If you’re unable to attend the NASCAR Cup Series race on a ticket, FS1 will carry the TV broadcast. Fans can also tune in via radio on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Fans planning to watch the race should expect for it to take at least three hours.
2. Raceway history and track
World Wide Technology Raceway opened as a road course in 1985 and has adapted to host NASCAR-sponsored events since 1997. Throughout the years, it’s been the site of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the IndyCar Series and other sanctioned racing tournaments.
Enjoy Illinois 300 is considered the only NASCAR Cup Series the site has hosted over several decades. Joey Logano won the inaugural race in an overtime setting. He finished with a total race time of three hours, seven minutes and 34 seconds and took a lead over Kyle Busch on the final lap to secure victory.
Like last year, drivers will take on the 1.25-mile, oval-shaped track of World Wide Technolgy Raceway. The first and second turns on the track are a bit tighter than the third and fourth turns of each track due to different degrees of banking. Drivers will make 240 laps around the track and drive 300 miles unless overtime is needed.
3. Top talents set to race
Joey Logano, the winner of last year’s race, will compete again for a chance to defend his title. He visited the race track just last month in anticipation of the event.
Former NASCAR Cup Series champions Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are also among the big names expected to compete. According to Bleacher Nation, Larson has the best odds to win the race at +450. He is followed closely by William Byron (+650) and Denny Hamlin (+1000).
Bubba Wallace, who became the second Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series in 2021, is also planning to compete. Another usual in NASCAR series, Chase Elliott, was suspended for this weekend’s race after a collision against Hamlin in a recent race. He has been replaced in the lineup by Corey LaJoie.
Thirty-six drivers are currently set to race. Among them, 16 drivers are using Chevrolet-manufactured cars, 14 are using Ford-manufactured cars and six are using Toyota-manufactured cars. For the complete list of drivers, click here.
4. Many events planned around the race
Some celebrations around Enjoy Illinois 300 begin as soon as Thursday, though activities at the raceway grounds won’t begin until Friday.
On Thursday, from 4-7 p.m. fans can attend a free NASCAR Fanfest event at Ballpark Village. A few NASCAR drivers, including Matt DiBenedetto and Memphis Villarreal, will sign autographs and answer questions on an outdoor stage.
On Friday, NASCAR talents will start arriving to the raceway and there are some free experiences for fans. At the raceway, fans can watch the NASCAR hauler parade, a guided track walk, and practice for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 series without needing to purchase a ticket.
On Saturday, the parking lot opens at 6 a.m. to kick off a variety of festivities. At 9 a.m. practice session for participants of the Enjoy Illinois 300 race. After that, fans can watch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota 200 Series. Introductions begin around noon and the race begins at 12:30 p.m.
Saturday’s race will also be followed by a Jackie Joyner Kersee-inspired 5K, a car show, and concerts through the Confluence Music Festival involving Flo Rida and Dierks Bentley. Tickets are required for attending Saturday’s events and concerts.
Sunday, of course, is the crown jewel of the weekend with the Enjoy Illinois 300 race. Prior to that, there will also be an outdoor stage appearance from St. Louis native and former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace at 9:30 a.m. Gates open for the track at 10 a.m., and there will also be musical performances from Brittney Spencer, Bally Zimmerman and Brothers Osborne.
For the full weekend schedule, click here.
5. Are tickets still available?
Fans still have the option to find tickets for the Enjoy Illinois 300 race on Sunday, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Saturday and a two-day weekend package for Saturday and Sunday. The tickets are offered directly through St. Louis-based ticket service MetroTix. The cheapest tickets, before fees, start around $100 for the ultimate race and around $70 for the truck series.
There are also concert tickets available, but those come must be ordered separately. Prices start at around $77, before fees, for the Confluence Music Festival experience on Saturday.
Some tickets for the races and concerts are also being offered through third-party platforms like Ticketsmarter.com, SeatGeek and StubHub.