Joey Logano Slide Jobs His Way to Victory in St. Louis

MADISON, ILLINOIS - JUNE 05: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 05, 2022 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Another new track, another victory for Joey Logano. Logano took the lead on an overtime finish Sunday beating Kyle Busch to win the NASCAR Cup series inaugural race at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.

“Thanks for coming out, guys,” Logano told a sold-out crowd at the start-finish line. “I hope you enjoyed that race. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Indeed it was a thrilling show.

Kyle Busch, who led a race high 66 laps, had the top spot from lap 186 of the scheduled 240 after the race’s seventh of 10 cautions and seemed to have the race in control. But another caution on lap 202 slowed the field once again.

Logano took the lead on the restart, but Busch stayed close retaking the point on lap 227.

The races 10th and final caution came on lap 237 when Kevin Harvick, running 13th, hit the wall hard in Turn 3. The crash set up the overtime finish with Kyle Busch scored in the lead.

Busch chose the outside lane for the restart with Logano choosing the bottom. Busch’s older brother Kurt lined up behind Kyle, with Logano’s Penske teammate Ryan Blaney, who had rallied from a spin on lap 96, just behind.

“That’s what I was hoping, that Blaney would choose with me,” Logano said. “He did a good teammate move there and then being able to push me and give Team Penske a chance to win the race. That was cool to see that Ford power lined up on the bottom lining that up. That was special to see.”

On the restart Kyle Busch briefly took the top spot with Logano diving into Turn 3 deep and sliding up and in front of Busch. Logano had the lead at the white flag and never looked back beating Kyle Busch to the line by .655 of a second.

“Racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best,” Logano said. “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.”

Kyle Busch was obviously disappointed after seeing the win slip away in the final laps.

MADISON, ILLINOIS – JUNE 05: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 05, 2022 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

“Did you see me about wreck off of four?” Busch said. “Way better than Phoenix, though, I guess. For as bad as Phoenix was, JGR, the Toyota guys, did a good job have getting us some improvements there and 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. Top is not good to fire off on, but great job by the Snickers guys. Again, we stayed in the running all day long and fought hard and thought maybe we could, but that was it.”

Kurt Busch was third, Blaney fourth, and Aric Almirola fifth.

Chase Briscoe led the first race laps after winning his first career Cup pole on Saturday. He led the first 27 laps before a flat rear tire sent him to the pits under green handing the lead to Austin Cindric. Cindric would lead the next 26 laps and win Stage 1. Cindric finished 11th, Briscoe 24th.

Ross Chastain would not make any friends as he ran into first Denny Hamlin then Chase Elliott raising the ire of both drivers who tried a couple of times to take Chastain out.

The mid part of the race belonged to first Martin Truex Jr. who led the second most laps on the day 42, then Kurt Busch who led 12 and won Stage 2.

Among those leading laps in a chaotic race was Michael McDowell who led 34 laps, more laps than he has led in his entire career in a season. He finished the day 18th.

Truex held on for sixth, Erik Jones who led 4 laps was seventh. Chastain, Christopher Bell, and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10.

Logano now has three wins on the season. He started the year by winning the non-points Clash race in February at another new track for NASCAR at the L.A. Coliseum and won at Darlington. Sunday’s race featured a packed house, close racing, and an exciting finish.

“Who would have thought we had slide jobs like that here?” Logano said of the final laps. “I thought we would be running towards the bottom, and we were running way up top and crossing each other. It was a lot of fun to race here and looking forward to coming back.”

NASCAR heads to Sonoma and the 2.52-mile road course next Sunday. Last year’s winner was Kyle Larson.

Photos: NASCAR at Gateway Sunday June 5, 2022

NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Enjoy Illinois 300 Presented by TicketSmarter
World Wide Technology Raceway
Madison, Illinois
Sunday, June 5, 2022

1. (7) Joey Logano, Ford, 245.

2. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 245.

3. (11) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 245.

4. (5) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 245.

5. (8) Aric Almirola, Ford, 245.

6. (13) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 245.

7. (21) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 245.

8. (10) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 245.

9. (3) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 245.

10. (35) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 245.

11. (2) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 245.

12. (15) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 245.

13. (25) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 245.

14. (28) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 245.

15. (29) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 245.

16. (4) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 245.

17. (32) Zane Smith(i), Ford, 245.

18. (17) Michael McDowell, Ford, 245.

19. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 245.

20. (30) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 245.

21. (16) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 245.

22. (22) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 245.

23. (23) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 245.

24. (1) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 245.

25. (9) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 245.

26. (18) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 245.

27. (26) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 245.

28. (33) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 245.

29. (14) Cole Custer, Ford, 245.

30. (34) BJ McLeod, Ford, 245.

31. (36) Parker Kligerman(i), Ford, 245.

32. (27) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 241.

33. (20) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 235.

34. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 234.

35. (31) Cody Ware, Ford, Power Steering, 166.

36. (19) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Engine, 72.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 97.965 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 7 Mins, 34 Secs. Margin of Victory: .655 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 10 for 53 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Briscoe 1-27;A. Cindric # 28-53;R. Blaney 54-65;K. Busch 66-96;M. McDowell 97-130;K. Busch 131-142;M. Truex Jr. 143-184;K. Busch 185;E. Jones 186-189;K. Busch 190-207;J. Logano 208-227;K. Busch 228-243;J. Logano 244-245.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch 4 times for 66 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 42 laps; Michael McDowell 1 time for 34 laps; Chase Briscoe 1 time for 27 laps; Austin Cindric # 1 time for 26 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 22 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 12 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 12 laps; Erik Jones 1 time for 4 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,12,8,11,1,10,22,18,9,20
Stage #2 Top Ten: 45,19,18,5,10,20,99,41,43,12

Greg Engle