The Enjoy Illinois 300, the 15th event of the 2023 NASCAR season, is scheduled to take place in Madison, Illinois, on June 4. The track is comprised of a 1.25-mile oval with varying degrees of turns, including an 11-degree turn in turn one and two-nine-degree banks in turns three and four. The race will cover a distance of 300 kilometers, equivalent to 240 laps.

Back In The Driver’s Seat

Last week’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, NC, saw a massive downpour before Ryan Blaney emerged victorious after 59 tries for a win. However, this weekend’s upcoming race will feature a fresh start with different contenders. 

Despite William Byron and Martin Truex Jr.’s strong performances in the last race, Blaney managed to get the better of them. Although there was speculation about Truex Jr.’s potential to win, he was unable to surpass Byron.

The success of Hendrick Motorsports Racing in Charlotte has been long-standing. Regrettably, Byron has been unsuccessful in this arena. As the NASCAR Cup Series advances, the pursuit of leaders Ross Chastain (+1200 for the Enjoy Illinois 300) and favorite Kyle Larson, who’s getting +450, intensifies amidst the playoff competition.

Larson, despite his 30th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend, is predicted to be one of the first to cross the finish line this weekend. The Coca-Cola 600 marked the second consecutive race in the Cup Series, where he failed to be one of the top-20 drivers, and he won’t make the mistake again.  

Despite not winning a race this year, Chastain remains toward the top of the overall standings. Meanwhile, William Byron’s impressive streak of top-four finishes continued as he finished second, making him a potential contender for this weekend’s race.

William Byron Looks For Win Number Four

Byron already has three victories this season and is now looking for his fourth. He comes into the Enjoy Illinois 300 with five consecutive top-seven finishes this season and, alongside Larson, has helped deliver Hendrick Motorsports 1,270 lap leads already. 

Byron is getting +650 for the upcoming race, in no small part because of his consistency and the support of Hendrick Motorsports. He faces monumental competition, though, and victory won’t come cheap. 

Blaney Wants Two In A Row

It is unlikely for drivers to achieve two consecutive victories in a season due to the tough competition and the inconsistent nature of the track. Blaney has the opportunity to defy the odds.

Gateway and Charlotte, despite their differences, offer similar setups. A new intermediate package will be implemented, in which Blaney holds the swiftest lap time at Dover. Akin to the Dover circuit, Charlotte’s terrain paved the way for Blaney’s triumph, and this familiarity with the track could give him an edge.

Although the package remains unchanged for Gateway, the track configuration varies. The update has already led to Joey Logano’s victory in the race, with Austin Cindric achieving the sixth-highest driver rating. 

Furthermore, Blaney came in second place with a remarkable driver score of 118.2 during the Gateway 2022 race. He could have been the winner of the race, had he not encountered an error on the pit road. Blaney’s getting +1100 for the Enjoy Illinois 300, and is the man to watch.