The Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway, also known as Gateway, is this weekend’s race. It’s only the second time the NASCAR Cup Series has made the trip to St. Louis but this week’s race is setting up to be a great one. Last year’s race here had a little bit of everything and we can expect the same thing once more for the 2023 race at Gateway. You can get a preview of the race in this week’s podcast below as well as getting this weeks’ top DFS plays and strategy for the Enjoy Illinois 300.

Gateway NASCAR DFS Strategy

The 1.25-mile track on the board of Missouri and Illinois is a tricky one. It’s pretty flat but it does have two different ends of the track. Much like Darlington from a couple of weeks ago, the two different ends of the track are different radii which can make setups a challenge. Last year was the first race for the Cup Series at this track and it put on quite a show. Can we take a lot from that race? Not necessarily. Firstly, it was the first race here with no notes for the teams. Secondly, we have a different package on the cars this year using the intermediate package rather than short track like last year. This year’s race is setting up to be a great one with an interesting field setup and a differing race condition from practice and qualifying.

What do I mean by different race condition? The temps and track conditions will be a lot different. They practiced and qualified at 9am local time (central time) when the track and temps were still not near their highs for the day. The race will be in the middle of the afternoon local time. The temps in St. Louis are forecast to be toasty and they’ll be in their peaks midday. That will make the track slicker and some of the cars might not handle as well or drive as well over the longer runs as they did at practice. That’ll add some interesting build strategy to things to figure out who we trust to make the adjustments.

As far as what to expect on the track? Passing should be possible here with the intermediate package on the cars and the slicker conditions. Passing was possible last year in the short track package and with how the cars have been scrambled through the starting grid this weekend, it should be expected again. As for dominators, I wouldn’t expect to see one driver lead over 100 laps this weekend either. We’ve seen a trend of laps led being split between multiple drivers a race at intermediates so far, even until Stage 4 of the longest race of the year last weekend.

NASCAR Practice and Qualifying Results

The following chart shows the practice and qualifying results for Sunday’s race. This should help you decide who may move up and who may fall back in the field during the race. These are not hard and fast figures to live by though.

DriverAvg. Prac to QualQual1-Lap5-Lap10-lap15-Lap20-Lap
Kyle Busch-5175   
Ryan Blaney-102181696 
Denny Hamlin1363111
Kevin Harvick-18427282212 
Martin Truex Jr-135112518  
Joey Logano36118  
William Byron27367  
Ross Chastain081514427
Tyler Reddick495833 
Austin Cindric-18102629   
AJ Allmendinger-911252114  
Ricky Stenhouse Jr-41228261395
Daniel Suarez-713241819  
Harrison Burton-1414313123  
Ty Gibbs31517171176
Austin Dillon01620221210 
Christopher Bell-317232315  
Alex Bowman11181410542
Brad Keselowski1119107   
Bubba Wallace92019151084
Michael McDowell1821422  
Kyle Larson1522212   
Justin Haley-4232924   
Aric Almirola1724911653
Chase Briscoe192584   
Carson Hocevar112616132013 
Chris Buescher11271220   
Todd Gilliland928211916  
Ryan Preece102922271711 
Corey Lajoie330303021  
Erik Jones2031139   
Noah Gragson232333324  
Ty Dillon-1333434   
BJ McLeod-1343535   
Gray Gaulding-1353636   
JJ Yeley4363232