MADISON, Ill. - Multiple red flags and numerous cautions couldn't stop the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Kyle Busch from finding Victory Lane in the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Busch, who started on pole position for the first time since 2019, led 121 laps en route to his 63rd career NASCAR Cup Series win.
The No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet also scored 59 out of a possible 60 points during the Enjoy Illinois 300 after winning Stage 1 and finishing second in Stage 2.
"That was pretty awesome," Busch said. "Man, to sit on the pole, lead a lot of laps and have my guys do such a great job today was pretty phenomenal for us. Great for RCR. Just win, baby!
"Thanks to Team Chevy, appreciate 3Chi. Don't forget, guess what, the No. 8 special - free chicken tenders at Cheddar's on Monday! All the fans go out and celebrate with us. We're going to have a great time with this one. This one is pretty cool.”
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and Busch's former teammate came home to finish second at Gateway after being intentionally taken out of the Coca-Cola 600 by Chase Elliott last weekend.
Despite not leading any laps, Hamlin earned 51 points by finishing third in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.
"I thought we were super dialed if it was 95 degrees like it was supposed to be with those delays – it kind of took away from the advantage I thought that we had," Hamlin said. "I’m proud of this whole Sport Clips Toyota team – pit crew did a phenomenal job keeping us in it and doing really good on the money stop with about 60 to go.
"We are going to have to wait another to get that 50th (win).”
Other impressive performances during the second NASCAR Cup Series race at Gateway came from two of the Team Penske Fords with Joey Logano finishing third (2022 race winner) and Ryan Blaney finishing sixth after winning Stage 2, finishing second in Stage 1 and leading a total of 83 laps.
Results from the 2023 Enjoy Illinois 300 are listed below.
Brake Rotor Failures
One repetitive occurrence at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday was brake rotor failures causing multiple drivers to violently hit the wall and ultimately end their days.
Carson Hocevar, who was making his Cup Series debut for Spire Motorsports in the No. 7 Chevrolet, was the first victim of a brake rotor failure. Hocevar spent the majority of his 91-lap showing inside the top 20 before his accident resulted in a last-place finish.
The next driver to have a brake rotor failure was 23XI Racing's, Tyler Reddick. The driver of the No. 45 Toyota complained about his brakes on the radio shortly before his brake rotor failure which resulted in him finishing in 35th after completing 174 laps.
Just 23 laps later, the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet of Noah Gragson blew out a brake rotor and hit the wall in a violent manner. Gragson's incident resulted in a red flag and finished 33rd.
The last brake rotor failure came with less than seven laps to go from the other 23XI Racing Toyota, with Bubba Wallace's No. 23. Wallace, like teammate Reddick, told the team on his radio that he was having brake issues. Wallace's top-five finish streak ended at three races with a 30th-place finish at Gateway.
Other Race Facts
Kyle Busch's 121 laps led is the most for a Richard Childress Racing Cup car since October 6, 2013, at Kansas Speedway with Kevin Harvick, according to statistician Trey Ryan.
Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney have all finished inside the top six in both of the NASCAR Cup Series races at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Corey LaJoie finished 21st in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. LaJoie was driving the No. 9 for Chase Elliott, who was serving his one-race suspension after deliberately wrecking Denny Hamlin at Charlotte the previous week.
Noah Gragson has five DNFs in 15 races. Gragson has also only finished on the lead lap two times (13.3%) in his rookie Cup Series campaign.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 9 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
MOST RECENT FINISH
Week 10 of the GRID Ranking:
The next race on the calendar for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway. The race will be on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 11.
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