Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Sean McKean
After an exciting race weekend in Charlotte, NASCAR heads on to Madison, Illinois. Heading into the fifteenth race weekend of the season, the playoff race is starting to heat up. 10 drivers already occupy a playoff spot, with six more up for grabs. Will a driver who has been flying under the radar win a race? Or will the top dogs continue to dominate and collect more playoff points?
The World Wide Technology Raceway, located outside of St Louis, is 1.25 miles (2.01 kilometers) long in distance. On 4 June, the drivers will go around this track for 240 laps, barring overtime. Turns one and two of the track features an 11 degree banking, while turns three and four features a nine degree banking. One interesting thing about the track is that the pit entry starts before turn three and the pit exit is located at the end of turn two. It would be interesting on how the strategy for drivers will turn out as green flag pit stops will be highly disadvantageous against a pit stop during caution.
In tyre strategy, the drivers should be looking at four to five stops, depending on how many cautions and the number of cautions. However, the weather forecast predicts 34°C (94°F) on race day, and high temperatures could lead to more tire degradation. Pit windows would be every 50-70 laps, depending on track conditions, driving strategy, and caution flags.
The race will start at 15:30 EST (21:30 CET).
Drivers to look out for
Last year, Joey Logano won a thriller, after overtaking Kyle Busch on the overtime restart, taking the checkered flag in style. This year, race winners continue to be all the more unpredictable. Could Joey Logano bounce back from an uninspiring performance in Charlotte? Could William Byron continue add to his tally of top 10 finishes? Or will Ross Chastain finally get his first win of the season? These three drivers are top drivers to look out for, but less exciting drivers such as Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Tyler Reddick win the race with consistent driving they have done all season.
Underdogs could also break out like Ryan Blaney in Charlotte, such as Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Ty Gibbs. They have been quietly putting on a show, and a good strategy and a clean drive might just boost one of them to victory lane.