CONCORD, N.C. – This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to WWT Raceway for the second time in the series history. 

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Dating all the way back to 1967, the facility originally opened as a drag strip before adding a road course in the mid 1980’s. In 1997, the facility had an oval layout and hosted a NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Last year marked the first time the Cup Series came to the 1.25-mile track outside of St. Louis.

As far as layout goes, the tracks draws many similarities to other circuits on the calendar. Similar to Darlington Raceway, the corners have different banking and much different angles. Part of this was because designers had to construct the backstretch parallel to Illinois Route 203, the road that runs right next to it. The result? An exciting and unique 1.25-mile track located just across the river from St. Louis. Turns one and two are banked steeper and boast a much sharper configuration like that of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, The longer, more gentle turns three and four have some similarities to Phoenix Raceway. 

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Headed into Illinois, William Byron is enjoying quite the run of success. Dating back to Talladega Superspeedway in April, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has five straight top-10 finishes. This streak is the longest active streak by any driver. He has also led in five straight races, which is tied for his second longest streak in Cup (his longest streak came in 2019 with seven races). His runner-up finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway marked his fourth straight top-five finish and his series-best seventh finish inside the top five of the field. The strong results put Byron third in the regular season points standings and he leads all Cup Series drivers in wins (three), laps led (687), average running position (8.60) and stage wins (seven). 

"I think we have a better idea of what to expect this year than we did last year, and we’ve been unloading close to what we need this year, which is promising," Byron said of the track where he finished 19th last June. "I’m optimistic for this weekend with how we’ve been executing so far this year."

Despite a late-race incident ended Kyle Larson’s chances of another Coca-Cola 600 victory early, the No. 5 team has shown speed through the first half of the season. In 14 races this season, the Elk Grove, California, native has paced the field for 583 laps (second only to Byron). In all of 2022, the group led just 635 laps. That said, the ’23 campaign has been a season of highs and lows. Besides a dominating All-Star Race victory, Larson has two points-paying wins and has earned five finishes in the top-four spots. However, he also has five DNF’s. The No. 5 group will look to rediscover their consistency this weekend at WWT Raceway. 

Back for his second race since returning from injury, Alex Bowman will look to build off a strong return to action during the Coca-Cola 600. His 12th-place result was crucial for the Tucson, Arizona, native and his push towards the postseason as he now sits 16th in the standings. The 30-year-old driver has used consistency as his calling card this season with 10 top-15 finishes and has run all but two laps in races he's been a part of. While St Louis may not be a playoff track, the remaining regular season races carry the utmost importance for the No. 48 Ally Racing team. 

"Honestly, our biggest challenge at Gateway is going to be me," Bowman told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this week. "It’s a place that is kind of unnatural to me. It's kind of got that Loudon (New Hampshire)-Phoenix (Raceway feel to it. Two places that are not my favorite. Just trying to understand what I can do. I think it is going to be really driver-input sensitive, more so than a lot of places we go.

"I think your entry in (turn) one is really going to set up your whole lap and you are going to be able to change that a lot as a driver. It is not a place I was good at last year and hopefully we are much better this year."

Chase Elliott will miss Sunday’s race following a penalty from NASCAR. Corey LaJoie will step in to drive the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet this weekend. Currently, LaJoie pilots the No. 7 entry for Spire Motorsports and is 19th in the point standings. Earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he finished a career-best fourth. LaJoie's father, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, competed in nine Cup Series races for team owner Rick Hendrick in the No. 50 Chevy in 1998, earning a top-five finish and three top-10s.

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Here’s what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.


Group practice will begin at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 3, with coverage available on FS1. Immediately following practice, group qualifying will take place at 10:45 a.m. ET with coverage also on FS1.

Larson, Bowman and Byron will be in Group A, while LaJoie will be part of Group B. 


The 300-mile Cup Series race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 4 with coverage on FS1.


The Cup Series race will be broadcast on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).


Yes. Download the FOX Sports Live app for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick.  


It varies by location, but this link allows viewers to find the channels by entering their zip code and selecting their television provider.  

Data provided by Racing Insights

1: Ranking of Byron’s pit crew during the Coca-Cola 600. The group had the fastest four-tire pit stop time (9.383 seconds) and the fastest average four-tire pit stop time (10.008 seconds). The No. 24 pit crew is also atop the board for the fastest four-tire stop average for the season at 10.944 seconds.

10.45: Bowman's average finish for the season over 11 races. That mark leads all drivers with at least 10 starts in the series. 

44: Larson’s stage victories in his career. This mark is the third-most of any driver in Cup Series history. 

51: LaJoie will be the 51st driver to make a Cup Series start for Hendrick Motorsports.

1,360: Laps led by Hendrick Motorsports in 2023. This mark leads the Cup Series by 545 laps.