NASCAR St. Louis Results, Notes: Cindric Snaps Long Winless Streak

auto jun 02 nascar cup series enjoy illinois 300 presented by ticketsmarter
NASCAR St. Louis Results: Cindric Snaps StreakIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

Pit strategy put Team Penske’s three drivers in victory contention, but it was a sour engine in Christopher Bell’s Toyota and an empty fuel tank in Ryan Blaney’s Ford that allowed Austin Cindric to snare his second NASCAR Cup career victory in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway and snap an 85-race winless streak.

“Honestly, I’m heartbroken for the 12 team (Blaney),” said Cindric, the first Team Penske driver to win a points race since October 2023 at Martinsville. “They deserved to win this race. Ryan has been a hell of a leader on this team. … but this is huge for me. This is huge for this team. I just drove my butt off and hoped for the best.”

Cindric’s win was the 143rd Cup victory for Team Penske and made him the ninth different race winner this year and qualified him for the playoffs. He led three times for 53 laps, the most he has ever led in a Cup race.


Even though Joey Logano won the NASCAR All-Star race, Team Penske has suffered through a dismal NASCAR season. Prior to Cindric’s victory, Team Penske had produced one top-10 finish in the last six races.

“It’s been hard. It’s been miserable to be in our shop lately,” Logano said about this year. “We expect to win. We got used to winning. When you’re fighting for 20th it’s quite the kick in the you know what. It’s tough.”

The three Team Penske drivers pitted only three times in the 240-lap race, one less than their competitors, and that provided them with good track position. With 100 laps remaining, Cindric led, Blaney was second and Logano third. However, since the fuel window was 75 laps, everyone needed a fuel stop before the checkered flag. Blaney pitted with 64 laps remaining and Cindric with 63 to go. However, Blaney received only one tank of fuel, while Cindric’s fueler plugged in a second can. Bell, who was clearly one of the strongest cars in the race, pitted with 45 laps remaining.

Blaney inherited the lead with Bell hot on his bumper when Kyle Larson pitted. The two drivers were in a heated duel for the lead when Bell’s Toyota suddenly developed an engine problem with 18 laps remaining. Several times during the closing laps Martin Truex Jr., who was three laps down, assisted his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate by shoving him with his car. Bell attributed Truex’s actions to preserving a top-10 finish for him.

“I’m surprised that it made it to the end,” said Bell, the race’s top lap leader who set the pace five times for 80 laps. “Glad we were able to salvage something out of it. You don’t get race cars like that very often. Whenever you do, you need to take advantage of it. Disappointing day.”

Once Bell was no longer hounding Blaney, it appeared the NASCAR Cup champion could cruise to his first victory this year. However, as the white flag waved, Blaney’s Ford ran out of fuel and Cindric inherited the lead and the victory, his first since the 2022 Daytona 500.

“I don’t know what I’ve got to do to get some luck on our side,” Blaney said. “I’ve wrecked the last two points races and thought we had a great shot to win today. I never thought in my mind we were short (on fuel). That stinks.”

The Good, The Bad for RCR

In the first half of the Enjoy Illinois 300, Richard Childress Racing was experiencing one of its best races this season. Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon were both running in the top 15.

However, with 100 laps remaining in the 240-lap event Kyle Larson tried to pass Kyle Busch on the inside, the two collided and spun into the wall. The accident eliminated Busch, giving him his first DNF this season. Larson continued to a 10th-place finish.

“I know Larson was on older tires and caught me from a couple car lengths back after I got by him,” Busch said. “He was … trying to get us for a spot. I’m not sure what that single point would mean for him, but it certainly hurt us a lot. It took that point away, as well as the others that we would get for the Stage and then also the rest of the day. It’s very frustrating. We can’t afford days like that.”

Dillon produced a sixth-place finish, his first top 10 since mid-April at Texas and his second this season.

“It’s been a rough two years for us. That was a huge run for this team,” Dillon said. “I didn’t expect it after practice, but the guys made some great adjustments. (It) was really solid all day long, even in traffic.”

Another Top-5 for Keselowski

Ever since Brad Keselowski won at Darlington in May the RFK Racing co-owner has been on a roll with top-five finishes. He produced a second-place finish at Charlotte and recorded a third in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

“That was strategy,” Keselowski said about his top-five finish. “We got behind early … but we kept putting ourselves in position to keep moving forward. We … made some good passes on that last restart to start Stage three and on the long runs we were really strong, so just making it all count where we can.”

Hocevar Grabs First Top 10

In the NASCAR Cup Season’s first 15 races, there’s only one word to describe Carson Hocevar’s rookie season – stellar.

In Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway, Hocevar produced an eighth-place finish, the best of his young career with Spire Motorsports. Ever since being eliminated from the season-opening Daytona 500 after only five laps, Hocevar has completed all but eight laps in 14 races.

“We ran as high as fourth, so it was a lot of fun,” said Hocevar, who made his NASCAR Cup Series debut a year ago at World Wide Technology Raceway with Spire Motorsports as a substitute driver. “We were slow on our green flag stop and lost some time.”

Van Gisbergen Gains Entrance Into Playoffs

Two caution flags in the last 11 laps of Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway provided Shane Van Gisbergen with the opportunity he needed to pass Justin Allgaier and claim his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory, gaining him a berth in that series playoffs.

Allgaier dominated the event, leading three times for 46 laps. However, he didn’t get the launch he needed on the final restart to hold off the road racing ace and Xfinity Series rookie. Van Gisbergen led three times for 12 laps, including the final four.

A joyous Van Gisbergen drifted his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet through the final turn and onto the frontstretch to celebrate his victory. After climbing from his car, he autographed a football and kicked it into the grandstand.


NASCAR Cup Series Race - Enjoy Illinois 300

World Wide Technology Raceway

1. (2) Austin Cindric, Ford, 240.

2. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 240.

3. (7) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 240.

4. (5) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 240.

5. (12) Joey Logano, Ford, 240.

6. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 240.

7. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 240.

8. (20) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 240.

9. (21) Justin Haley, Ford, 240.

10. (13) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 240.

11. (9) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 240.

12. (16) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 240.

13. (17) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 240.

14. (26) Chris Buescher, Ford, 240.

15. (11) William Byron, Chevrolet, 240.

16. (35) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 240.

17. (23) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 240.

18. (28) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 240.

19. (36) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 240.

20. (24) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 240.

21. (8) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 240.

22. (27) Noah Gragson, Ford, 240.

23. (31) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 240.

24. (3) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 240.

25. (1) Michael McDowell, Ford, 239.

26. (22) Erik Jones, Toyota, 239.

27. (33) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 239.

28. (14) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 239.

29. (32) Ryan Preece, Ford, 239.

30. (25) Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 239.

31. (30) Harrison Burton, Ford, 239.

32. (15) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 239.

33. (34) Cody Ware, Ford, 238.

34. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 237.

35. (10) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 139.

36. (29) Josh Berry #, Ford, Accident, 109.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 133.889 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 48 Mins, 3 Secs. Margin of Victory: 3.844 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 32 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders: M. McDowell 1-40;C. Bell 41-48;T. Gilliland 49-54;K. Busch 55-69;C. Bell 70-95;M. Truex Jr. 96;A. Cindric 97-114;C. Bell 115-143;A. Cindric 144-176;J. Logano 177;C. Bell 178-193;B. Keselowski 194-210;K. Larson 211-217;R. Blaney 218-220;C. Bell 221;R. Blaney 222-238;A. Cindric 239-240.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Christopher Bell 5 times for 80 laps; Austin Cindric 3 times for 53 laps; Michael McDowell 1 time for 40 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 20 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 17 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 15 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 7 laps; Todd Gilliland 1 time for 6 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 1 lap; Joey Logano 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 20,34,12,2,11,24,54,45,22,9

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,2,12,9,6,22,14,77,3,11