Tuesday July 5th, 2022 5:22PM

Quick study Kyle Larson gets a handle on Gateway

By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
  Contact Editor

MADISON, Ill. - Before practice on Friday afternoon, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson had never turned a lap at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Unlike most other competitors who were unfamiliar with the track, Larson hadn’t had time to learn any of the nuances of the 1.25-mile speedway on the simulator.

Instead, Larson is relying on his ability as a quick study.

“Yeah, I haven’t raced here,” Larson said. “I’ve raced at Tri-City (Speedway), which is 15 minutes from here, Pevely (Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55), which is probably 35 minutes, and then at the Dome (in downtown St. Louis). So, I’ve raced all around it, but never here.

“I’m excited. I haven’t had too much time at all to prepare. I hadn’t gotten to run any laps here to test or nothing on a simulator… I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve always wanted to race here, so it’s nice that we have Cup weekend here now.”

Sure enough, Larson posted the eighth fastest speed in Friday’s final practice. On the flip side, he was 15th fastest in time trails on Saturday morning.

But Larson will have 240 laps to learn the fine points of the track in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300. That should give him ample time.

Kyle Busch Puts Out “Help Wanted” Sign For Son’s Racing Effort

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch hasn’t raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season, but that hasn’t precluded him from other racing pursuits.

Busch is thoroughly involved in the racing efforts of his 7-year-old son Brexton, and with those activities expanding, he needs more help.

Kyle’s brother Kurt noticed that Brexton was “understaffed” and volunteered to fill the void as Brexton raced on dirt Thursday night at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois, just a few miles from World Wide Technology Raceway.

Asked whether Kurt could be helpful, Kyle Busch deadpanned, “No — too many cooks in the kitchen.”

“Yes, I have one guy who does our program, and we race junior sprints, outlaw karts, quarter midgets, and now I’m adding a micro to that,” Busch added. “We’ve got a lot going on… But my dad’s there (Tom Busch). I really don’t know what my dad does. I think he creates more chaos than he helps sometimes. He’s a little difficult, as you can imagine.

“Do I need another guy? Yes. I need another guy, so if anyone is out there that is looking, I do need another guy. Now this job does not pay great, right? It is Brexton Busch that is paying you, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of income right now. He’s working on it, but we’re working hard. Kurt is coming, which is great. A little bit of help from the uncle. He can about set air pressures, so I’ve just got to tell him what I want.”

WDUN will carry live MRN Radio coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 from World Wide Technology Raceway beginning at 2:30 pm on 102.9 FM, AM 550 and streaming live on AccessWDUN.

NASCAR Cup Series
World Wide Technology Raceway – Madison, IL
Enjoy Illinois 300 – June 5, 2022

Sunday’s Starting Line Up

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1. 14 Chase Briscoe Ford 32.544 138.274
2. 2 Austin Cindric # Menards/Atlas Ford 32.662 137.775
3. 20 Christopher Bell Rheem Toyota 32.713 137.560
4. 8 Tyler Reddick 3CHI Chevrolet 32.724 137.514
5. 12 Ryan Blaney Dent Wizard Ford 32.735 137.468
6. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 32.760 137.363
7. 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 32.820 137.112
8. 10 Aric Almirola Built Ford Proud Ford 32.820 137.112
9. 21 Harrison Burton # Ford/DAV Ford 32.828 137.078
10. 1 Ross Chastain Moose Fraternity Chevrolet 32.870 136.903
11. 45 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Toyota 32.803 137.183
12. 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Toyota 32.827 137.082
13. 19 Martin Truex, Jr. Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota 32.868 136.911
14. 41 Cole Custer Feeding America/Wow Wow Ford 32.932 136.645
15. 5 Kyle Larson Valvoline Chevrolet 32.939 136.616
16. 9 Chase Elliott Hooters Chevrolet 32.941 136.608
17. 34 Michael McDowell WISE-EV Ford 32.960 136.529
18. 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald’s Toyota 32.977 136.459
19. 7 Corey LaJoie Chevrolet 32.997 136.376
20. 4 Kevin Harvick #BuschLightPolite Ford 33.019 136.285
21. 43 Erik Jones Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet 33.019 136.285
22. 38 Todd Gilliland # First Phase Ford 33.055 136.137
23. 99 Daniel Suarez Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge Chevrolet 33.088 136.001
24. 24 William Byron Chevrolet 33.112 135.902
25. 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 33.150 135.747
26. 42 Ty Dillon Chevrolet Military Appreciation Chevrolet 33.285 135.196
27. 47 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. SunnyD Chevrolet 33.299 135.139
28. 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 33.339 134.977
29. 3 Austin Dillon Get Bioethanol Chevrolet 33.415 134.670
30. 6 Brad Keselowski Solomon Plumbing Ford 33.575 134.028
31. 51 Cody Ware Nurtec ODT Ford 33.625 133.829
32. 17 Zane Smith(i) Acronis Ford 33.671 133.646
33. 77 Josh Bilicki(i) Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet 33.744 133.357
34. 78 B.J. McLeod Blaster Ford 34.477 130.522
35. 16 Ben Rhodes(i) Gold Fish Casino Slots Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
36. 15 Parker Kligerman(i) Scott Credit Union Ford 0.000 0.000

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

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