The outlet provided the news in its recap of the inaugural Cup Series race that featured an overtime battle between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Writer Stu Durando said in the article that “the event will return in 2023 after generating a first-ever sellout to WWTR and drawing a facility record crowd for the NASCAR truck race Saturday.”
This return to WWTR after the Enjoy Illinois 300 was expected. The race provided more excitement with the Next Gen car than trips to Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway, and there were an estimated 57,000 fans in attendance for the packed weekend of racing that featured numerous big moments.
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The Weekend Drew Strong Comments
The sellout and the product on the track served as solid indicators that the Cup Series will return for at least one future season. Another indicator is a statement that Logano made after winning his second points-paying race of the year.
“I think what you look at for St. Louis what we did here this weekend is a huge success for the city, for our sport, for the fans,” Logano said, transcript courtesy of ASAPSports. “You look at the racing was good. It was good action all the way down until the end. The fans were on their feet coming for the crew. Every one of them were here. I think they’re all still here down in three or four enjoying a concert with somebody.
“I think the track did a tremendous job promoting the event. You see the billboards on the highways. They were ready, and they really promoted it. They did a fantastic job, and I think that’s something that we shouldn’t just look past because they promoted it correctly. They had good racing. They cared about the racing as well.”
Logano entered the weekend with previous experience at World Wide Technology Raceway. He suited up for an Xfinity Series race in 2008 while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. He finished second overall after leading 42 laps. 14 years later, he returned to the track and won a Cup Series race.
NASCAR & WWTR Had Previously Inked a Significant Deal
The inaugural Cup Series race at WWTR was the result of several years of hard work. Owner Curtis Francois made a multi-million-dollar investment after taking over the track in 2011, which included adding 20,000 parking spots and improving the areas navigated by thousands of fans.
Francois expressed a desire in 2018 to host Cup Series races, but he did not get the opportunity until 2022. WWTR and NASCAR signed a three-year deal to bring Cup Series races to the St. Louis area, which led to a sellout opening weekend.
“It’s great to know what their intent is for the series, and I would look forward to a long-term relationship with NASCAR,” Francois told Heavy in September 2021. “Certainly, we have to get started at some point, but I really believe that we will put on vibrant races that are compelling to the fans and to the sanctioning bodies. I think that the rest really kind of takes care of itself.”
Ben Kennedy, NASCAR SVP of racing development and strategy, also made comments about the future in September 2021. He made strong comments to NASCAR Media about the local market and the proximity of the track to downtown St. Louis. Kennedy also noted that Francois had plans for the future of the track “in the next two to three years.”