World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is set to host its first ever NASCAR Cup Series race. Which track did it replace on the 2022 schedule?
NASCAR has raced at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway before, with 15 Xfinity Series races from 1997 to 2010 and 21 Truck Series races from 1998 to 2021, including one in each of the last eight years.
In fact, another Truck Series race, the Toyota 200, is scheduled to take place at the track this afternoon (1:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).
But the Cup Series has never raced at the four-turn, 1.25-mile (2.012-kilometer) oval in Madison, Illinois before.
This Sunday afternoon’s 240-lap Enjoy Illinois 300 is the inaugural race at the track.
With the Cup Series schedule still featuring 36 races like it has every year since 2001, which track did World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway replace on this year’s schedule?
The answer is Pocono Raceway, which had hosted two races per year for 40 straight years from 1982 to 2021.
In 2020 and 2021, instead of having two separate race weekends like usual, the three-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Tricky Triangle in Long Pond, Pennsylvania had just one race weekend, a doubleheader race weekend.
But just as many anticipated would eventually happen following the track’s loss of a race weekend post-2019, its lone race weekend of 2022 is only scheduled to feature one race. The 160-lap M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 24.
Since it began hosting Cup Series races in 1974, the only eight seasons in which Pocono Raceway hosted just one race were its first eight seasons on the schedule from 1974 to 1981.
There are further rumors that Pocono Raceway won’t even be able to retain its lone Cup Series race date for much longer, though those rumors, at least for next year, won’t be confirmed nor shot down until the 2023 schedule is finalized.
Pocono Raceway’s loss of a race date is similar to the losses of Dover International Speedway, which is now Dover Motor Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway last year. Prior to 2021, the former had hosted two races per year since 1971, and the latter had hosted two races per year since 1974.
Both tracks only hosted one race last year for the first time since 1970 and 1973, respectively, and no changes were made in that regard for 2022.
Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, June 5 for the live broadcast of the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 from World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to start your free trial of FuboTV now!