We’ve come to a “new” track on the schedule, a venue that has never seen a Cup Series race. We’ve had Xfinity races here, and the Truck Series has been running yearly for quite some time. How will any of that past success translate to today’s contest? Plenty of unknown as we pull into St. Louis.
Here’s what to look for:
–Chase Briscoe earned his first career Pole, a bit of a surprise for the casual viewer (but is the casual viewer really watching Qualifying? Probably not!). In any event, this wasn’t the first time he’s been here; back in 2017 Chase earned the Pole here for the Truck race, and went on to finish 2nd. 2.0 average finish for him here in those trucks, pretty good average, wouldn’t you say?
-Way back in 2014, Bubba Wallace made his only Truck Series race here. No big deal, just started 2nd and finished 1st. He’s NOT starting 1st today — 18th — but 23XI has been looking very stout lately. Could this be the day that Bubba takes the checkers for the first time in the Cup Series? (His Win last year was a rain-shortened event at Talladega.) 85 of 160 laps led in his Win, Wallace has to be feeling good coming in here today.
–Joey Logano has one attempt in the Xfinity Series and finished 2nd in that one. I’m wondering how the end of this race will look, and if most of these guys will be in the Top 5. Logano was pretty good in both Practice and Qualifying, and will start 7th here today. He’s an early favorite to win this after nabbing the inaugural Bristol Dirt and LA Coliseum races. Does Smokin’ Joe pin down another in a few hours?
–Christopher Bell has some success in the Truck Series, and he’ll actually be starting better than Logano. Rolling off 3rd, Bell could find himself in clean air within just a few laps. He’s put up some good numbers this week (especially in Qualifying), but hasn’t yet hit Victory Lane. Four Top 5s on the season, and his last four races have been 6th or better. Today could be the one for Bell.
–Todd Gilliland, I don’t know, we could see his best race of the year today. His best finish of 2022 came at Darlington (15th), a track which is closely aligned to this one. He’s got five starts in the Truck Series here, and two of those are Top 5s. His average finish in those is 15.6, right around that Darlington finish this year. Is there any correlation? Who the heck knows, let’s just watch and find out, ya dingus!
No food this time. Really busy week; Lisa and I caught Ringo & his All-Star Band on Monday and Paul McCartney in Syracuse last night. Very different feels to each of those shows, I’ll tell ya what! Ringo’s All-Star Band should NOT be underestimated if the opportunity every presents itself to you. We saw some Beatles tunes, Toto stuff, Edgar Winter Group’s best, Men at Work favorites, and a handful of Average White Band songs that we didn’t know the names of but definitely recognized. Fun stuff! Paul’s, different experience, packed like sardines in the Dome after being stuck in traffic FOR-E-VER. That soured the evening, and most of our four hour experience between the lead up and the exit was spent waiting in a car or waiting in a line somewhere. He played for a while though, told some awesome stories, and played some great songs. Ringo is funny as heck, and Paul is pretty comical, too. That’s it! We had fun!
Coverage of the race today starts on FS1 at 3:30pm, green flag scheduled for 3:42pm.