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The NASCAR Truck Series, shown at WWTR. (Brad Plant photo)

First-Time Events For Two NASCAR Series

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is the rare race weekend where the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series will each be racing at a venue for the first time.

The Cup Series will make its debut at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., on Sunday, while the Xfinity Series makes its maiden visit to the road course at Portland (Ore.) Int’l Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway was originally built as a road course in 1985 and was known as St. Louis International Raceway Park. The road course was demolished in 1996 to make way for the 1.25-mile paved oval and accompanying drag strip that are still there today.

Though this will be the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event this weekend, World Wide Technology Raceway has hosted 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series races from 1997-2010 and 21 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races from 1998-2010 and 2014-2021.  

Twenty-four drivers entered in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race have experience in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Nine different drivers have won in those series at World Wide Technology Raceway, led by Kevin Harvick with three NASCAR national series wins at the 1.25-mile track (NXS 2000, 2001 and NCWTS 2010); followed by Christopher Bell (NCWTS 2016), Kyle Busch (NXS 2009), Ross Chastain (NCWTS 2019), Cole Custer (NCWTS 2015), Justin Haley (NCWTS 2018), Brad Keselowski (NXS 2010), Martin Truex Jr. (NXS 2004) and Bubba Wallace (NCWTS 2014).  

Word Wide Technology Raceway will become the fourth different track the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on in the state of Illinois with this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300. 

The NASCAR Cup Series first competed in the state of Illinois on July 10, 1954 at Santa Fe Speedway, a half-mile dirt track located in Willow Springs, Ill. The event had 23 cars entered and was scheduled for 200 laps. Dick Rathman won the race driving a 1954 Hudson for car owner John Ditz. 

It wasn’t until two years later that the NASCAR Cup Series returned to the state of Illinois, only this time it was at the famous Soldier Field in Chicago. On July 21, 1956, the NASCAR Cup Series saw 25 cars compete at the half-mile paved track inside the stadium for 200 laps. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts driving a Ford for car owner Pete DePaolo.    

The NASCAR Cup Series has also competed at Chicagoland Speedway from 2001-2019 for 19 races. 

There have been 97 NASCAR national series races in the state of Illinois among five different tracks. The NASCAR Cup Series has made 21 starts in the state of Illinois.

The Xfinity Series will be heading to Oregon to race for the very first time at Portland International Raceway, a track built on history. 

What was once America’s largest public housing project for nearly 40,000 Kaiser shipyard workers and their families during and after World War II is now a 1.97-mile paved road course that has hosted over 50 years-worth of racing events.

Portland International Raceway is built on 268 acres of what was once known as the City of Vanport. Less than 15 years after the city was washed away by a flood in 1948, the City of Portland acquired the land. With the growing interest in sports car and drag racing in the 1960s, Portland International Raceway was born and has been hosting regular races since 1965. NASCAR first visited Portland International Raceway with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 1999 and 2000. Greg Biffle won the 1999 Truck Series race and Andy Houston won in 2000. 

This weekend the competitors will be challenged 147.75 miles (75 laps) and the event will be broken up into three stages that are 25 laps each. 

Drivers will kick off the inaugural Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on Saturday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET. 

Looking back, NASCAR’s first national series competition in the state of Oregon was actually at Portland Speedway, a half-mile paved oval, on May 27, 1956. It was a NASCAR Cup Series race, and the event was won by Herb Thomas driving a Chrysler for car owner Carl Kiekhaefer. The NASCAR Cup Series made seven starts at Portland Speedway between 1956-1957 producing six different winners.