NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Chicago Street Course

July 3, 2023

RACE: GRANT PARK 220          
DATE: JULY 2, 2023

START: 31ST    
Austin Cindric recorded a strong sixth-place finish in Sunday's inaugural Grant Park 220 on the streets of Chicago, marking his third top-10 finish of the season. Heavy rain loomed over the Chicago area throughout the morning and early afternoon, delaying the start of the much-anticipated event to the evening. When the green flag flew, Cindric started at the rear after extensive repairs had to be made to the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford following an accident in practice on Saturday. Cindric reported early on that the car was lacking drive, and made his first trip down pit road on Lap 24 to exchange the wet weather tires for slicks. The Team Penske driver returned to pit lane under caution on Lap 40 after relaying that the car was tightening up. Cindric restarted 33rd, but when a caution a few laps later slowed the field, Cindric remained on track and gained significant track position as the majority of the field pitted. After the race length was shortened to 75 laps from its original 100-lap distance due to the threat of darkness, the 24-year-old racer maneuvered through various late-race cautions to collect a sixth-place result at the Chicago Street Course. 

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "The entire No. 2 team started the day with very wet shoes and socks.  I know everyone was kind of in that same boat, but these guys have been working their tails off since I hit the same wall twice yesterday. I'm just really proud of the team, not just the effort. I mean, Jeremy made a great strategy call and had great forethought with what was gonna happen with the weather and the timing and everything. We kept it off the wall and were able to have some speed at the end of the race to really contend inside the top 10 and really earn a good finish. I'm just proud of everybody on this Discount Tire Ford Mustang. It's not what I want. I want to win, but we've had a really tough stretch and this is a good step in the right direction."

START: 17TH     
STAGE ONE: 37TH     
STAGE TWO: 36TH     
FINISH: 33RD      
RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney started from 17th in Sunday's inaugural Chicago Street Course race as single-file racing took place during the opening laps with teams in wet weather tires in damp conditions. While running 19th at the time of the second caution of the day on lap 12, Blaney made his first trip to pit road for fuel only as the No. 12 team looked to gain track position with a green flag pit cycle looming. Shortly after the restart on lap 17, Blaney made contact with the wall and suffered right front damage, forcing him to come to pit road for repairs to the right front toe link. After rejoining the field two laps down, Blaney crossed the line 37th at the end of Stage 1. As track conditions began to improve, Blaney made his way to pit road under green on lap 27 for four slick tires, but was forced to make an additional stop on the following lap to remove the blocker in the windshield air duct. After the race distance was shortened to 75 laps, Blaney earned the free pass under caution on lap 57 and maneuvered his way around several late-race incidents to come away with a 33rd-place finish. 

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "Tough one for our No. 12 crew, wish we could have had a better showing in an event like this. We got put in a tough spot with the right front damage early but ended up being too big of a hole to climb out of."

START: 9TH     
STAGE ONE: 11TH     
STAGE TWO: 27TH     
FINISH: 8TH     
RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano picked up three spots in the first three laps of the inaugural Chicago Street Course race despite a single-file start to begin the afternoon. Battling the damp conditions on wet weather tires, Logano was shuffled out of the top-10 by the halfway point of Stage 1 before settling for an 11th-place finish in the opening segment. Logano continued to struggle with overall grip as green-flag pit stops began to cycle and made contact with one of the tire barriers before making his way to pit road. The damage proved to be insignificant when the No. 22 team surveyed the Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang on pit road on lap 22 and sent Logano back out on the course with four slick tires. While running in the top-20 when the caution flag flew on lap 31, several cars stayed out but the No. 22 team called Logano to pit road for four tires and a round of adjustments. The strategy call ended up paying off in a big way as Logano took the green flag from fourth in lap 49 after a majority of the field pitted under caution. Following a multi-car incident shortly after the restart, the race was shortened to 75 laps, allowing Logano to make it the rest of the way on fuel. Logano held steady in the top-five of the running order as the laps clicked off but fell to sixth when the caution came out on lap 67. Another on-track incident with two laps to go set up a green-white-checkered finish and Logano was able to fend off those on fresher tires to secure an eighth-place finish, marking his ninth top-10 showing of the season. 

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "It was hard to race. I mean, there were some passes made. It's not probably any harder than any other track that we go to. Overall, I'd say this was a success. I'd say more cautions than normal on a road course because of the walls, but hey, we got it in today. That was good."

WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series makes its second trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 9 for the Quaker State 400. Coverage begins at 7 pm E.T. on USA, PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.