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First-time events for two NASCAR series

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The NASCAR Cup Series will make its debut at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday. The Camping World Truck Series, which was shown at the track last year, will race on the 1.25 mile route on Saturday. (Photo by Brad Plant)

CHARLOTTE, NC — It’s the rare race weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series each race in one location for the first time.

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

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

Although this will be the first 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 competing in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race have experience in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Nine different drivers have won in these series at World Wide Technology Raceway, led by Kevin Harvick with three NASCAR National Series wins in the 1.25-mile circuit (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).

World Wide Technology Raceway will become the fourth different track hosted by the Illinois State NASCAR Cup Series with this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300.

The NASCAR Cup Series first competed in the state of Illinois on July 10, 1954 at the Santa Fe Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in Willow Springs, Illinois. The event featured 23 cars and 200 laps were scheduled. Dick Rathman won the race in 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 at Chicago’s famed Soldier Field. On July 21, 1956, the NASCAR Cup Series saw 25 cars compete for 200 laps of the half-mile paved track at the stadium. 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 contested 19 races at Chicagoland Speedway from 2001 to 2019.

There were 97 NASCAR National Series races in the state of Illinois at five different tracks. The NASCAR Cup Series has completed 21 starts in the state of Illinois.

The Xfinity Series will travel to Oregon for the first-ever race 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 2-mile stretch of paved road that has hosted racing events for over 50 years.

Portland International Raceway was 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 1948 flood, 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, competitors will be challenged over 147.75 miles (75 laps) and the event will be broken down into three stages of 25 laps each.

Riders will set off for the first Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on Saturday, June 4 at 4:30pm ET.

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

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