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Best matchup to bet now for the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway

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This weekend the NASCAR Truck and Cup Series head to World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, aka Gateway. Gateway is a 1.25-mile egg shaped oval. The track is a flat track, with 11 degree banking in turns 1 and 2 and 9 degree banking in turns 3 and 4. In the 2022 race there were significant issues with tire blowouts, but minimal falloff otherwise. Given its length and banking Gateway is an oddball track, that is hard to correlate with any other venues. The difficulty in correlating the track is made even worse given the mixed equipment package that will be used this weekend.

At over one mile in length teams will be running the intermediate track downforce package. At the same time Goodyear is bringing the tires used at short flat tracks with high tire wear. This is the same setup that was used here last year (there was no short track package in 2022). This means we can look back to 2022 data, but that data is aged, which makes it less reliable. As far as 2023 data, its hard to say if short tack or intermediate track data should get more weight. With this in mind I’m largely waiting to see how cars look in practice before making bets. There is one head to head matchup that I have already jumped on though.

Corey LaJoie over Chase Briscoe | -110 (BetFred)

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

This matchup unfortunately isn’t available at many books but at BetFred I think it is priced incorrectly. Last week I took Austin Dillon over Chase Briscoe on a theory of fading Briscoe. I’m doing it again this week. Briscoe has been absolutely abysmal in the intermediate package this year. He was better in the short track package at Phoenix and Richmond. However, the 14 team just doesn’t seems to be right this year. Things only got worse for the team this week when it received an L3 penalty for using counterfeit parts at Charlotte.

Corey LaJoie on the other hand is having a career year. I would consider taking this bet even if LaJoie was running in the Spire number 7 car. But LaJoie isn’t running the 7 this weekend. With Chase Elliott suspended this weekend for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin at Charlotte, LaJoie is piloting the Hendrick Motorsports number 9. When Josh Berry was filling in for Elliott and Bowman during their injuries, he was faster than Briscoe by a good margin in every race using the intermediate package.

Berry is arguably a more talented driver than LaJoie, but there is no reason to think LaJoie can’t pilot top tier equipment to strong finishes. In fact, although it was a decade ago, back in the K&N Pro Series and ARCA Series LaJoie scored wins over future cup stars including Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. LaJoie is 31, he likely won’t have another shot to show what he can do in top tier equipment. I do not think he will throw away his shot.

I’m being aggressive on another fade Briscoe play, I bet 2.2 units to win 2. I think this is playable down to -115. As noted, this is aggressive, so account for your risk tolerance and consider 1.1u to win 1.

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