MADISON, Ill. — While the stock cars won’t be on the streets of Chicago until the start of July, NASCAR’s top series has already made its first appearance in Illinois in 2023.

In fact, the event is only entering its second year about 4 1/2 hours to the southwest of the city this weekend.

(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

NASCAR made its first appearance in the state this year as it held a Cup Series race in downstate Madison on Sunday at the World Wide Technology Raceway, which is located 6 1/2 miles from St. Louis.

The “Enjoy Illinois 300” was the second race that the company has staged in its top series, with the inaugural event taking place in 2022. Two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch came home with the victory.

The Craftsman Truck Series also had their race in Madison this weekend, with their 200-mile race being run on Saturday.

They’ve been racing the trucks at World Wide Technology Raceway, formerly known as Gateway Motorsports Park, annually since 2014, having previously hosted events for that series from 1998 through 2010.

NASCAR held an annual Xfinity Series race at the track from 1997 through 2010.

After this week, both the Cup and Xfinity series will be making stops in Sonoma, California, and Nashville for race weekends before arriving in Chicago on July 1 & 2. This will be the first time that NASCAR will stage races in the area since 2019 when events were held at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

The event is a first for Chicago and has been met with both curiosity and criticism as the 2.2-mile course in the heart of the city has forced a few summer events to be moved.