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Kyle Busch, Joey Logano among drivers to watch at Gateway

NASCAR's return to World Wide Technology provides another opportunity for drivers to win their way into the playoffs. This could be pivotal for the last two drivers to celebrate Cup wins at the 1.25-mile track.

Joey Logano and Kyle Busch have both won two Cup championships and been perennial contenders throughout their careers. This season, however, they have performed far worse than what they hoped.

Busch is winless this season after winning at least one race in each of the past 19 and setting a NASCAR record in the process. He even won three races last season, his first with Richard Childress Racing.

This season, however, Busch has not been in contention. He has five top-10 finishes and two top-fives but his best finish is third at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He remains in a playoff spot but is only 12 points above the cutline.

Logano, for comparison, is also winless after the first 14 races of the regular season with only three top-10 finishes and one top-five. His best finish is second at Richmond Raceway's spring race and his average finish of 18.5 is his worst since the 2011 season (19.1) when he drove for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Righting the ship will not be a simple task for either driver, something Busch indicated after a fight with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Busch yelled "I suck just as bad as you" in response to Stenhouse saying that he would wreck him at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The reason Logano and Busch stand out among drivers to watch at WWT Raceway is simple -- their consistency at the Illinois track in the two Cup races. Logano has an average finish of 2.0 at the track. Busch has an average finish of 1.5.

Logano won the inaugural Cup event at WWT Raceway in 2022 while continuing a trend of conquering new additions to the schedule. He led 22 laps during a late back-and-forth and captured the win. Last season, Logano finished third at WWT Raceway after racing inside the top 10 in all three stages.

Busch started 12th in the inaugural Cup race at WWT Raceway but led a race-high 66 laps before finishing second. Last season, he started from the pole and led 121 of the 243 laps. Busch won stage 1, finished stage 2 second behind Ryan Blaney, and then won the race.

Past success doesn't guarantee a win at WWT Raceway this weekend. Busch and Logano will have to avoid incidents on the track while their teams deliver outstanding pit stops throughout the race.

How each driver qualifies will also play a pivotal role considering the emphasis on clean air and the difficulty passing in the Next Gen car. Busch and Logano will secure their spots on the starting grid Saturday at 10:15 a.m. ET.