Over the past few weeks there has been a great deal of speculation over whether or not NASCAR would run its very first road course on the streets.
In a press conference, NASCAR announced that not only were they going to run a street course race, but that it will held on the streets of Chicago.
While it will be the first time that the Cup Series drivers will run on the streets of Chicago live, several of them ran an iRacing event last June on the streets of Chicago.
The race is set to take place on July 2, 2023 with IMSA running a race on July 1 for a special doubleheader weekend. The Chicago Street Course will replace Road America at Elkhart Lake.
NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy spoke on the upcoming race saying, “like the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, we seized an incredible opportunity to add an unprecedented element to our schedule and take center stage in the heart of another major metropolitan. This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. The NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen cars and the IMSA machines will race along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, marking a truly historic moment for our sport. We are very appreciative of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team, along with the entire city of Chicago for working with us to make this concept a reality.”
City of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also spoke on the upcoming event saying, “Chicago’s streets are as iconic as our skyline and our reputation as a world class sports city is indisputable. I am thrilled to welcome our partners at NASCAR to Chicago for an event that will attract thousands of people to our city. Chicago’s world class entertainment and hospitality industries, coupled with our city’s history as a conduit for sports talent, make us the perfect hosts for this unique event.”
The 12 turn 2.2 mile race course will include Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, and Columbus Drive as it winds through the city. Pit road and the start/finish line are on Columbus Drive in front of Buckingham Fountain. From there it will go through Grant Park and approach Soldier Field as it works its way through the city streets.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker noted that Illinois has, “a longstanding tradition of innovation” and, “is a fitting host for NASCAR’s first-ever street race.” Pritzker added, “we are thrilled to welcome this new series to America’s most iconic drive next summer.”
The remainder of the NASCAR 2023 schedules will be released later this year.
The new road course race on the streets of Chicago is the latest in new additions to the NASCAR schedule. Previously, NASCAR has created a dirt track on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway and turned the iconic Coliseum in Los Angeles into a race course for the annual Busch Clash.
feature photo credit: NASCAR.com