Chicago formally confirmed on Tuesday that a street course race in the NASCAR Cup Series will begin in the city in July 2023. This race will be the first street race in NASCAR history and will take place in the Windy City over a three-year period.
The 2.2-mile street track will have 12 turns and will circle downtown Chicago. The Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum was one of the most recent attempts NASCAR has made in recent years to promote the sport to new audiences in new locations.
Ben Kennedy, senior vice president of NASCAR, said there is no greater way to honour the 75th anniversary of the organisation than by doing something that has never been done before in the history of the activity.
“Of all the changes, this is the boldest changes in our schedule,” Kennedy said. “We’ve said, and it’s been pretty synonymous when we announced the schedules, that we want to be bold and innovative when we think about new venues and new concepts. This is number one on the list for us right now. It’s certainly going to be the most anticipated event of our season.”
The weekend of July 2, 2023, will see the first race. Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot stated that discussions started around a year ago. She received a blue helmet with white stripes and red beginnings for the event on Tuesday to represent the blending of racing and her city.
“This is a huge, huge sports town. I think that goes without saying,” Lightfoot said. “And the opportunity to bring something so unique as NASCAR to the city of Chicago, I think it’s going to be one of the most iconic race courses, maybe ever.”
Kennedy said that while the race may be likened to the existing NASCAR road circuits, it also raises the bar considerably. Drivers will get the chance to take on a brand-new challenge while battling with a magnificent view of the city’s skyscrapers.
Driver of the No. 23 Toyota Camry for 23XI Racing, Bubba Wallace, discussed the value of diversity and how this event will appeal to new audiences. Wallace expressed his excitement at the chance to represent the Jordan brand in the city on behalf of his squad, which is owned by the famous Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan. He is prepared to make the best of this new course even if he acknowledges he has no idea what to anticipate from it.
“The biggest thing I was always asked by my dad when we were racing was, ‘are you having fun?'” Wallace said. “This has fun written all over it, so we’ll make the most out of it.”
Even though it will be the Cup Series’ first street course event, NASCAR has a long history in the area. From 2001 until 2019, the 1.5-mile triangular Chicagoland Speedway in nearby Joliet, Illinois, served as the Cup Series’ home track.
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