DOWNTOWN – IT’S OFFICIAL: NASCAR will host street races in downtown Chicago starting in July 2023.
The partnership between NASCAR and the city will see races take place over the next three years on a course starting in Grant Park. The first races will be from 1 to 2 July 2023.
The 2.2-mile, 12-turn route will include Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and surrounding streets with a start/finish line and pit road along South Columbus Drive in front of Buckingham Fountain. The track will pass through Grant Park near the lake front and approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, according to city officials.
The first street track race of the NASCAR Cup Series will be held on July 2, 2023, and will be preceded by an IAAF-approved series race on July 1, 2023. The races will include music and live entertainment, officials said in a statement.
The plan was first revealed on July 7 Jordan Bianchi athlete.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Tuesday that talks to bring the event to Chicago began last year after NASCAR hosted a 2.2-mile virtual esports race through the city. The mayor said the excitement around the NASCAR races in Chicago is “off the charts,” and she’s confident it will be a success.
“This is a huge, massive sports city…the opportunity to bring something as unique as NASCAR to the city of Chicago, I think, is going to be one of the most iconic racing courses, probably of all,” said Lightfoot. “We cannot miss this opportunity.”
There will be music and entertainment for people of all ages around the races, according to the city. Tickets will go on sale later this year.
said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy.
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who will be on the street track next year, called the opportunity to race in Chicago “exciting,” saying he was looking forward to the challenge of the city’s tight 90-degree corners and bumps on the road.
“[These are] Wallace said, “The same streets you guys drive every day…we’ll be unconstrained by the speed limit and move as fast as we can.”
But not everyone is on board. Lightfoot faces a backlash from downtown Ald. Brendan Riley (42), who said the mayor has not had any conversations with councilors whose wards will be affected.
“I heard the mayor has ‘approved’ of a giant Hot Wheels trajectory in downtown Chicago: affecting residents and businesses in four different divisions. How many conversations has the administration had with aldermen?” Riley tweeted with an gif of former President Bill Clinton speaking: zero”.
Lightfoot said that wasn’t true, claiming that she had “clearly consulted with members of an alderman whose wards would be affected” and there would be more community involvement leading up to the event.
This announcement comes just a day before the city council votes on a proposal To eliminate drag racing and drift through the city. Two drag racing incidents were reported in the West Loop and South Loop over the weekend.
If Wednesday passes, decree It would give Chicago police the authority to impound cars drivers were racing or drifting using the videos as evidence, and would increase fines for car owners.
Car owners will face a $2,000 fine or impound, according to the proposed law. This penalty will be added to existing drag racing fines in the city, which range from $5,000 to $10,000, as well as a $500 withdrawal fee.
Asked if it was “hypocritical” promoting street racing as the city council prepares to vote on the ordinance, the mayor said no, calling it a comparison of “apples and oranges”.
“What we are seeing is spontaneous, uncontrolled events that are creating a lot of chaos and safety issues throughout our city. This is NASCAR. It’s a completely different environment,” Lightfoot said.
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