Mark down July 2, 2023, on your calendars, NASCAR fans. That will be the date of the first-ever street race in NASCAR Cup Series history. It will take place in the city of Chicago, with a unique 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course. NBC will have broadcasting rights.
“Chicago’s streets are as iconic as our skyline and our reputation as a world-class sports city is indisputable,” mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release. “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 start-finish line and pit road will be located directly in front of the city’s famous Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through Grant Park and approach Soldier Field – home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears. Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive are part of the projected course layout.
What Are the Drivers Saying About a NASCAR Chicago Street Race?
Senior vice president of racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy talked about NASCAR’s excitement for next year’s street race in Chicago.
“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 market,” he said in a press release. “This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. They will race along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, marking a truly historic moment for our sport.”
The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck spoke with a number of drivers who are excited to try something new.
“It needs to be an event,” Chase Elliott said. “As long as it’s that and it’s done well, it’ll be a success whether the drivers like the track or not.”
Joey Logano added that it should do well in attracting new fans to the sport.
“I’m [in favor] of bringing the racetrack to the fan,” he said. “It’s hard to ask somebody to travel if you’ve never been to a race before. Like ‘I want to go to Atlanta this weekend, but it’s three hours away.’ Are you gonna go? Probably not, because you’re not a big race fan yet. But if it’s in your backyard, you’re probably gonna go to the race.”
Tickets for the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race will go on sale “later this year” at NASCARChicago.com.