NASCAR is changing. A lot. It has new Next Gen race cars for this 2022 season, the sanctioning body has taken steps to introduce more road courses – that are more compatible with their new cars – and now the NASCAR Cup Series will conduct its first points race in downtown Chicago, IL during the Fourth of July weekend, July 1-2, 2023. The event will be a doubleheader with a yet-to-be-named IMSA series as support race.
The Windy City will make history hosting the NASCAR Cup Series against a backdrop of Lake Michigan and Grant Park, with broadcasting by the NBC network. “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 marked,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy declared.
“This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race,” which will be conducted during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season. “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,” he said.
This premiere street race for the NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 2, 2023. It will be preceded by an IMSA-sanctioned series race, which will run the previous day. The specific IMSA series joining NASCAR’s top touring series in Chicago will be announced at a later date. Both races will be complemented by music and entertainment options for all ages, which could make this Chicago appearance by NASCAR one of the signature sporting and entertainment events of the year.
According to Chicago’s Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, “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,” she concluded.
The 12-turn, 2.2-mile Chicago road course will feature Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and select surrounding thoroughfares, with the start/finish line and pit road located along South Columbus Drive, directly in front of the city’s iconic Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through Grant Park, as well as approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, one of the most recognizable sports venues in the United States – and the site of the only other Cup Series race, which took place in the city’s downtown, in 1956.
“Welcoming yet another NASCAR event to Illinois just weeks after the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race – held at Wide World Technology Raceway in Madison, IL, just outside St. Louis – is a testament to the strength of our tourism industry, from Chicago to Metro East,” said JB Pritzker, Illinois governor. “Illinois, with its longstanding tradition of innovation, is a fitting host for NASCAR’s first-ever street race. We are thrilled to welcome this new series to America’s most iconic drive next summer.”
Tickets will be available for the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend later this year, available at NASCARChicago.com. NASCAR will release further details and elements of the weekend soon, while fans can follow @NASCARChicago on social media for the latest real-time updates on all aspects of this particular race weekend. The balance of the 2023 schedules for NASCAR’s Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series and the company’s numerous IMSA properties, will be announced at a later date.
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