CHICAGO — Chicago Street Race is coming to the Windy City this summer, and it’s all about a new chapter in motorsports in the area.
The Chicago Street Race is NASCAR’s latest foray into the market with a most unique twist – a street race in the city’s iconic downtown area.
It’s an event that’s brought a mix of excitement and curiosity along with a fair amount of opposition to how it will affect The Loop over the course of June and July.
WGN News Now has created this guide to the first ever Chicago Street Race event in Chicago with a number of details on the event itself, closures, special performances, and drivers that will participate.
Where is NASCAR racing in downtown Chicago?
They will be on a 2.2-mile street course that will feature 12 turns with the start/finish line on Columbus Drive in front of Buckingham Fountain. Drivers will go counter-clockwise on the course with time spent on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Balbo Drive, Michigan Avenue, East Congress Plaza, and Jackson Street.
See more on the turn-by-turn breakdown of the course by clicking here.
When are the two races in Chicago?
NASCAR will stage two races during the event, one for the Xfinity Series and one for the Cup Series.
The Loop 121, the Xfinity Series race, will take place on Saturday, July 1 at 4 p.m. central time.
Grant Park 220, the Cup Series race, will take place on Sunday, July 2 at 4:30 p.m.
Official practice and qualifying times will be announced closer to the event.
What are the concerts around the Chicago Street Race?
NASCAR will have four total concerts during the two-day event with two each day.
On Saturday, The Black Crowes will perform before the Xfinity Series race with The Chainsmokers performing after the race as the main act of the day.
Sunday will follow a similar schedule with Charley Crockett playing before the Cup Series race and Miranda Lambert hosting a concert at the conclusion of the event.
What tickets are available for the race?
All tickets available for the race are for sale, with two-day general admission passes to the event starting at $269.
Reserve tickets for the event start at $465 dollar with two-day tickets for the President’s Paddock Club starting at $3,015. Premium hospitality clubs start at $867 with Pit Road Terrace tickets having a starting price of $1,265.
There are also 22-pass suites available for the event.
What are the street closures for the race?
Because of the need for 2.2 miles of streets in a busy part of the downtown area, there will be multiple closures for the event.
Parking restrictions are set to begin on Columbus Drive as early as June 2 with track wall installation closures coming in the middle of the month.
Main street closures are expected to begin on June 25 just ahead of the start of the race week and continue through the conclusion of the Cup Series race on July 2.
You can see the full list of closures here.
What adjustments has NASCAR made after feedback from businesses & residents?
With concern and criticism about the footprint of the event having an impact on the city for nearly a month, NASCAR said they’ve made a few changes to the schedule after 120 meetings with city leaders, businesses, and residents.
Because of that, a few adjustments were made in order to meet some of the requests of the city.
- NASCAR has reduced a lot of the barrier installation schedule by “at least a week” from the initial timeline in an effort to reduce traffic disruption.
- There are efforts underway to make sure that pedestrian and vehicle traffic will have access to the Museum Campus.
- NASCAR has taken out part of the course’s “footprint” so residents of the South Loop can access their dog and skate park.
- Structures built around the park will be focused on the sidewalks, with an effort to keep green space & Buckingham Fountain open as long as possible during the set-up and teardown for the event.
Sound and Schedule
- During the Chicago Street Race, special mufflers are being used to decrease noise by ten decibels, with testing on that product being done now.
- Keeping on-track time to under ten hours and not having the cars run before 10 a.m.
- The musical acts will end no later than 10 p.m. or earlier.
How much money will the event bring to Chicago?
With any sporting event, this is always a question that has a lot of interest and, sometimes, different interpretations.
President of the NASCAR Chicago Street Course race Julie Giese said in April that it will generate more than $113 million for the city.
Because of the event, however, there are some concerns how it may negatively impact a few venues and events this summer.
Shedd Aquarium said they featured they could lose several million dollars since it happens during a busy time for them and access restrictions could make it difficult for people to get there.
Taste of Chicago, which traditionally takes place around Grant Park and on Columbus Drive before and after the July 4 holiday, will now be held in September.
Where has NASCAR raced before in Chicago?
While the sport is racing downtown for the first time, NASCAR has staged races here dating back to its early days in existence.
Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs hosted a Cup Series race in 1954 and Soldier Field did the same in 1956. From 2001 through 2019, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet hosted events for all NASCAR series on its 1.5 mile tri-oval.
The last event NASCAR event held in the Chicago area was the Camping World 400 on June 30, 2019, which was won by Alex Bowman.
You can see more on Chicago’s history with NASCAR here.