NASCAR comes to Chicago for a downtown street race

NASCAR Is set to hit the streets of downtown Chicago next year in a special run to celebrate its 75th season.

The race will take place on July 2, 2023, with Lake Michigan and Grant Park in the background, according to a report, and will be the first feature of a three-year agreement between NASCAR and Chicago, the report said.

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Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, led the charge for the downtown race, according to the report, and began work to organize the race in 2019.

The Chicago race will be run in cooperation with an International Motor Sports Association sports car race taking place the day before, along with music and entertainment options located along the course.

The race route will feature some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

“The streets of Chicago are as iconic as our skyline, and our reputation as a world-class sports city is indisputable,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said in a statement. “I am thrilled to welcome our NASCAR partners to Chicago for an event that will draw thousands to our city. Chicago’s world-class entertainment and hospitality industries, coupled with our city’s history in as a conduit for sporting talent, make us the perfect hosts for this unique event.”

Kennedy is also excited to see the town become a racetrack.

“Historically we’ve always been short tracks, intermediates, superspeedways, eventually we started having more road courses and then we came up with the coliseum concept,” Kennedy said.

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“But the street course is something we haven’t explored much before,” he continued, “and the ability for us to get a downtown setting like his and offer races to our fans, a street course is a perfect opportunity for that.”

David H. Henry