Story By: ERIC RYAN / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – For the first time ever, the sights, sounds and speed of NASCAR are coming to the streets of downtown Chicago on July 1-2, 2023.
One of the most iconic cities in the world, Chicago will add another chapter to its illustrious sports history when a NASCAR Cup Series street race debuts against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and Grant Park, televised on NBC.
“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,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. 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.”
The first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street course race will take place on Sunday, July 2, 2023, and will be preceded by an IMSA sanctioned series race, which will run on Saturday, July 1, 2023. The specific IMSA series joining the NASCAR Cup Series in Chicago will be announced at a later date. Both races will be surrounded by music and entertainment options for all ages, truly making it one of the signature sporting and entertainment events of the year.
“Chicago’s streets are as iconic as our skyline and our reputation as a world class sports city is indisputable,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “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.”
Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and select surrounding thoroughfares will be transformed into a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course, with the start/finish line and pit road located along South Columbus Drive directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through the famed Grant Park, as well as approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, one of the most notable and recognizable sports venues in the country – and the site of the only other Cup Series race to take place in Downtown Chicago, in 1956.
“Welcoming yet another NASCAR event to Illinois just weeks after the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race is a testament to the strength of our tourism industry from Chicago to Metro East,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois, with its longstanding tradition of innovation, is a fitting host for NASCAR’s first-ever street race, and we are thrilled to welcome this new series to America’s most iconic drive next summer.”
“Chicago is one of the world’s top sports and entertainment destinations. Year after year, fans from all over the world travel to our great city for high-profile sporting events,” said Kara Bachman, Executive Director, Chicago Sports Commission. “The 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race weekend will continue that legacy with another monumental sports moment and we look forward to welcoming fans to NASCAR’s first-ever street race.”