Thursday, June 8, 2023

NASCAR Officially Adds Chicago Street Race to 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

NASCAR Chicago Street Race NASCAR Chicago Street Course
NASCAR has officially added a street course race in downtown Chicago to the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. This photo is from a 2021 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Event at a virtual Chicago Street Course. Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On Tuesday, NASCAR made the official announcement that Chicago will get a street course event on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend will take place on July 1st and 2nd in 2023.

In addition to the NASCAR Cup Series event, spectators will be able to enjoy an IMSA Sports Car race on the course on Saturday, July 1st.

NASCAR’s Senior Vice President, Racing Development & Strategy, Ben Kennedy calls this a monumental day for NASCAR.

“This is a monumental day in the history of our sport — NASCAR,” Kennedy said. “Next year we’ll be celebrating our 75th year anniversary, and in 75 years, our sport has never had a Street Course. I am excited and proud to announce to you today that on July 2nd, 2023, the NASCAR Cup Series will be coming to downtown Chicago and racing here.”

Kennedy also stated that the Chicago Street Race addition to the schedule in 2023 is the top of his list as far as bold changes go to the schedule, ahead of even the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

NASCAR made the announcement in the form of a live press conference featuring Kennedy, Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of the City of Chicago, Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 23 23XI Racing entry and more guests on a stage in downtown Chicago.

While it’s a big day for NASCAR, it’s also a huge day for the City of Chicago, which will be the site of the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series Street Race.

“When we started talking about this opportunity a year ago, the excitement among all of us, particularly me, about the possibilities was just off the charts,” Mayor Lightfoot explained. “This is a huge, huge sports town, I mean, that goes without saying. The opportunity to bring something so unique as NASCAR to the City of Chicago, I think it’s going to be one of the most iconic race courses, maybe ever, and to introduce a whole new fanbase to what NASCAR is about in the City of Chicago. We couldn’t pass up that opportunity.”

This announcement comes as no surprise, as the rumor has been floating around since the 2021 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at a virtual Chicago Street Course and on July 7th, a report from The Athletic detailed that the City of Chicago agreed on a three-year endorsement for a NASCAR race beginning in 2023.

Fast forward to Tuesday, July 19th, and it’s official. The Chicago Street Course is here for 2023. With the addition of the Chicago Street Race comes the deletion of Road America from the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. While the Wisconsin road course will not be on the Cup Series schedule next season, Kennedy didn’t rule out it rejoining someday.

“Just because it’s a no for 2023, doesn’t mean it’s a no forever,” Kennedy said of Road America in a post-press conference media session.

NASCAR also released the proposed course layout for the event. The street course, at this time, is set for 2.2-miles in length and the course is planned to have 12 turns.

Proposed Course Layout

NASCAR Chicago Street Course layout
Here is the proposed layout (subject to change) for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Street Race in Chicago. Photo Credit: NASCAR Media

As shown in the proposed course layout distributed by NASCAR, the frontstretch of the course is set to run down S Columbus Dr.

Turn 1 will be a hard left onto E Balbo Dr. Turn 2 will be a right hand turn onto South Lake Shore Dr. While on South Lake Shore Dr., the course will have a kink in middle of the road, which will serve as turn 3. Turn 4 will be another sharp right hander onto E Roosevelt Rd.

E Roosevelt Rd. will serve a s short chute to turn 5, which will be another sharp right turn onto S Columbus Dr., which will serve as the backstretch of the course.

At the end of the backstretch will be a sharp left hand turn (Turn 6), which will bring the field back onto E Balbo Dr. After a shorter straightaway on E Balbo, the course goes to Turn 7, which is another tight right hander.

Turns 8, 9 and 10 make a curve around on E Congress Plaza Dr. After a short straight out of turn 10, there is a sharp right turn onto E Jackson Dr. And from E.Jackson Dr., the final turn of the course (the right hand Turn 12) will bring the field back onto S Columbus Dr.

NASCAR and iRacing revealed a simulator video of a lap around the 2.2-mile Chicago Street Course:

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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