Could downtown Chicago streets soon host a NASCAR race? Here’s what we know

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has something unusual on Tuesday’s Public Agenda: An announcement with NASCAR leaders.

According to a report from The Athletic, the city of Chicago is endorsing NASCAR for a three-year run, with a possible event — a street race — happening as early as 2023.

A letter obtained by the sports website through a public records request says “Chicago is incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as host of the 2023, 2024 and 2025 NASCAR Chicago Street Course events, and we stand ready to welcome NASCAR fans to our world class city.”

The letter adds that the city is “committed to collaborating and supporting NASCAR to execute the events in a safe and secure manner.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a NASCAR series is held in the Chicago area. From 2001-2019, The NASCAR Cup series was held at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet on a closed course. However, an opinion piece from The Chicago Sun-Times published on July 14 suggests that new route from the could be held on downtown streets.

And in June of 2021, NASCAR and iRacing held a televised Esports 2.2-mile virtual race through the city, over Lakeshore Drive, Michigan Avenue and near Grant Park.

Lightfoot’s announcement is scheduled for 2:30 pm Tuesday, one day before Chicago City Council is set to vote on a proposed ordinance put forth by three aldermen meant to curb “reckless,” illegal street racing in the city that has “tormented” residents in their Wards. The proposed ordinance would permit the Chicago Police to “immediately impound a car involved in drag racing,” establish fines between $5,000 – $10,000 per offense and more.

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