Initial renderings have been revealed for the temporary structures for next year’s NASCAR Chicago Street Race within Grant Park. The race which was announced earlier this year has become a point of contention for many residents, as it will close off the green space often referred to as Chicago’s front lawn for even longer than it already is during the summer. The event is being led by NASCAR itself as it looked to bring racing closer to its audiences, with the city having a deep history in car events.
Car races are nothing new to Chicago, since in 1895 it held the first organized race in the nation dubbed the Chicago Times-Herald race, sponsored by the namesake newspaper. Consisting of two motorcycles and four cars which were introduced in the US two years prior in 1893, the 54-mile race started in Hyde Park passing through Evanston in the north. With a $2,000 prize, the winner took just under eight hours to complete the course at an average speed of seven miles per hour, ushering in the commercial production of American automobiles.
Now 128 years later, car racing makes a return to the city with the first iteration of NASCAR’s street course event which will see two days of televised racing and a full weekend of concerts, fan events, and more festivities. Organizers are anticipating around 100,000 attendees with select tickets now on sale and ranging from $269 to $3,000 private suites including food, which is considered to be comparable to NASCAR’s other races.
At the heart of the temporary facilities will be a 2.2-mile, figure eight-shaped course featuring 12 turns and it will be lined with temporary bolted facilities similar to what is found at golf tournaments. The rest of the track will be fenced off with grandstands for the lower cost-admission groups along with temporary restrooms, restaurants, and stages for concerts being held after both days of racing in order to create a more festival-like atmosphere.
The city expects roughly $114 million in economic impact from this first iteration of the event including $3.2 million in tax revenue for the city according to Chicago Tribune. This doesn’t include the $50 million NASCAR will spend on building out the event and a new 5,000-square-foot office on the 28th floor of Two Prudential Plaza for 12 employees. The city will also receive increasing permit fees for the three years it is secured for, along with a partial fee on all tickets and food sold towards the Park District.
However the race will require for the park to be shuttered for two weeks in July for setup and take-down, but the overall process will span a month in which they’ll be active within the park. This will be closely followed by Taste of Chicago and soon after Lollapalooza, meaning the park will be obstruction free for residents for only a few weeks during the summer. This has been something residents are not happy with and will be a part of the conversation leading up to next years start.
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Oh man! That’s such a cool track location! Gonna look great rendered in GT 2024 haha!
This is one of the stupidest things to hold in the park in the middle of summer. Another of the Mayor’s many follies.
I mean, sure it’s going to look cool on TV, yes it’s going to bring in some visitors. But we also have an epidemic of stupid driving, drag racing, street take-overs, and deaths – including on this very part of Lake Shore Drive! You can’t tell people: Hey please don’t treat our city like a race course but also GET PUMPED FOR RACING!
Very good point
I don’t think that’s quite the right comparison. There’s a difference between something done safely in a closed-course sanctioned event, and having a total disregard public safety for your own amusement. I agree with your overall sentiment, but I also don’t think this is a bad thing for the city.
Let’s see…$114 million positive economic impact for the city utilizing one of the greatest assets this city has to offer, the park, to people from around the world to come to one of the greatest cities in the world (not my words but Condé Nast). Or…we could have an underutilized asset sitting there waiting for residents of the city to maybe stroll the park at their leisure which produces no additional tax or economic benefits. There are 52 weeks in the year. This race will take up 2 of those weeks for the enjoyment of huge crowds bringing an excitement to the city not seen since…well, Lalapalooza. And I’m not even a fan of NASCAR!!! But I’ll watch the race. The Mayor has made a wise decision in bringing this race to the city.
How insane… Where do I buy a ticket!
They should put this in Ford City instead. No one’s using that.
Might as well do it on the 290 lol
Will Beetlejuice be driving the pace car?
I don’t want it to flop, but it’s gonna flop
So a park is an “underutilized asset”. What a comment. How about using a real race track?
Having a connection to NASCAR through a retired winning crew chief, and having watched NASCAR for 30 years, why not go to something already built for stock car racing. Joliet race track?
Why not try something new? It seems like ANY new idea fires up the “residents.” When Daley wanted to build Millennium Park, I heard negative prophecies from “residents.” I don’t know if NASCAR racing will work..but the NIMBY reaction to anything new is sad. Let’s try it for 3 years and see if is something beneficial.
The best view is probably gonna be from the top floor of Sentral.
Anyone notice the plan calls for shutting down part of LSD? That will make for interesting traffic patterns.