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Chicago to host first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street course race in 2023

Photo courtesy of NASCAR Media

CHICAGO — As the NASCAR Cup Series celebrates its 75th season in 2023, the series will host its first-ever street course race.

NASCAR executive Ben Kennedy announced the NASCAR Cup Series will race Sunday, July 2, in downtown Chicago during a weekend accompanied by an IMSA-sanctioned series race, Saturday, July 1.

NASCAR and IMSA will race on a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course going through thoroughfares such as Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and South Columbus Drive where the start-finish line and pit road will be positioned directly in front of Buckingham Fountain.

The course will also pass through Grant Park and go along the northern edge of Soldier Field, where the Cup Series raced in 1956.

Photo courtesy of NASCAR Media

“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,” Kennedy said. “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 prospect of a Chicago street course first surfaced in 2021 when the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series hosted a virtual race on a mock street course in partnership with the City of Chicago.

“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.”

The Chicago street course will replace Road America as the host of the July 4 race weekend. Road America hosted it in 2021 and 2022 – and Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted it in 2020 – after Daytona International Speedway hosted races on July 4 or July 4 weekend from 1959-2019.

An announcement will be made at a later date on what IMSA series will join the Cup drivers in Chicago but the weekend will also feature music and entertainment options for all ages throughout the weekend.

Tickets for the July 1-2, 2023 weekend will go on sale later this year at Updates can be received by following @NASCARChicago on social media.

NASCAR lasted raced in the Chicago metropolitan area in 2019 when Chicagoland Speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series. Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, Brett Moffitt and Ty Majeski won the respective races that weekend.

In 2018, Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch squared off in a close finish at Chicagoland the resulted in Busch winning after Larson slid due to a bump from Busch.

Illinois hosted the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series in June at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.

“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.”

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