TTAC Rewind: NASCAR Comes to Chicago
I remember reporting on the news that NASCAR was coming to Chicago. It was less than a year ago when the news broke. It started as a rumor that I saw bouncing around somewhere, probably on the Tweet machine, and by the time I finished writing the post it was confirmed.
Now I am here, at the event's media center, typing up this post while waiting for the rain to stop so the racing can start.
Yesterday's Xfinity race was stopped for lightning and should be resumed today -- and hopefully, the main event, the Cup Series race, will be able to go forward. The rain is supposed to clear in the afternoon.
Anyway, I wanted to rewind back to last summer's news post and see how what I speculated compares to the reality of what I've experienced so far this weekend.
Let's take this paragraph:
"That said, I am sure NASCARs bouncing and sliding around the Loop will be a sight to behold, though I also know how badly shutting down downtown streets will screw up traffic. Us locals already deal with the music festival Lollapalooza every year — and the street closures needed for a stock-car race will involve a bigger chunk of land."
I was right about that, for the most part. It was awesome watching the Xfinity cars blast around the city, and the area of Grant Park being used does seem to be a bit larger than what Lolla needs, and we locals are used to events shutting down this part of the city. It's not just Lolla -- the marathon starts and ends in this part of town every year. And the Taste of Chicago, and...
I was maybe wrong about traffic -- it's not been as bad as I expected, at least from what I've seen. But I also haven't driven to the event -- I've used the El and Uber.
The Chicago Sun-Times got the course right in its initial reporting, too.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the race course will be 2.2 miles long and be north of Roosevelt Road, making use of Columbus Drive, Michigan Avenue, and DuSable Lake Shore Drive. It might go as far north as Jackson Boulevard, which is part of the old Route 66.
This, however, didn't happen, and it remains a bummer even if it makes sense from a logistical perspective.
It’s also criminal if they don’t recreate The Blues Brothers (or The Dark Knight, for you younger folk) and use part of Lower Wacker Drive.
My conclusion has been proven correct to this point:
Non-race fans will complain, NASCAR fans will descend upon downtown, the Sears (now Willis) Tower will look great on TV, and the racecar engines will sound great bouncing around the urban canyons, to the dismay of local residents hoping for an afternoon nap.
Also, as a bonus bit of NASCAR, let's rewind just a few weeks ago to what happened at LeMans.
Rain, rain go away, we want to see NASCAR race in Chicago today.
[Image © 2023 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]
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