TTAC Rewind: NASCAR Comes to Chicago

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

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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3 of 24 comments
  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jul 03, 2023

    First, this was an awful event. It showed how bad most NASCAR drivers are as drivers - they didn't think - they didn't anticipate - they used brute force to get through corners and most failed. It took an outsider to show actual driving talent and skill and brains. And Dale Earnhardt JR is the worst announcer ever in sports - he is hysterical - screaming - shrieking - making everything into an over excited shreikfest. He needs to be fired.

    • IH_Fever IH_Fever on Jul 03, 2023

      Put guys used to going in circles on a road course, you get the expected result. Put a sedan driver in a F350 with a gooseneck attached and say "park here" and you'd get the same level of failure.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jul 03, 2023

    The race was...interesting. A lot of the Keystone Kops shenanigans would have been avoided had the circuit not been wet.

    I get NASCAR was trying to reach out to a different sort of race fan with this event, but don't think the series is well suited for this sort of racing circuit. NASCAR road course racing, though, is a lot of fun.

  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines.
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.