NASCAR Chicago

NASCAR Chicago Street Race to return for 2024 season, organizers say

NBC Universal, Inc.

NASCAR officially released its 2024 race schedule on Wednesday, and officials confirmed that the Chicago Street Race will once again take place in early July.

According to NASCAR, the Xfinity Series race will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, and the NASCAR Cup Series race will be contested at 3:30 p.m. Central on Sunday, July 7.

“From the very beginning, our objective was to drive global attention and tourism to Chicago, while introducing motorsports to an entirely new fan base, and by both measures, 2023 was a resounding success,” Chicago Street Race President Julie Giese said. “NASCAR is honored to be a part of the Chicago community 365 days a year, and we look forward to building upon the incredible foundation we established this year.”

According to officials, the race brought in more than $8.3 million in state and local tax revenues in 2023, with 52% of attendees visiting from out-of-state for the event.

The broadcast was NBC’s most-watched NASCAR race since 2017, and the most-streamed race in NBC’s history.

The event was hampered by heavy rains, which washed out the conclusion of the Xfinity Series race and caused the Cup Series race to be shortened due to darkness. Despite receiving nine inches of rain in a two-day span, the race was contested, with Shane Van Gisbergen winning his NASCAR debut on the streets of Chicago.

The race, which shut down large swaths of Grant Park and portions of several key roadways including Michigan Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive, was a unique spectacle, one that the racing circuit had never seen, but Mayor Brandon Johnson had pledged to reevaluate the event due to disruptions to traffic and other factors.

“At the conclusion of this year’s race, the Johnson Administration began conversations with NASCAR with the goal of addressing concerns raised by residents, alderpeople and other stakeholders, while acknowledging NASCAR’s contributions to the City’s economy and communities," Johnson said in a statement Wednesday.

The process behind agreeing to the three-year contract, orchestrated by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, was roundly blasted by activists, members of the Chicago City Council and some residents, who said the secretive dealings left the city with a bad contract that adversely impacted the community.

Under the agreed-upon deal, NASCAR agreed to pay the city a rate of $2 per ticket sold, as well as a percentage of net commissions on food and beverage sales. An annual permit fee of $500,000 was also agreed upon.

In exchange, the city gave NASCAR control over large portions of Grant Park for concert spaces, a fan fair and more.

The racecourse required the closure not just of DuSable Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, but also Columbus Drive, Jackson Boulevard and more.

Among the changes coming to this year's race, Johnson said, are shortened set up and tear down windows and reduced travel disruption for residents. Organizers are also evaluating changes to the financial burden for the city, which Johnson called a "win" for the city.

“Finally, NASCAR has committed to growing its impressive investments in Chicago communities and expanding opportunities for small-, minority- and women-owned businesses to participate as vendors in 2024," Johnson said. "The city looks forward to working with NASCAR and other stakeholders to deliver a successful Chicago Street Race weekend in 2024 that works for residents, fans and Chicago’s economy.”  

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