NASCAR Chicago

NASCAR Street Race Experience opens Friday at Chicago History Museum

NBC Universal, Inc.

With the second NASCAR Chicago Street Race just over one month away, fans can get a look into racing thanks to the NASCAR Street Race Experience, opening Friday at the Chicago History Museum.

The pop-up is offering Chicagoans a preview ahead of the July race weekend, with simulators, race cars and NASCAR memorabilia.

The exhibit has transformed the Old Town museum into a racer's showcase of Chicago's rich history, giving visitors a look at NASCAR's past and present.

While Chicago may not come to the minds of local residents when thinking of NASCAR, the city has a rich history with auto racing.

"The first automobile race in the U.S. was in Chicago in 1895, so there's a lot of tradition," local auto racing historian Stan Kalwasinski said.

According to Chicago historian Sherman "Dilla" Thomas, the race took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1895, starting in Jackson Park before racing to Evanston and back.

Thomas said only a few racers finished the course.

On Monday, NASCAR will also have its racing simulators here to give attendees the chance to feel what it is like to drive around the 12-turn street course, all while learning about how it all got here for the second year in a row.

The exhibit is free with admission to the museum and will remain up through race weekend, ending on July 7.

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