Nascar Set to Race the Streets of Chicago Starting in 2023

Nascar races are a series of loops. Chicago has The Loop. Chicago also has a heated debate about traffic safety that probably doesn't have room for sponsored cars doing speeds upward of 100.

2 minute read

July 21, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Runner passing the Chicago Theater are blurred as they pass by the camera for a race on the streets of Downtown Chicago.

The Loop is a great place for a foot race. | Fernanda Paradizo / Shutterstock

“Nascar will be racing on the streets of the Windy City in 2023,” reports Maury Brown for Forbes.

The plan for Nascar to take to the streets in Chicago is the latest race by the nation’s most popular racing series that will move off of traditional race tracks. Previous races included “the exhibition Busch Light Clash inside the L.A. Coliseum that debuted this year,” and “the addition of dirt to the Bristol Motor Speedway short track in 2021,” explains Brown.

The race in Chicago, however, “will be the first-ever street-course Cup race for Nascar.”

The decision to host the race has been controversial both leading up to the announcement and in the ensuing days. “The news was met with excitement in some circles, but several members of the City Council that represent wards impacted by the race have said that they were not given the opportunity to weigh in on any of those plans,” according to a separate article by NBC Chicago. More on the backlash can be found in an article by Melody Mercado for Block Club Chicago.

The news about the speed racing comes just as the town is already embroiled in controversy about how to respond to speeding drivers and drag races on the streets of the city. The city's alderman this week responded to pressure over the city's traffic cameras, which have shown evidence of ticketing Black and Latino drivers at higher rates, by considering a new ordinance to allow drivers 9 mph over the speed limit. In another sign of the heated tension around traffic safety in the city, a controversial news story published by WBEZ, and picked up by Planetizen, was later publicly corrected by WBEZ after being dissected by Streetsblog Chicago. Efforts are also underway to redesign streets with safety and bus priority, not automobile speed, in mind, including a Better Buses Better Streets plan and an ordinance that would require complete streets upgrades whenever a street is repaved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 in Forbes

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