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Chicago NASCAR Race Will Take Over Most Of Grant Park For Two Weeks, Report Says

A report reveals next year's NASCAR race will include a two-week takeover of Grant Park, though Park District officials say they will make sure public access is "minimally impacted."

NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace rides on to various Chicago landmarks on July 19, 2022 after it was announced that Chicago will host a first-of-its-kind NASCAR street race next year.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s partnership to bring NASCAR to Chicago’s Downtown streets will overtake Grant Park for two weeks next year, a new report revealed.

While the street race is only scheduled for July 1-2, the permit for the event spans 14 days: June 22-July 5, according to Greg Hinz from Crain’s.

The permit covers activities surrounding the race throughout all of Grant Park, from Roosevelt Road and north to Randolph Street in addition to the streets where the race will occur, according to the report.

“The district will work with the organizers to ensure that public access during the event is minimally impacted,” Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons told Crain’s in a statement.

Millennium Park is not included in the plans because it’s not Park District property, according to the report.

Credit: Provided
The NASCAR Chicago course.

NASCAR will pay the Park District a “$500,000 permit fee, 15 percent of net commissions on concession and merchandise plus $2 per admission ticket sold,” according to the report.

Because the agreement generates revenue, it’s not required to go through the board approval process, the Park District told Crain’s. That process would have allowed residents to weigh in on the matter.

The partnership between NASCAR and the city will see races held over the next three years on a 2.2 mile, 12-turn course.

The course layout includes Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and surrounding streets, with the start/finish line and pit road along South Columbus Drive in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through Grant Park near the lakefront and approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, according to city officials.

Lightfoot has already faced backlash for the decision from Downtown alds. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Brian Hopkins (2nd) who said they were not looped into the plan until hours before the announcement.

“Since the press conference was scheduled mere hours after the briefing I couldn’t attend, I don’t think it would have been an actual briefing, but rather a short preview of the public announcement about plans that were made in secret with zero input from aldermen,” Hopkins said via Twitter.

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