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NASCAR Cup Series to Race on the Streets of Chicago for the First Time

For the first time ever, the sights, sounds and speed of NASCAR are coming to the streets of downtown Chicago on July 1-2, 2023. One of the most iconic cities in the world, Chicago will add another chapter to its illustrious sports history when the NASCAR Cup Series debuts against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline in the Grant Park 220 on Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“Like the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, we seized an incredible opportunity to add an unprecedented element to our schedule and take center stage in the heart of another major metropolitan market,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. The NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen cars will race along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, marking a truly historic moment for our sport.”

Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and select surrounding thoroughfares will be transformed into a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course, with the start/finish line and pit road located along South Columbus Drive directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through the famed Grant Park, as well as approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, one of the most notable and recognizable sports venues in the country – and the site of the only other Cup Series race to take place in Downtown Chicago, in 1956.

“Welcoming yet another NASCAR event to Illinois just weeks after the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race is a testament to the strength of our tourism industry from Chicago to Metro East,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois, with its longstanding tradition of innovation, is a fitting host for NASCAR’s first-ever street race, and we are thrilled to welcome this new series to America’s most iconic drive.”

The Chicago Street Race will become the 177th different track the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on its 75 year history.

“I think it’s a good idea, I’ve just never done street racing before,” said current point standing leader Martin Truex Jr. “I’m optimistic that it’s going to be a good time and it’s going to go off well. I have no idea the logistics involved. I can’t even imagine what goes into it. It’s going to be interesting to see a street course with these cars, what the grip level might be in each corner. You just wonder what the difference is in each turn – that’s the competitor side of me thinking. On the race fan side, it seems like it’s going to be cool, so we will see how it goes. Hopefully, it’s a good turnout and it goes off well. I enjoy tracks that are unique and challenging and it’s always a good challenge to learn a new place.”

On-track action for the NASCAR Cup Series will get started with a practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET, both events will be televised on the USA Network.

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Grant Park 220

The Place: Chicago Street Race

The Date: Sunday, July 2

The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,565,807

TV: NBC, 5 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 220 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 45), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

More Than Racing: The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, The Black Crowes, Charley Crockett to Headline Chicago Street Race Concerts

Fans will have tons to do this weekend at the Chicago Street Race. NASCAR has announced that The Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert will headline full-length concerts with the support of The Black Crowes and Charley Crockett for the first-ever street race weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series, on July 1-2. The unprecedented 12-turn, 2.2-mile street race will take the Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series past and through many of Chicago’s most renowned downtown landmarks as part of a two-day festival during Fourth of July Weekend.

“The Chicago Street Race is truly a first-of-its-kind two-day sports and entertainment event in the 75-year history of NASCAR,” said Chicago Street Race President Julie Giese. “We are proud to welcome superstars The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, The Black Crowes, and Charley Crockett as we reimagine the NASCAR experience in the heart of downtown Chicago over Fourth of July weekend.”

On Saturday, July 1, the Chicago Street Race will feature Xfinity Series and Cup Series practice and qualifying followed by The Black Crowes concert. Following the Xfinity Series race, The Chainsmokers will take the stage for a full-length concert to close the first day. On Sunday, July 2, Charley Crockett will open with Miranda Lambert headlining a full-length concert in advance of the first-ever Cup Series street race – the Grant Park 220.

The Chainsmokers, Alexander “Alex” Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggert, are recognized as two of the best electronic dance musicians with a diverse portfolio of songs that has led them to become one of the hottest recording artists in the world. In 2016, the duo burst on the scene with three multi-Platinum certified hits including the GRAMMY nominated song “Closer.” The group has won multiple awards including the 2017 GRAMMY for Best Dance Recording (“Don’t Let Me Down”), two American Music Awards (2016, 2017) and 10 Billboard Music Awards. The Chainsmokers fourth studio album “So Far So Good” debuted last year at No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Album Chart. For more information on The Chainsmokers, visit thechainsmokers.com.

Lambert is one of country music’s most acclaimed performers and songwriters. Palomino, the eighth solo album from Vanner Records/RCA Nashville superstar Lambert, is the latest installment in a storied career that has spanned seven No. 1 solo albums, 10 No. 1 hit radio singles, more than 70 prestigious awards (including three GRAMMY Awards and a record-setting 37 ACM Awards) plus countless sales certifications, earning the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year praise from NPR as “the most riveting country star of her generation.” To learn more about Lambert, visit http://www.mirandalambert.com.

The Black Crowes, led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, released their debut album Shake Your Money Maker over 30 years ago. Fueled by singles “JealousAgain,” “Twice As Hard,” “She Talks to Angels,” and the breakthrough cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle,” the band immediately took the rock world by storm. The Black Crowes has released eight studio albums and four live albums, selling tens of millions of albums and selling out shows around the world. To learn more about The Black Crowes and their authentic gritty blues-rock sound, visit theblackcrowes.com.

Crockett crafts his singular “Gulf & Western” sound by synthesizing country, blues, soul, cajun, R&B and other pieces of American roots music. And when his voice comes out of your speakers, there is no confusing him for any other artist. Crockett released his latest album The Man From Waco last fall via Son of Davy/Thirty Tigers. Crockett wrote or co-wrote all 14 songs on the album, which finds Crockett refining his “Gulf & Western” sound that continues to captivate his ever-growing legion of fans. For more information on Crockett, visit charleycrockett.com.

Sunday’s Grant Park 220 to be NASCAR’s 100th race in the state of Illinois

NASCAR is no stranger to the state of Illinois, and this weekend the sanctioning-body will host its 100th NASCAR national series race in the prairie state welcoming the newly designed Chicago Street Race – the sixth different track NASCAR has competed on in Illinois.

The first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Illinois was a NASCAR Cup Series event at Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois. The event was held on July 10, 1954 and it was won by Dick Rathman driving a Hudson for car owner John Ditz. Finishing runner-up in the race was NASCAR Hall of Famer Hershel McGriff also driving a Hudson.

In total, NASCAR has previous competed on five tracks in Illinois with Chicagoland Speedway (2001-2019) hosted the most (54 races) of the five facilities.

NASCAR Tracks in IllinoisCityCupXfinityTruckCombinedFirst Year
Chicagoland SpeedwayJoliet192411542001
World Wide Technology RacewayMadison21523401997
Chicago Motor SpeedwayCicero00222000
Santa Fe SpeedwayWillow Springs10011954
Soldier FieldChicago10011956
Totals23393698

This weekend will also not be the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has competed in Downtown Chicago. In 1956, the series competed at Soldier Field and the race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts in a Pete DePaolo Ford. Most recently the NASCAR Cup Series competed at World Wide Technology Raceway on

Race To The Playoffs: Chastain the latest to lock into the postseason with a win

Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain has become the 11th different driver to win this season and lock himself into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after taking the checkered flag in a dominate performance at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend. With 11 spots in the Playoffs already taken and only nine races left until the postseason, time and space is running out for competitors to earn their spot.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook – Drivers Without Wins This Season
RankDrivers Without WinsStartsPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
12Kevin Harvick17515011164
13Brad Keselowski1745001199
14Chris Buescher1744901198
15Bubba Wallace1738100030
16Daniel Suarez173530002
17Alex Bowman*1435100-5-2
18Ty Gibbs #17343000-10
19AJ Allmendinger17329000-24
20Michael McDowell17326000-27
21Corey LaJoie17308000-45
22Austin Cindric17302011-51
23Justin Haley17298000-55
24Ryan Preece17290011-63
25Chase Elliott*10289011-64
26Todd Gilliland17281000-72
27Aric Almirola17272011-81
28Austin Dillon1724700-5-106
29Harrison Burton17235000-118
30Erik Jones1722000-5-133
31Chase Briscoe1718900-25-164
32Noah Gragson #*16154000-199
33Ty Dillon17151000-202

Holding the most comfortable spots on the Playoff outlook of the drivers without wins, is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, who is 164 points ahead of the Playoff cutline. RFK Racing teammates Brad Keselowski (+99 points) and Chris Buescher (+98 points) are also in good standing heading into this weekend. But 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (+30 points) in 15th and Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez (+2 points) in 16th will have their work cut out for them if they want to hold on to their positions.

Currently there are five drivers that made the Playoffs last season that are below the postseason cutline heading into this weekend – Alex Bowman (-2 points), Austin Cindric (-51), Chase Elliott (-64), Austin Dillon (-106), and Chase Briscoe (-164).

Road Course Aces: NASCAR’s best in road racing

Though this weekend’s race is technically on a ‘street course’ and not a ‘road course’ a similar approach to being successful this Sunday will apply. NASCAR’s active road course wins leader, Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott, heads into this weekend looking for his first win of the season and is already considered one of the early favorites for this weekend, but the most recent winner on a road course in the series and current points leader Martin Truex Jr. will most certainly be in the mix as well.

Active Road Course Winners (13)Total WinsSonomaWGICharlotteDaytonaIndyCOTARoad America
Chase Elliott70221011
Martin Truex Jr54100000
Kyle Busch42200000
Kyle Larson41210000
Tyler Reddick30000111
Kevin Harvick21100000
AJ Allmendinger20100100
Christopher Bell20011000
Joey Logano10100000
Ryan Blaney10010000
Denny Hamlin10100000
Daniel Suárez11000000
Ross Chastain10000010

The NASCAR Cup Series has competed on two road courses this season so far, with 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick winning at Austin (COTA) and Truex winning at Sonoma.

NASCAR Cup Series Etc.

Button, van Gisbergen among the new faces in the garage attempting the Chicago Street Race – NASCAR is bringing the international flare to the Chicago Street Race with the Grant Park 220 on Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as drivers from around the world will compete in the inaugural event in Downtown Chicago.

Not only will Trackhouse Racing have NASCAR Cup Series regular Daniel Suarez from Monterrey, Mexico piloting the No. 99 Chevrolet this weekend, but also the organization will field a third car the Project 91 entry and will have New Zealand native and three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen behind the wheel. This will be van Ginsberg’s first attempt at a NASCAR event.

“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” van Gisbergen said. “I can’t wait to get to the states to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It’s NASCAR’s first time on the streets of Chicago, so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don’t underestimate that it’s going to be a huge challenge.”

Trackhouse Racing debuted the No. 91 car with former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen. He finished 37th after he was collected in an incident. Raikkonen returned to run for the team at Circuit of the Americas this season, finishing 29th. Chicago will mark the third race for the Project 91 car.

Also returning to the NASCAR Cup Series after making his series debut at Austin earlier this season is former Formula One champion Jenson Button, who will pilot the No. 15 Ford for Rick Ware Racing. Button is a native of Frome, England. In his Cup Series debut at COTA, Button started 24th and finished 18th.

NASCAR Partners with After School Matters to Create 200-Foot Mural Painted by Local Teens for Inaugural Chicago Street Race Weekend – NASCAR announced a new partnership with After School Matters, working with local teens to create an official Chicago Street Race mural to be featured on race weekend in Grant Park. At an event with Wood Brothers Racing’s Harrison Burton, the young artists showcased their work and had an opportunity to paint with the NASCAR Cup Series star at After School Matters at Gately Park in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood.

The artwork for the 200-foot, 50-panel NASCAR-themed mural began in February and will be showcased in Butler Field – which will be free and open to the public – during race weekend, July 1-2.

“It’s so wonderful to watch these amazing young artists bring the spirit of NASCAR to life for all of Chicago to see,” said Burton. “They are perfectly capturing the excitement of this sport in this incredible work of art, and I’m just honored to be here on behalf of NASCAR to support public arts in Chicago.”

“We want to ensure that our presence in Chicago will deliver benefits to residents, youth, and the local community,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “With an office of more than a dozen full-time employees here in Chicago, we are a true part of the Chicago community year-round, and we are honored to partner with organizations like After School Matters and these amazing young artists who are welcoming us to this city through their art.”

After School Matters is a non-profit organization that provides life-changing afterschool and summer program opportunities to nearly 19,000 Chicago high school teens each year. The joint event with NASCAR was held at the After School Matters facility in Gately Park, which opened in 2021 on the city’s far south side. The teen-centric facility is a wing of the Gately Park field house operated by the Chicago Park District and serves up to 1,500 young people each year from the Pullman and Roseland communities.

“We are proud to partner with NASCAR to provide our teens the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for our city and this race through their artwork. We look forward to seeing this amazing mural on display at Butler Field on race weekend,” said Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters’ Executive Director.

This partnership is the latest example of NASCAR’s continued and long-lasting commitment to the Chicago community. To date, NASCAR has already announced long-term partnerships with the Boys &Girls Clubs of America, Chicago Public Schools, the Art Institute of Chicago, All Kids Bike, and the Field Museum. For more information on After School Matters, visit afterschoolmatters.org.

NASCAR Selects Leading Chicago Artists to Design Chicago Street Race Weekend Trophies – NASCAR announced that it will feature two fixtures of the Chicago arts community – Thomas Lucas and Nicole Beck – as official trophy designers for the inaugural NASCAR Chicago Street Race this summer. Based in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood of Chicago, Beck will design the trophy for The Loop 121 NASCAR Xfinity Series race held on Saturday, July 1, while Lucas will design the prize for the NASCAR Cup Series race on July 2 – the Grant Park 220 – from his studio in Ravenswood.

“This isn’t just a race in Chicago – but it’s a race about Chicago, so it’s important for us to celebrate the incredible art and culture of the city that we’re a part of,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “We are honored to partner with two pillars of the Chicago public arts community like Thomas and Nicole to be a part of this historic event, and we are thrilled that these trophies will invoke both the spirit of this race and the city of Chicago.”

Both artists are alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and are recognized as two of the most prominent names in the Chicago arts community. Lucas, who will design the Cup Series Grant Park 220 trophy, is a protégé of sculpture icon Richard Hunt, one of – if not the – foremost African American abstract sculptors of all time. But for Lucas, a tenured professor at Chicago State University who has designed acclaimed public installations for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), designing this trophy is a personal labor of love.

“I’m a total motorhead. My father was a municipal mechanic, so I grew up with the smell of transmission fluid and the sounds of V8s,” said Lucas. “My artwork has always had a little bit of motorhead culture. It’s about how things connect and operate together, so this is an opportunity to play with things I’m very familiar with as a subject matter for my art.”

For Beck, whose brother competed in motorsports, this is an opportunity to weave the story of Chicago together in with her family’s passion for racing.

“I wanted to embody something unique to Chicago, which is no easy task with a city that’s so multifaceted,” said Beck. “But through the spiral, aero-dynamic design based on the Buckingham Fountain spray, the light blue coloring from the Chicago flag, and the iconic imagery of the Chicago star, we’ve had an opportunity to riff on Chicago history for this trophy, and I’m very proud of the design we came up with.”

Beck’s art can be found at numerous public installations throughout Chicago’s Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and West Town neighborhoods, as well as commissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and in downtown Elmhurst.

In keeping with the local connection, both trophies will be fabricated in the city by Chicago-based artisans. Lucas’s Cup Series trophy will be designed and cast in Chicago’s Ravenswood and North Lawndale neighborhoods, while Beck’s Xfinity Series trophy will be partly fabricated at Vector Custom Fabricating on Fulton Street and partially in her own metal shop.

NASCAR Announces Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota Named Official Pace Cars for Chicago Street Race – NASCAR announced a multi-year partnership on the official pace cars for the Chicago Street Race Weekend with the sport’s partner OEMs Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. As part of the partnership, each OEM will have an opportunity to lead the field to green in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series The Loop 121 and the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220.

“As the industry unites to support an unprecedented NASCAR event weekend, we are proud to welcome Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota as our official pace cars for the Chicago Street Race,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Course President. “We look forward to showcasing the cars that will compete in the race through the streets of downtown Chicago prior to leading the field to green over race weekend.”

The order for the official pace car will be determined by the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying results with the pole winning OEM leading the field to green to start each race. Future restarts will rotate with each OEM leading the race field. In subsequent years of the Chicago Street Race, the second OEM will lead first in 2024 and third OEM will lead first in 2025.

Leading up to the Chicago Street Race, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Toyota Camry promotional cars will be in-market to support the inaugural event. The promotional cars will make appearances at many regional events across the greater Chicagoland region to showcase the Chicago Street Race Weekend. The official pace cars for the weekend will include a 2023 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, a 2024 Ford Mustang GT and a 2023 Toyota Camry TRD.

Uniting Voices Chicago to Sing National Anthem for Inaugural Grant Park 220 NASCAR Cup Series Chicago Street Race – The NASCAR Chicago Street Race announced that it will feature Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children’s Choir) singing the national anthem for Sunday’s Grant Park 220 at the inaugural Chicago Street Race. Uniting Voices Chicago will include more than 30 local performers as part of the national anthem prior to the start of the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race, which will be nationally broadcast on NBC on Sunday, July 2 at 4:30 p.m. CT.

“Since day one, this race has been about giving a platform to the great city of Chicago on a global scale,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “Welcoming Uniting Voices Chicago represents an opportunity to showcase these talented young singers on an international stage, so we look forward to their performance of the National Anthem prior to the Grant Park 220.”

Founded in 1956 and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, Uniting Voices Chicago is rooted in the belief that music is the most powerful vehicle for fostering mutual understanding and respect between young people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations.

“Uniting Voices Chicago helps our singers become cultural diplomats and world citizens in our global society, and this partnership with NASCAR will give our talented singers an opportunity to do that on a truly international scale,” said Josephine Lee, Uniting Voices President and Artistic Director. “We are proud to partner with a group like NASCAR who is so committed to this city and its young people.”

Since its founding, Uniting Voices has grown from a single choir into an internationally renowned network of in-school and after-school programs that serves thousands of students from every zip code of the city of Chicago each year. Uniting Voices Chicago offers a performance-based learning experience that includes innovative creative partnerships and artistic endeavors—from regular appearances at Lyric Opera and Ravinia Festival to features on high caliber recording projects such as Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and The Big Day.

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