Motorsport News

Will 2024 Be the Last of the Chicago Street Course?

Nascar Cup Series

Will this weekend be the last Chicago street course race we’ll see?

Luken Glover: There are a lot of moving parts to it. First, NASCAR and Chicago have a contract that runs through 2025, though the city can terminate that agreement. Second, the Taste of Chicago food festival will be in September for the second consecutive season, typically a Fourth of July tradition for the city. There were also several Chicago citizens who, after last season’s NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity series races, voiced that they do not want the race to return.

However, the race produced some key benefits as well. The race was NBC Sports’ most-watched NASCAR race in six years. It also created several economic benefits for the city, bringing in $109 million, an additional $23.6 million in media value, and 97% of hotel rooms booked. NASCAR does have leverage with the potential of returning Chicagoland Speedway to the schedule, though that is nearly an hour from the city itself. If it doesn’t return and NASCAR keeps a street course, an established city for street racing like Detroit or Las Vegas could be an option.

Andrew Stoddard: No, but it will be the next-to-last race in the heart of the Windy City. NASCAR and Chicago will honor their current agreement but not renew it after 2025. The more traditional NASCAR fans are not enamored with the Chicago street course, and citizens of Chicago are not overly fond of the arrangement due to road closures and other adjustments needed to run the race. The economic windfall from the race is undeniable, but it will likely fall once the novelty of the event wears off. Also, there is a perfectly good 1.5-mile track about an hour from downtown Chicago, and Next Gen cars have put on fantastic shows at intermediate tracks. Chicagoland will return to the Cup schedule in 2026.

Kevin Nix: No. NASCAR and Chicago will honor their three-year agreement, but next year’s running will be the last time NASCAR ever takes to Chicago’s streets. We will see a rotation of different street courses in the coming years, and NASCAR should race the old Detroit Belle Isle configuration that the NTT IndyCar Series ran for nearly a decade. That layout was very conducive to IndyCar entries and would put on a similarly entertaining show with stock cars.

Mike Neff: It is hard to say. The whole thing is completely up to politics, so we’ll see what the new leadership in the Windy City wants. Street courses and stock cars are not a good…

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