Motorsport News

NASCAR Should Keep Singing ‘Sweet Home, Chicago’

2024 Cup Chicago street pack racing - Ty Gibbs, No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via NASCAR Media)

1. Stop Those Thoughts of Abandoning the Chicago Street Race

The second iteration of the Chicago Street Race was not unlike any other event on the NASCAR schedule in that during its course, various challenges arose that teams, drivers and officials had to confront.

Yes, things could have been done better, but that does not take away the fact that the best of NASCAR was showcased during a span of two days.

Yes, weather was a factor. Last time I checked, that’s something that cannot be controlled. Yes, it even rained at times when NASCAR raced in July at Daytona International Speedway.

If the track had multiple water seepages or safety issues, it’d be one thing. But this weekend showed not only that the sport needs a street circuit, but that it’s hard to currently think of a better setting for this type of event than downtown Chicago.

Is it different? Yes. But NASCAR has a schedule filled with different types of tracks.

Thanks to last year’s weather, you have to call the 2023 event a mulligan. This year provided the first chance for this race to showcase itself, and based on what we saw over the weekend, there’s no reason for NASCAR not to return as long as the city of Chicago will have it.

2. Cool-Down Lap Contact: Foul or Par for the Street Course?

Two run-ins garnered attention after the checkered flag on Sunday (July 7) in Chicago.

One involved race winner Alex Bowman and Bubba Wallace, due in part to the NBC broadcast showing a replay, and the other reason being a result of the tiniest pin-prick involving Wallace being reacted to like an Oppenheimer explosion by a segment of the NASCAR social media landscape.

The other saw pleasantries being exchanged by Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott.

NASCAR is a tough place here. How do you penalize one cool-down incident and not the other?

Both Elliott and Wallace have previously been suspended for contact with other drivers. Still, the difference in those cases was that it was for incidents at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, two tracks that carry a higher rate of speed.

On the Chicago street course, its lower speeds and close quarters are part of its appeal, and when you have those factors, odds of exchanging displeasure the way you saw on Sunday will happen. That’s why NASCAR would do well to look the other way in this case.

3. Is the NASCAR Xfinity Series…

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