Another big schedule change for the Cup Series is about to turn some heads. NASCAR is close to announcing a street race for the upcoming season, per a report by the Sports Business Journal.
SBJ’s Adam Stern provided the major update on June 17. He reported that the sanctioning body is getting closer to announcing the long-rumored street race that would take place in Chicago. He added that the race would start during the 2023 season, provided they are able to complete the deal. Stern clarified that nothing is official just yet.
This is the latest update provided by SBJ about the potential return to the Chicago area, albeit in a drastically different way. The outlet also reported back in February that NASCAR was involved in talks with “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago Sports Commission, and others” about potentially bringing a street race to the city.
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1 Other Newer Addition Could Leave the Cup Series Schedule
If NASCAR does add a street race to the schedule, it will have to remove a date from a different track. There are some potential options, but a newer addition could be the odd track out when the sanctioning body releases the 2023 schedule.
Mike Kertscher, president and GM of Road America, spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and revealed that there was nothing set in stone for the 2023 season. The Cup Series will return to the Wisconsin track on July 3, 2022, but NASCAR and Road America have not reached an agreement for future seasons.
“Yeah, I mean, we’d like to think it’s a match made in heaven,” Kertscher told the outlet. “But as we’ve always said it’s got to make business sense. We have an agreement through this year. We’ve had some initial talks but nothing’s firmed up at this point. At this point, we’re concentrating just as we did last year on delivering a first-class experience at a first-class venue.”
Road America has been a staple on the Xfinity Series schedule since the 2010 season when Carl Edwards won the inaugural race. The Cup Series has only taken on the road course two times. The first race was in 1956 and featured Tim Flock as the winner. The second took place during the 2021 season as Chase Elliott added another road course win to his career resume.
Chicago Has Remained a Conversation Piece for Multiple Years
The Cup Series returned to Illinois on June 5 with the first race at World Wide Technology Raceway. This brought NASCAR’s top series back to the Prairie State for the first time since the 2019 season.
The Cup Series drivers previously competed at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet from 2001 until 2019. There were 13 different drivers that reached Victory Lane at the track, starting with Kevin Harvick’s two consecutive victories. The list of multi-race winners also included Tony Stewart (three wins), Brad Keselowski (two wins), Martin Truex Jr. (two wins), and Kyle Busch (two wins).
Alex Bowman was the last driver to reach Victory Lane. He captured the 2019 race in what was his first career Cup Series victory, but it was the final Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Once NASCAR announced that the Cup Series would not return to the 1.5-mile, there were immediate discussions about if the drivers would ever compete in the Chicago area. These conversations have continued in the years since, but now there may be an answer.
NASCAR Close To Announcing Unique New Race: Report