A NASCAR Cup Series Street Race Is Coming To Downtown Chicago In 2023

Bubba Wallace NASCAR
Quinn Harris/Getty Images


For the first time ever, NASCAR is officially coming to the streets of Chicago.

Slated for the first weekend in July next year (July 1-2, 2023), the Cup Series will take to the street of downtown Chicago for a street course race near the lakeshore, around Grant Park, and down Michigan Avenue.

Whiskey Riff was founded in  Chicago, and while most of the team now calls Denver, Colorado, home, I’m still living here in Chicago so naturally I’m jacked to see this come to life. Is it gonna be a tight race? Sure is, but I can’t wait.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy, chimed on the announcement:

“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,.

This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. The NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen cars and the IMSA machines will race along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, marking a truly historic moment for our sport.

We are very appreciative of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team, along with the entire city of Chicago for working with us to make this concept a reality.”

Hate to break it to you Ben, but if we’re lucky, Lori Lightfoot won’t even be the Mayor by the time this race comes around next year. She’s AWFUL…

Shitty Chicago politicians aside (vote her out), it should be an opportunity to showcase the sport to people who ordinarily don’t watch NASCAR. Which to be honest, I was one of a few years back… but during the pandemic when nothing else was on TV, I actually took the time to watch a race and now I’m hooked.

According to NASCAR the track will look a little something like this:

“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.”

Here’s the map:


However, this unfortunately means that NASCAR will not be returning to the popular Road America road course in Elkhart, Wisconsin, next year.

Bubba Wallace was on hand to help make the announcement:

And here’s an iRacing demo of the course:

Here’s the full announcement video:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock