CHICAGO (WLS) — The NASCAR road race coming to Chicago on July 1 and 2 is the first of its kind for motorsport.
The Cup Series Race, named “Grant Park 220,” and the Xfinity Series Race, called “The Loop 121,” will pass many of downtown Chicago's most famous landmarks, July 1 through 2.
“Grant Park 220” will be a 220 mile race with 100 laps.
“The Loop 121” will cover 121 miles on 55 laps.
The course will take drivers to major city streets such as Columbus Drive, Michigan Avenue, and Lake Shore Drive, taking them along Lake Michigan and around the city's iconic Grant Park.
The start and finish lines, and pit road, will be located along South Columbus Drive, directly in front of the Buckingham Fountain. In the run-up to the event, much of the area around Grant Park was inaccessible to vehicles.
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There will also be a full concert by The Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert.
Race officials expect 50,000 entrants daily, paying up to $3,000 for some tickets, which will boost the city's economy.
“If they're willing to pay that for the ticket price, they're also willing to pay more for the hotel room and they're also willing to eat at some of our best restaurants. So keep making money,” said Lisa Young, director of the School of Hospitality Leadership at DePaul University.
After the races, the roads will start to reopen on Monday morning.
Road closures, parking restrictions for downtown NASCAR races
As Chicago hosted the first Cup Series Street Race in NASCAR's 75-year history, one had to pay attention to the impact traffic had.
Pre-race activity begins Friday, June 2, with no parking along Columbus Drive between Jackson and Balbo drives. On Saturday, June 10, Ida B. Wells Drive was closed on east Michigan Avenue, beginning at 12:01 p.m. to allow for construction of a prime viewing area. The temporary road closure from Saturday, June 17 through Sunday, June 25, will allow the erection of a track wall, except for Balbo Drive, which will close at 6 a.m. on Monday, June 19, from Michigan Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
The most significant closing is about to begin Sunday, June 25 at 12:01 p.m. with the closing of Columbus Drive between Jackson Drive and Roosevelt Road.
On Wednesday, June 28, at 10 p.m., DuSable Lake Shore Drive south from Randolph Street to McFetridge Drive will close. On Thursday, June 29, starting at 8 p.m., Roosevelt Road east of Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue north will be closed.
On Friday, June 30at 5 p.m. Michigan Avenue south between Balbo and Jackson drives will be closed.
During the race weekend, DuSable Lake Shore Drive north will close on Saturday, July 1, at 4 a.m. between McFetridge Drive and Randolph Street as an added safety precaution. Northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will begin reopening on Sunday, July 2.
The streets will begin reopening at 7am on Monday, July 3, after the event ends. All road closures are expected to remain in place while the demobilization of track walls, railings and viewing structures takes place. Priority roads for reopening are DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. Other road closures will remain in place while demobilization of the track walls, railings and viewing structures takes place. The activity is expected to finish on Saturday, July 15.
The Chicago Park District will prioritize public access during the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, keeping more than half of the park open during the event, including set-up and demolition, officials said in a news release Monday.
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Access to popular park features such as Buckingham Fountain, Butler Field and Lower Hutchinson Field will remain accessible to the public with minimum restrictions equivalent to less than one-fifth of the event's day of operation, officials said.
Additionally, free festival activities related to the Chicago Street Race will be held at Butler Field, inviting the public to learn more about NASCAR without having to pay for admission.
Maggie Daley Park, Cancer Survivor's Garden and Museum Campus will remain open and accessible during the event and welcome visitors during regular operating hours.
Updates to these plans could be made before the start of the event, officials said.
Complete list of closures:
– Sunday, June 25 – Starting at 12:01 p.m.: Jackson close between Michigan and Columbus and Columbus close between Jackson and Roosevelt
– Monday, June 26 – From 6:00 a.m.: Closure of Congress Plaza Drive and lane closures on the eastbound Roosevelt Road between Columbus and DuSable Lake Shore Drive
– Tuesday, June 27 – From 6:00 a.m.: Sidewalk closures on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt for installation of lane barriers.
– Wednesday, June 28 – From 10 p.m.: Close the southbound curb on DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo and Roosevelt for the installation of roadblocks.
– Thursday, June 29 – Starting at 8 p.m.: Northern Michigan traffic closures between Balbo and Jackson and southern Michigan traffic closures between Balbo and Jackson
– Thursday, June 29 – Starting at 10:00 pm: Southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive closures between Monroe Drive and McFetridge and Roosevelt closures between Columbus and DuSable Lake Shore Drive
– Friday, June 30 – Starting at 5:00 p.m.: Southern Michigan closes between Balbo and Jackson
For more information, visit nascarchicago.com.