Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mike Joy & Larry McReynolds compete in the Chicago Street Race

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Two veteran networks just opened up about the biggest story in NASCAR. Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds have praised the major schedule change that will add the Chicago road race to the 2023 Cup Series schedule.

The two networks spoke after a special promotional event in the Windy City. They explained that this move continues to show that NASCAR is not afraid to make drastic changes to build the sport and potentially reach a new group of fans. Joy also revealed that he has a personal connection to the new track location.

“I’m so proud of the leadership in our sport right now, from the executives at NASCAR to management at FOX and NBC, who have their finger on the pulse of the sport and know what fans want to see,” McReynolds said in one statement provided by FOX Sports. “They’ve stepped out of the box and done so many fresh, exciting things over the last couple of years that seem to be really increasing the popularity of NASCAR.

“Change can be scary. Not much changed there for a while, other than moving a few race dates; rinse and repeat. But we’ve seen an overhaul of the schedule and venues in recent years that has breathed new life into the sport and I couldn’t be happier with it.”

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“I was born in Chicago and I’m really excited about the prospect of driving IMSA and NASCAR Cup cars through Grant Park this July 4th weekend,” added Joy. “I hope NASCAR’s Wisconsin fans will support the Chicago race, and I hope that one day cup cars can return to Elkhart Lake.”

Following the announcement of the Chicago street race, Backseat Drivers offered a virtual view of the track. A next generation car completed the 2.2 miles in iRacing while Kyle Petty and Steve Letarte did a play-by-play.

Both mentioned during the lap that there are several spots where cars could back up, starting with Turn 1. Letarte noted that there isn’t much room to run out in Turn 1, which could force teams to go in single file to drive. You will then tackle the blind corner in Turn 2, which creates even more difficulty.

The potential trouble spots continue into Turn 6, which is a heavy braking zone after a long straight. Turn 11 will be another blind corner, resulting in a drop in elevation as drivers head up and over a bridge.

“A street race in Chicago falls right into the wheelhouse of the next-generation car,” added McReynolds. “Everything about this car is perfect for street racing – whether it’s a street course or a street circuit. It’s still about turning left and right like on a street course. It’s still about driving well out of the corner like on a street course, and it’s still about braking hard into the corners.

“As a result, there will be a lot of similarities between the setups. Of course it is up to the condition of the roads whether one section has more or less grip than another. I think we’re going to see NASCAR and the drivers leaning on the guys at iRacing because you can’t test on the street circuit before the event. You have to wait for the class to set up, go out and do it. But Steve Myers and his group at iRacing will help everyone get one step ahead before we even roll into Chicago.”

McReynolds was emphatic about the trip to the Chicago street circuit and how the cars will cope on the city’s streets. He believes the next-gen cars are made for this type of racing, but no one knows exactly how they’ll handle it until the tires are on the makeshift track.

The Cup Series drivers tested the virtual version of Chicago in the 2021 season. Before heading to Sonoma Raceway, they competed in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and put the new cars through their paces.

Several riders found success, like James Davison and Josh Bilicki, while others struggled. In particular, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin both spun on their own while trying to navigate the tight corners.

“It’s the same roads that you drive every day, so you can experience that,” Bubba Wallace told the assembled media in Chicago. “We’re just going to fully respect the speed limit and go as fast as we can, right. Just record everything and see how the car will react. These cars are very different, but I feel that they are suitable for street racing. However, road racing is completely different from road racing, so we will find out everything together.”

CONTINUE READING: Rajah Caruth gains new partner for Pocono Race

The Cup Series drivers tested the virtual version of Chicago in the 2021 season. Before heading to Sonoma Raceway, they competed in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and put the new cars through their paces.

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