Another big change to the Cup Series schedule is set to turn some heads. According to a report in Sports Business Journal, NASCAR is close to announcing a road race for the upcoming season.
SBJ’s Adam Stern provided the major update on June 17th. He reported that the sanctions agency is getting closer to announcing the long-rumored street race that would take place in Chicago. He added that racing would start in the 2023 season, assuming they could close the deal. Stern clarified that nothing is official yet.
This is SBJ’s latest update on 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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When NASCAR adds a road race to the schedule, a date must be removed from another track. There are a few possible options, but a more recent addition could be the odd track when the sanctioning body releases the 2023 timeline.
Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Road America President and GM Mike Kertscher revealed that nothing is 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 like we’ve always said, it has to make economic sense. We have an agreement later this year. We’ve had some initial talks, but nothing concrete at this point. At this point, like last year, we are focused on delivering a premium experience in a premium venue.”
Road America has been a staple of the Xfinity Series schedule since the 2010 season when Carl Edwards won the inaugural race. The cup series has contested the street circuit only twice. The first race was in 1956 and featured Tim Flock as the winner. The second came during the 2021 season when Chase Elliott added another win on the road course to his career resume.
The Cup Series returned to Illinois on June 5 with the first race at World Wide Technology Raceway. With that, NASCAR’s top series returned 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 to 2019. There were 13 different drivers to reach victory lane at the track, starting with Kevin Harvick’s back-to-back wins. The list of multiple 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 conquered the 2019 race with his first Cup Series win of his career, but it was the final Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. When NASCAR announced that the Cup Series would not be returning to the 1.5-mile run, discussions immediately arose as to whether the drivers would ever compete in the Chicago area. Those conversations have continued in the years since, but now there may be an answer.
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