Here’s how the map of Chicago NASCAR track looks like

NASCAR Chicago Street race (image from NASCAR.com)
NASCAR Chicago Street race (image from NASCAR.com)

NASCAR heads to Chicago for its first-ever street course race in the first week of July. The sports' biggest stars will hustle next-gen stock cars on the streets of the Windy City driving past some of its iconic landmarks.

The 2.2-mile circuit will host The Loop 121 NASCAR Xfinity Series on July 1, followed by the much anticipated Grant Park 220 Cup Series race on July 2. The Xfinity race covers 121 miles over 55 laps, while the Cup race will see the drivers battle over 100 laps covering 220 miles.

Chicago Street track (courtesy nascarchicago.com)
Chicago Street track (courtesy nascarchicago.com)

The street course features 12 turns, with the front straightway and the pit road on South Columbus Drive, stretching over two blocks. Drivers will blast past the iconic Buckingham Fountain heading into Turn 1.

Turn 1 is a sharp left, exiting into East Balbo Drive, and heading toward Lake Michigan. The 90-degree Turn 2 will take the drivers to Lake Shore Drive heading straight on toward Museum Campus. Turn 3 and 4 are slow right-hand curves leading to East Roosevelt Road.

Turn 5 puts the drivers back onto South Columbus Dr., as they accelerate towards the 90-degree left Turn 6 leading them to East Balbo Dr. Drivers have to tackle another 90-degree right-hand turn (7), leading them to the most interesting part of the layout.

Turns 8, 9, and 10 are a part of the chicane that curves along the Congress Plaza to the right, on Ida B. Wells Drive. On exiting this chicane drivers will briefly be back on Michigan Avenue, to take another right-hand turn (11) which leads them to East Jackson Drive, driving past the famous lions of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Turn 12 represents the final right-hand turn as it puts the drivers back on the front straightaway as they complete a lap around the streets of Grant Park, Chicago.


NASCAR drivers react to the Chicago Track Layout

NASCAR Chicago Street Race Press Conference
NASCAR Chicago Street Race Press Conference

NASCAR drivers will find themselves in new territory, as take on the streets of Chicago. Road course Specialists will have an advantage but the experience will be new for them too. The street track is unlike the road courses which has plenty of runoff and extra space.

Road course king AJ Allmendinger, feels that passing opportunities will be limited on the street track. He then added about the track:

"Looking at the race track, it’s very technical. But I like the way – at least driving around in a car … there’s a lot of sections that are super wide."

Former Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. predicts the track to be one of the toughest challenges for NASCAR drivers. He recently opined:

"We want to put drivers through some of the toughest challenges we can and I think this track will do that. There’ll be some guys that really like it. There will be some guys that find it really challenging and miserable."

With similar comments from other drivers, the Chicago Street race is building up to a thrilling event.

Edited by Yash Singh