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NASCAR replaces Road America with Chicago Street Race in 2023

Bubba Wallace Jr. gets into his car before driving around downtown Chicago in promotion of the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race announcement in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace Jr. gets into his car before driving around downtown Chicago in promotion of the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race announcement in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The highest echelon in stock car racing, the NASCAR Cup Series, is at a turning point in its existence to date. While the sport has managed to stay relevant in the modern day and age to some extent, it has often been criticized for not taking risks and exploring newer avenues. This notion, however, is all set to change as the sport gears up to visit its first street course race in Chicago next year.

The major announcement came courtesy of the governing body in a press conference on July 19, 2022, highlighting the Cup Series' visit to Chicago, Illinois next year. The addition to the calendar came after Road America, a track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, was dropped from the calendar.

Fast Thoughts: Chicago street race could be great event. https://t.co/FJnpjeiDBV

While the announcement meant new horizons opening up for stock car racing in the form of newer fans and a larger spectacle for fans to behold, many were not happy with Road America's exclusion from the 2023 season. Numerous fans and drivers voiced their opinions on how the 4-mile-long road course is symbolized as one of the premier motorsport venues in the country and should remain on the calendar.

It is disappointing that Road America will be the race replaced by the Chicago street course.

Meanwhile, Chicago City mayor Lori Lightfoot shared a positive outlook for the first street course race in NASCAR's 74-year-old history and said:

“The opportunity to bring something so unique as NASCAR to the city of Chicago, and I think it’s going to be one of the most iconic racecourses maybe ever [It will] introduce a whole new fan base to what NASCAR is about in the city of Chicago. We couldn’t pass up that opportunity.”

Officials also touched upon improvements in the infrastructure around downtown Chicago, where the track will be set up.


Bubba Wallace Jr.'s thoughts on the NASCAR Street Race in Chicago next year

23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace Jr. was the driver chosen to promote the announcement of the 2023 Chicago Street Race, which will see Cup cars race on a street course for the first time in the sport's history. Wallace Jr. was a perfect fit for the press conference and promotional runs in downtown Chicago as he is one of the most well-known drivers in NASCAR, along with his team's co-owner Michael Jordan's influence in the city.

The 28-year-old driver made his thoughts clear on what he thought of the newest addition to the 2023 season calendar and said:

“It’s the same streets you guys drive on everyday so you guys will get to experience that, just will be unrestricted on the speed limit. Just taking all that in, seeing how the car’s gonna react, these cars are way different but I feel they’re more suitable for road course racing.”

Watch the complete interview below:

Bubba Wallace on racing on the streets of Chicago: “We’ll figure it all out together.” https://t.co/yRcnk0lq9K

Regardless of whether NASCAR should stick to its roots or try new things and where one might fall in that debate, the new adventure is surely bound to create more interest in the sport, ultimately benefitting them with a larger and more diverse fan base.

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Edited by Anurag C
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