NASCAR: Major schedule announcement set for this afternoon

Todd Gilliland, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Todd Gilliland, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

A major announcement, presumably about the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, is set to be made this afternoon in Chicago, Illinois.

A few weeks ago, a tentative announcement regarding the expected addition of a NASCAR Cup Series race on the streets of Chicago was set for today, Tuesday, July 19, after the city endorsed a three-year deal for a new temporary street circuit, beginning in 2023.

Plans weren’t finalized at the time, but there is officially scheduled to be a major announcement in Chicago at NBC Tower this afternoon, presumably about this race on the new Chicago Street Course.

According to The Daily Line, an announcement featuring Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and “NASCAR leaders” is scheduled to take place at 2:30 p.m. CT (3:30 p.m. ET) this afternoon.

"“The mayor will host a discussion panel at 1 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, will join NASCAR leaders for an announcement at NBC Tower at 2:30 p.m. and will attend the Title IX Hero Awards Reception at the Chicago Cultural Center at 5:30 p.m.”"

Back in June 2021, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series ran a virtual race on a fictitious street circuit in “The Windy City”. Given the fact that there had long been speculation that NASCAR was looking to add a street circuit to the Cup Series schedule, this was seen as a sign of things to come.

Today should solidify that notion, with the new race slated to be confirmed in one of the 36 Cup Series schedule slots each year through 2025.

While many are supportive of NASCAR trying something new with what would be the first ever Cup Series street race, there are many more who will be quite disappointed with this decision, and for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, many fans believe that NASCAR is abandoning its core fanbase and pursuing a demographic that simply isn’t interested in the sport, thus reducing the opportunity for true — and sustained — growth. Right or wrong, this isn’t the first decision to garner such a reaction lately.

Secondly, Chicagoland Speedway still does not have a Cup Series race date. After hosting the Cup Series from 2001 to 2019, the Joliet oval lost its race date in 2020 due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

Even though those restrictions were the reason for its absence from the 2020 schedule, it did not return to the schedule for 2021 or 2022 either. Fans have been clamoring for a return, but that doesn’t look likely, especially with the addition of this street race.

And perhaps most disappointingly, Road America is the track most likely to lose its race date to make way for the Chicago Street Course.

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Road America returned to the Cup Series for the first time since 1956 last year, so to have one of the most iconic racing venues in America left off the calendar after just two seasons will leave a sour taste in the mouths of many.