NASCAR: More street course races could be on the way

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

NASCAR is set to run its first street course race next year. If all goes according to plan, it might not be the only one moving forward.

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is slated to begin a new era of racing when the sport runs its first street course race on the streets of Chicago, Illinois. Officially announced this past summer, the Chicago Street Course had been an idea floated around since the sport conducted an iRacing race on a similar layout.

The announcement was not taken well by many fans when it was also announced that this race would replace a fan-favorite event at Road America, despite the fact that Road America had just had a sellout. Instead of a traditional road course, NASCAR decided to take to the streets.

NASCAR has recently shown no hesitation to race in different markets, most notably with a successful return to the Los Angeles area for the 2022 Busch Light Clash.

Additionally, the Xfinity Series competed at Portland International Raceway, marking the first time that NASCAR had tackled the Pacific Northwest in over two decades. While traditional tracks such as North Wilkesboro Speedway are also returning to the schedule, the sport is looking to expand its audience as well.

If the street course race is successful, NASCAR could look to add an another.

According to Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern, New York City is a preferred destination for NASCAR if the Chicago Steet Course works out.

Watkins Glen International has been the go-to New York track for NASCAR, but it is located in upstate New York and is nowhere near the city.

If Chicago produces the success that Los Angeles did, it seems that the sport wants to tag another big-name city, and the “Big Apple” is their preferred destination.

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While IndyCar and Formula 1 have competed on street circuits, the Cup Series hasn’t. It remains to be seen if the Chicago race will be the move to launch the sport to a new territory, or if it will be a move like the one IndyCar experienced in Baltimore, a race becoming a failed event due to lack of support.