NASCAR makes major change to Chicago schedule

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR, Chicago Street Course (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR, Chicago Street Course (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NASCAR has moved up the start time for Sunday’s inaugural Cup Series race at the new Chicago Street Course by nearly an hour.

Sunday’s Grant Park 220 is set to mark the halfway point of the 36-race 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, and at a brand-new street course in Chicago, Illinois.

This 100-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.2-mile (3.541-kilometer) temporary course, officially named the Chicago Street Course, had been scheduled to go green at 5:54 p.m. ET. However, fans will now have 49 fewer minutes to wait until the first ever Cup Series street course action.

On Saturday evening, it was announced that the green flag time had been moved all the way up to 5:05 p.m. ET. NBC is scheduled to come on the air with live coverage only five minutes prior at 5:00 p.m. ET, so be sure to tune into the beginning of the broadcast to avoid missing the start of the race.

DraftKings Sportsbook, which is currently offering fans an instant $150 simply for signing up and betting $5, lists 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick as the +400 favorite to win the race.

Reddick is set to start the race on the front row alongside polesitter Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin is listed as the second favorite at +550 after starting the weekend as a rare +3500 longshot.

This change is the second significant schedule change of the NASCAR race weekend at Chicago.

Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, The Loop 121, was started shortly after 5:00 p.m. ET as scheduled, but it was unable to be completed as a result of lightning in the area.

Only 25 of the race’s 55 scheduled laps had been completed when it was announced that the remainder of the event had been moved to Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET.

The race would have needed to have 28 of its scheduled laps completed to have been deemed official, according to the rules. The rest of the race is still set to be broadcast live on USA Network, and the goal remains to run all 55 laps. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer was the race leader when the postponement was announced.

There is a 70% chance of rain on Sunday, according to The Weather Channel, though wet weather tires are available for both series, provided there is no more lightning in the area.

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Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss Sunday’s conclusion of The Loop 121 at 11:00 a.m. ET on USA Network or the Grant Park 220 at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC as the new Chicago Street Course prepares to crown its first two NASCAR winners! Due to the implementation of a rare restriction, nobody is allowed to compete in both events.