If you have ever driven in Chicago in the summer (or anytime, really) then you know what an absolute mess traffic there can be, especially at certain hours of the day.
Even before all of the road construction closes down several of the main thoroughfares, rush hour in Chicago is a start and stop affair.
Now, with the inaugural NASCAR Chicago Street Race coming up on July 2nd, the reality of what that means is starting to hit Chicago residents and they are NOT happy.
That’s because, in addition to the usual road and lane closures due to construction that happens every year on Chicago highways, now even more roads and lanes will be shut down for the NASCAR race.
And this isn’t happening just on the weekend of the event, July 1st and 2nd.
Oh no, road closures are expected to begin on June 2nd – a month before the race – and continue through July 15 – 13 days after the event.
Parts of Columbus Drive, Jackson Drive, Balbo Drive, Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive – some of the main roads in Chicago – will be shut down for a month and a half.
Throw in around 50,000 people (and their cars) attending each day of the event and it’s going to be a nightmare of epic proportions if residents want to get anywhere in the city.
“This NASCAR race is going to have a major impact on the neighborhood,” Jim Wales, vice president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, told NBC Chicago. “We know parts of the park could be closed for 40 days, and that’s unacceptable when you look at the money generated, at least on paper, by NASCAR.”
Shedd Aquarium alone says it will lose out on up to $3 million because of the NASCAR race.
Many Chicago residents on social media are beside themselves with anger over the NASCAR event creating such a disruption in their daily lives.
If we’re lucky, this will be one-and-done.
— Jacob Nelson (@Jacob_J_Nelson) April 11, 2023
“I haven’t found a single resident that isn’t furious, this race might actively hurt NASCAR in the Chicago market,” another person commented.
I’m coming from the northern burbs. Now I wonder how I’ll even get there.
— Dave Harris (@GiveMeAProject) April 10, 2023
“Wonder how much overtime the Chicago PD will have not to mention private security to protect all the NASCAR teams when they race in Chicago this summer?” another resident asked.
I want this to be a complete joke and disaster. I’m so angry with NASCAR about them taking away Road America 🇺🇸 for a street race. The July 4th weekend fit so well with the track. The track is called Road America 🇺🇸!. I sometimes feel like NASCAR is too gullible and will just try… https://t.co/RhtrzjS7IN
— Jeremy Lightning (@LightningPodcas) April 11, 2023
“Can anyone explain to me who asked for there to be a NASCAR race in Chicago this summer?” someone else asked.
I’m trying so hard to give this street race a chance, but so far this looks like nobody planned this very well.. https://t.co/ESkp0gVStZ
— Dalton Good 8️⃣ 🏁 (@daltongood8) April 10, 2023
“Chicago was simply the wrong place for NASCAR’s first street race. The city government doesn’t want it, the locals don’t want it, and the average NASCAR fan doesn’t want it. What a mess,” tweeted another.
Should be fun!