NASCAR Chicago Street Race

Construction for NASCAR Chicago Street Course ramps up ahead of historic race

Race day is only 10 days away.

NBC Universal, Inc.

It is one of the largest temporary construction projects in recent memory, and the time to see the final product is nearly here.

NASCAR is building an entire race track and the VIP spaces to watch the first ever Chicago Street Race in and around Grant Park.

NASACAR Street Race President Julie Giese knows what she is up against.

“We are ten days away and, as you can see around you, the build is in full force,” she said walking through a now fenced off area that includes most of the park. “It’s really a lot of fun to see it all come together and to see everything come to life,” she said.

One of the first things you see, as you drive by on Columbus, is the massive structure that will become the President’s Paddock Club, the racecourse’s premiere spectator venue. The pricy Paddock Club will rise above the Grant Park tree line and include two levels with a roof top deck above that.

The first level will be Pit Road for the racers. Fans can see the drivers and their crews as well as watch the start and finish line which will be nearby. There will also be grandstands across Columbus with a view of the race and Buckingham Fountain, as well as small grandstands sprinkled around the `12-turn, 2.2 course

A larger set of grandstands will be erected on Michigan Avenue with race and city views. There will be giant screens showing the race coverage for fans who, unlike most NASCAR races, won’t be able to see the whole course at one time

Another important part of the street course is also under construction: the retaining wall designed to protect crowds from any debris thrown from the track. It will be made up of 200 specially designed concrete barricades, each weighing five tons. They will be equipped with interlocking sections of eight-foot catch fencing.

The Director of Civil Engineering for NASCAR is Jeremy Casperson. He said, “they have been tested and we are very confident they will do their job.”

NASCAR is also trying to minimize race noise downtown, as the cars will be equipped with mufflers for only the second time in their history.

Giese said track activity will be limited to 10 hours-a-day for the two-day race period.

That means drivers will have to get their practice on computer simulators, because they won't have much time to do it here.

 “They essentially will have less than an hour of practice time on Saturday before they will qualify for the race," Giese told NBC Chicago.

Contact Us