Chicago and NASCAR: A Stunning Alliance with Nice Ambitions, Dominating the City Streets

NASCAR’s go to to Chicago had been the topic of intense native debate since Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced it final summer season with out involving residents or Metropolis Council members in negotiations. The way forward for the occasion grew extra unsure when Ms. Lightfoot was voted out of workplace this yr. Although NASCAR’s contract with Chicago calls for 3 years of racing, the brand new mayor, Brandon Johnson, may transfer to cancel the deal.

Whether or not town seeks a divorce will rely partially on metrics that aren’t but absolutely identified. NASCAR officers mentioned that they anticipated as much as 50,000 folks a day on the occasion, and that they believed about 80 p.c of ticket consumers have been first-time racegoers. However the racing group didn’t present knowledge on ticket gross sales, and as of Saturday afternoon, tickets have been nonetheless obtainable for buy.

A number of NASCAR drivers mentioned they have been conscious of the disruption to town however hopeful that the race would come to be seen as a win. The motive force Bubba Wallace, who hosted a free racing-themed social gathering final week on the South Aspect, mentioned he had loved his time in Chicago.

“You’ll be able to stroll down the streets just a little bit and never get acknowledged, so I hear a number of conversations,” Mr. Wallace mentioned. “And lots of people are on the fence about it. However you hear a number of pleasure, too.”

Robert Chiarito contributed reporting.