Baltimore Sun

NASCAR street race set for Chicago


NASCAR will celebrate its 75th season with an unpreceden­ted street race through downtown Chicago in yet another radical change to the once staid schedule.

The Cup Series will race against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and Grant Park next July 2 in the debut race of a three-year deal with the city of Chicago. The venture was spearheade­d by Ben Kennedy, the 30-yearold great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France.

It was Kennedy who successful­ly orchestrat­ed the January exhibition race inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that will return for a second running in 2023. Kennedy told The AP he began working on both the Coliseum and Chicago street race in 2019.

The new venues come as NASCAR has made sweeping changes to its oval-heavy schedule, first by adding both a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway and additional road courses and now a completely new concept.

The Chicago race will be paired with an IMSA sports car race the day before, as well as music and entertainm­ent options located along the 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course.

NASCAR last month confirmed the Coliseum would return next January, but the rest of the 2023 schedule has yet to be announced. Kennedy, however, confirmed to the AP that the Chicago street course will replace the road course race at Road America on the Cup schedule.

Road America in Wisconsin hosted the Cup Series the last two seasons on the same weekend. By moving into downtown Chicago, NASCAR keeps a race in the Midwest region while returning to a coveted market. NASCAR ran 19 Cup races at Chicagolan­d Speedway in Joliet, a 45-mile drive from downtown.

NASCAR had tried to build interest in the market and even made Chicagolan­d the opening race of the playoffs in 2011. But the track was simply too far from downtown to attract a new audience and NASCAR pulled out after the 2019 season.

The downtown course will include famed areas of Chicago, including Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and South Columbia Drive, where the start/finish line and pit road will be located directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through Grant Park and approach the northern edge of Soldier Field — site of the only other Cup Series race to take place in downtown Chicago, in 1956.

Soccer: Barcelona said the fee to acquire striker Robert Lewandowsk­i could reach $50.2 million. The Spanish club said it will pay Bayern Munich $46 million plus $5.1 million in variables for the transfer of the prolific Poland player. The buyout clause for the 33-year-old Lewandowsk­i will be set at $512 million on a contract valid for four seasons. He’s set to sign the contract on Wednesday in Miami, where Barca is starting its U.S. tour. The final agreement comes three days after the clubs announced an agreement for the striker who was voted FIFA player of the year in 2020 and 2021. ... Bayern Munich signed Netherland­s defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus for $68.6 million on a five-year contract. The 22-year-old De Ligt is Bayern’s first major signing since agreeing to sell Lewandowsk­i to Barca last week, and Juventus said the fee for the Dutchman could increase by $10.2 million in conditiona­l payments.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States