NASCAR to Return to Chicago for 2024 Race, Mayor Announces

(Courtesy of NASCAR)(Courtesy of NASCAR)

NASCAR will once again transform the streets of downtown Chicago into a racetrack, with the Chicago Street Race returning to Grant Park on July 6-7, 2024, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Wednesday.

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Johnson waved the green flag after race officials agreed to reduce the time it will take to set up and take down the race by a total of six days — four days before the race and two days after the race.

"We got a better deal for the people of Chicago," Johnson said, acknowledging that the first NASCAR race in Chicago was a "tremendous inconvience" on Chicagoans.

The inaugural race cut off public access to much of Grant Park for weeks at the height of summer, under a plan that was approved by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

NASCAR officials also agreed to cover the cost of staging the race incurred by the city, in line with other large-scale events in Chicago, Johnson said.

“This is a win for Chicago taxpayers, as the original agreement did not include provisions for such costs,” said Johnson, who has the authority under city ordinance to approve the permits for the race without the ratification of the Chicago City Council. 

Johnson gave no indication that he planned to ask the City Council to weigh in on the deal, prompting immediate objections from City Council members across the political spectrum.

NASCAR officials also agreed to grow “its impressive investments in Chicago communities and expanding opportunities for small-, minority- and women-owned businesses to participate as vendors in 2024,” according to the mayor’s office.

Chicago Street Race President Julie Giese said in a statement the 2023 Chicago Street Race was “a resounding success.”

“NASCAR is honored to be a part of the Chicago community 365 days a year, and we look forward to building upon the incredible foundation we established this year,” Giese said.

Johnson’s announcement came just hours after Chicago’s tourism board released a study showing that the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race added $109 million to the city’s economy.

That race was disrupted by a massive rainstorm that caused a federally recognized disaster centered on Chicago’s West Side and canceled most of the events off the track — including concerts by the Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert — and shortened both the Xfinity Series race and the Cup Series race.

NASCAR and the Chicago Park District, whose leaders are appointed by Johnson, could have terminated the agreement without a penalty before the end of December.

NASCAR can cancel the event by the end of March, but would have to pay the Chicago Park District a $250,000 termination fee, according to the agreement.

In 2024 NASCAR will pay the city a $550,000 permit fee, up from $500,000 this year, according to the contract. In addition, NASCAR will once again pay the Park District a $2 fee per admission ticket, and a 15% commission on food, beverage and merchandise sales at the event.

Chicago Park District officials have yet to release any data, despite a request from WTTW News, about how much money the park district earned from those sales.

Contact Heather Cherone: @heathercherone | (773) 569-1863 |

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