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NASCAR street race

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace outside Soldier Field last summer during a visit to promote the Cup Series street race in the city July 2, 2023.

Charles Rex Arbogast

NASCAR tweaks its Chicago race plan as residents voice concerns about noise and lakefront access

With roughly 50 days until downtown Chicago becomes a NASCAR track, officials have made a few tweaks to their plan for the city’s inaugural street race.

Residents who live near the 2.2-mile racecourse voiced their concerns at a meeting with NASCAR officials in April.

And in response, the racing brand says it will limit car noise, keep access to the lakefront trail open to pedestrians — by way of Monroe Street and Roosevelt Road — and set aside some greenspace areas for public access during the racing festival’s weekend activities.

Preliminarily street closures for the July 1 and 2 events will begin on June 10 near Grant Park.

But NASCAR’s Julie Giese said after incorporating feedback from park neighbors, most street closures won’t begin until the week of June 25.

“We were able to reduce our course build schedule by about a week from when we initially started planning,” Giese told the Chicago Park District board during its May 10 meeting.

“There’s also ongoing access for both vehicles and pedestrians to [the] Museum Campus [and] a lot of the viewing areas are alongside the street, which really allowed us to be mindful of the build schedule and make sure that we provide as much access to the green space in the park as possible throughout the build as well as the tear down.”

After downtown residents expressed concerns about noise volume during the festival, Giese said NASCAR will limit its on track events which means no noise from vehicles, fans or musical performances before 10 a.m., or after 10 p.m.

“Our NASCAR cup series cars will be running mufflers for this event,” Giese told the board. “This is something that has only been done in one other race in an effort to continue to mitigate the sound.”

NASCAR officials say since November 2022 they’ve conducted over 100 meetings with community members who live near the track.

Giese said they’ll continue to solicit community feedback and post any updates to the planning schedule on their website for the event.

Clare Lane serves as a substitute anchor across all dayparts and general assignment reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her on Twitter at @clareifying.

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