NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Grant Park 165

The Place: Chicago Street Course

Track Length: 2.20 Mile Asphalt Street Course

The Date: Sunday, July 7

The Time: 4:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,978,831

TV: NBC, 4 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 165 miles (75 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 45), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 75)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: The Loop 110

The Place: Chicago Street Course

Track Length: 2.20 Mile Asphalt Street Course

The Date: Saturday, July 6

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,786,961

TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 110 miles (50 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 50)

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: CRC Brakleen 175

The Place: Pocono Raceway

Track Length: 2.5 Mile Asphalt Tri-Oval

The Date: Friday, July 12

The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $757,128

TV: FS1, 5:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 175 miles (70 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 70)

NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR to returns to the streets of Chicago

For the second consecutive year, the speed of NASCAR is coming back to the streets of downtown Chicago against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline for the Grant Park 165 on Sunday, July 7 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and select surrounding thoroughfares will be transformed into a 12-turn, 2.20-mile street course, with the start/finish line and pit road located along South Columbus Drive directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through the famed Grant Park, as well as approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, one of the most notable and recognizable sports venues in the country – and the site of a 1956 Cup Series race.

This season marks the second of a minimum three-year commitment between NASCAR and the City of Chicago. NASCAR returns to the Second City for the second-ever Street Race in Cup Series history. The Chicago Street Race Weekend is a unique two-day sports and entertainment event with a festival-like atmosphere that exemplifies NASCAR’s characteristic fan experience that puts attendees closer to the action than any other sport. Coupled with top-tier musical performances from global headliners, the Chicago Street Race Weekend is a once-in-a-lifetime experiential opportunity for any sports, music, and entertainment fan.

On-track action for the NASCAR Cup Series will get started with a 50-minute practice followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, July 6 at 2 p.m. ET on the USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

More Than Racing: Keith Urban, The Chainsmokers, The Black Keys, and Lauren Alaina to Headline NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend

In addition to the high-speed NASCAR racing this weekend, there will be some great music on tap as well, Keith Urban, The Chainsmokers, The Black Keys, and Lauren Alaina will headline the 2024 Chicago Street Race in Grant Park, July 6-7.

The Chainsmokers – whose Saturday evening set will include a special appearance with NASCAR Cup Series drivers – will make their triumphant return to the Chicago Street Race after weather forced the cancellation of their 2023 set.

“The Chicago Street Race Weekend is the ultimate summer festival, bringing together the best of sports, music, food, and Chicago culture at the can’t-miss event of the year,” said Chicago Street Race President Julie Giese. “This A-list concert lineup truly offers something for everyone, the 2024 Chicago Street Race will deliver new and returning attendees of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Global rock icons The Black Keys will play a full set on Saturday, July 6 following the conclusion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Loop 110, before The Chainsmokers close out the day alongside NASCAR Cup Series Drivers in a special photo moment.

Sunday’s concerts will feature Country music favorite Lauren Alaina performing prior to a closing set by cross-over mega star Keith Urban in advance of the Cup Series’ Grant Park 165.

Keith Urban has spent the better part of his life harnessing a deep-seated passion for music. This, when combined with his authenticity, talent and driving musical inquisitiveness, helps to understand why he is one of the most successful and well-respected artists in the world. He’s won four GRAMMY© Awards, thirteen CMAs, fifteen ACMs, three AMAs, two People’s Choice Awards and celebrated nine consecutive gold, platinum or multi-platinum albums. For more information on Keith Urban, visit keithurban.com.

The Chainsmokers have consistently elevated popular music by ceaselessly challenging it. The GRAMMY® Award-winning RIAA Diamond-certified duo—Drew Taggart and Alex Pall—have broken boundaries between pop, indie, electronic, alternative, and rock. By doing so, they have set the tempo for culture and proven inescapable, delivering some of the biggest songs in the world, hosting a historic multi-year Las Vegas residency, packing arenas on multiple continents, launching first-of-its-kind games in the metaverse, and selling tens of millions of singles along the way. Thus far, they have scored three Diamond singles, namely the Billboard Hot 100 #1 “Closer” [feat. Halsey], “Something Just Like This” [with Coldplay], and “Don’t Let Me Down” [feat. Daya]. The latter garnered a GRAMMY® Award for “Best Dance Recording. For more information on The Chainsmokers, visit thechainsmokers.com.

Formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001, The Black Keys are singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Last year, the duo received two GRAMMY nominations for their eleventh studio album Dropout Boogie. The Black Keys have been called “rock royalty” by the Associated Press and “one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands on the planet” by Uncut. Cutting their teeth playing small clubs, the band has gone on to sell out arena tours and has released eleven previous studio albums. The band has won six GRAMMY Awards and a BRIT and headlined festivals in North America, South America, Mexico, Australia, and Europe. For more information on The Black Keys, visit theblackkeys.com.

Grand Ole Opry member and Big Loud Records powerhouse Lauren Alaina has earned three chart-topping hits: RIAA platinum-certified “Road Less Traveled,” 7x platinum “What Ifs” with her childhood friend Kane Brown, and 2x platinum “ONE BEER” with labelmate HARDY + Devin Dawson. The Georgia-born force, has performed on some of the highest-profile stages in the world including PBS’ A Capitol Fourth, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, CBS’ Beyond The Edge, TODAY, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ABC’s CMA Fest specials, CMA and ACM Awards, Nickelodeon’s All That, Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day halftime performance, MLB’s World Series national anthem performance, a performance at the White House for President Obama, and more. For more information on Lauren Alaina, visit laurenalainaofficial.com.

NASCAR and the state of Illinois go way back

NASCAR is no stranger to the state of Illinois, the first NASCAR national series race held in the state was a NASCAR Cup Series event at Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs. The event was held on July 10, 1954 and it was won by driver Dick Rathman driving a Hudson for car owner John Ditz. Finishing runner-up in the race was NASCAR Hall of Famer Hershel McGriff also driving a Hudson. Once again, NASCAR returns to Illinois for this weekend’s Grant Park 165 at the Chicago Street Course – just the second ever NASCAR race run on a street course.

NASCAR has competed on six different tracks in the state of Illinois for a total of 102 races.

NASCAR Tracks in Illinois
City
Cup
Xfinity
Truck
Combined
First Year
Chicagoland Speedway
Joliet
19
24
11
54
2001
World Wide Technology Raceway
Madison
3
15
24
42
1997
Chicago Street Course
Chicago
1
1
0
2
2023
Chicago Motor Speedway
Cicero
0
0
2
2
2000
Santa Fe Speedway
Willow Springs
1
0
0
1
1954
Soldier Field
Chicago
1
0
0
1
1956
Totals
 
25
40
37
102

The first time the NASCAR Cup Series competed in Downtown Chicago was in 1956, the series competed at Soldier Field and the race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts in a Pete DePaolo Ford.

Kiwi’s Kingdom: Shane Van Gisbergen is back to defend Chicago victory

New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen (SVG) is back in the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at the Chicago Street Course to defend his last season win. But this time with a new team, the Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet.

Last year, as part of the Trackhouse Racing Project 91 program, Shane van Gisbergen and several other drivers from high-level racing disciplines were given opportunities to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series at select events. Van Gisbergen just so happened to be the most successful of the group, winning in his first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series at inaugural Chicago Street Race.

The win was monumental in Van Gisbergen’s racing career as well as statistically. SVG is just the seventh different driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win in their first appearance, and the first to do it since 1963.

Track
Race Winner
Season
Home Country
Hometown
Starts
Chicago SR
Shane van Gisbergen
2023
New Zealand
Auckland
1
Daytona
Johnny Rutherford
1963
United States
Ft. Worth
1
Oakland Stadium
Marvin Burke
1951
United States
Pittsburg
1
Daytona B&R
Harold Kite
1950
United States
East Point
1
North Wilkesboro
Leon Sales
1950
United States
Winston-Salem
1
Charlotte (Old)
Jim Roper
1949
United States
Halstead
1
Hamburg
Jack White
1949
United States
Lockport
1

Van Gisbergen became the sixth different driver not from the United States to win a NASCAR Cup Series race with his Chicago victory last season, joining Mario Andretti (Italy), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada), Marcos Ambrose (Australia) and Daniel Suarez (Mexico).

Now the road ace from Auckland returns to defend his win in Chicago, and if he were to accomplish the feat, Van Gisbergen would tie Marcos Ambrose (two wins at Watkins Glen), Daniel Suarez (two wins: one at Sonoma and one at Atlanta) and Juan Pablo Montoya (two wins: one at Watkins Glen and one at Sonoma) for the most wins by driver not from the United States with two each.

Race To The Playoffs: Logano the latest to earn a spot in the postseason with a win

Team Penske’s Joey Logano has become the 11th different driver to win this season and earn himself a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. With 11 spots in the 16-driver Playoff field already spoken for, and only seven races left until the postseason, time and space are running out for competitors to earn their postseason position.

Playoff Bound:

Last weekend, two-time series champion Joey Logano took the checkered flag following five overtimes in a performance of preservation at Nashville Superspeedway. Now, with 11 drivers in 2024 with wins, only five spot are still up for grabs in the Playoffs as the series heads to the Chicago Street Course this weekend for the Grant Park 165 (July 7 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – the 20th race of the season.

The 11 drivers this season currently holding a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by virtue of their regular season wins are Kyle Larson (three wins), Denny Hamlin (three), Christopher Bell (three), William Byron (three), Chase Elliott (one), Tyler Reddick (one), Ryan Blaney (one), Brad Keselowski (one), Daniel Suarez (one), Austin Cindric (one) and Joey Logano (one).

In The Hot Seats:

The five drivers currently in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff transfer spots on points are Martin Truex Jr. (+143 points up on postseason cutoff), Ty Gibbs (+70), Ross Chastain (+66), Chris Buescher (+56) and Alex Bowman (+51).

Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman is currently in the most precarious position (16th) of the five drivers inside the Playoff cutoff heading into Chicago this weekend. Though he holds a stout 51 point edge over 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace in 17th, if a driver below Bowman in the standings wins over the next seven races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs.

Outside Looking In:

There are currently 18 drivers still eligible to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs that are without a win and below the postseason cut line in points following Nashville.

23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (-51 points), is one of seven drivers currently below the Playoff cutline that has made the Cup Series Playoffs previously, along with Chase Briscoe (-78 points), two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch (-104 points), Michael McDowell (-166), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-194), Erik Jones (-217) and Austin Dillon (-261).

2024 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 19 – Drivers Without Wins This Season
RankDriverPointsWinsStagesPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
12Martin Truex Jr.591022143
13Ty Gibbs51802270
14Ross Chastain51401166
15Chris Buescher50402256
16Alex Bowman49900051
17Bubba Wallace448000-51
18Chase Briscoe421000-78
19Kyle Busch395000-104
20Josh Berry #368000-131
21Todd Gilliland367000-132
22Michael McDowell333011-166
23Noah Gragson325000-174
24Carson Hocevar #318000-181
25Ryan Preece308000-191
26Ricky Stenhouse Jr.305000-194
27John Hunter Nemechek282000-217
28Erik Jones282000-217
29Corey LaJoie273000-226
30Daniel Hemric268000-231
31Justin Haley266000-233
32Austin Dillon238000-261
33Harrison Burton217000-282
34Zane Smith #200000-299

Road Course Aces: NASCAR’s best in road racing

Though this weekend’s race is technically on a ‘street course’ and not a ‘road course’ a similar approach to being successful this Sunday will apply. Here is a list of the active road and street course NASCAR winners entered this weekend.

Active Road/Street Course Winners (15)
Wins
WGI
Sonoma
Charlotte
COTA
Indy
Daytona
Road Am.
Chicago
Chase Elliott
7
2
0
2
1
0
1
1
0
Martin Truex Jr
5
1
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
Kyle Busch
4
2
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
Kyle Larson
5
2
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
AJ Allmendinger
3
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
Tyler Reddick
3
0
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
Christopher Bell
2
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
William Byron
2
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
Daniel Suárez
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
Denny Hamlin
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Joey Logano
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Ryan Blaney
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
Ross Chastain
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
Michael McDowell
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
Shane van Gisbergen
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
Totals
38
11
8
6
3
3
2
2
1

The NASCAR Cup Series has competed on two road courses this season so far, with Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron winning at Austin (COTA) and Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson winning at Sonoma Raceway.

Following the Chicago Street Course, the NASCAR Cup Series has just two more road courses on the schedule this season – Watkins Glen International (9/15/24) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (10/13/24).

NASCAR Cup Series Etc.

NASCAR Chicago Street Race Names NBC’s “One Chicago” Stars Joe Miñoso, Patrick John Flueger, and Jessy Schram as Honorary Event Officials – NASCAR has announced that Joe Miñoso of “Chicago Fire,” Patrick John Flueger of “Chicago P.D.,” and Jessy Schram of “Chicago Med” – part of NBC’s “One Chicago” dramas produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment – are the Honorary Event Officials for the Chicago Street Race. As part of their race weekend roles, they will take part in pre-race ceremonies ahead of the Grant Park 165 NASCAR Cup Series street race on Sunday, July 7.

To download images of Joe Miñoso, Patrick John Flueger, and Jessy Schram click here.

Flueger plays the lead role of officer Adam Ruzek on “Chicago P.D.” He has played feature film roles in the remake of “Footloose” as well as “Brothers,” “The World’s Fastest Indian,” and other films. He also co-starred in USA Network’s “The 4400” for four seasons with additional television credits in “Chicago Fire,” “Criminal Minds,” Law & Order: SVU,” and more.

Miñoso is best known for his role as Joe Cruz on “Chicago Fire,” the first installment of Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise that is now in its thirteenth season. He has additional television and film credits in “Get Shorty,” “Man of Steel,” “Shameless,” “Prison Break,” and more. Miñoso recently launched Mass Epiphany Studios and The Epiphany Project, which is a film and vocational arts academy and studio system to support America’s marginalized artists of tomorrow.

Schram portrays Dr. Hannah Asher on “Chicago Med.” She has credits in numerous projects for the Hallmark Channel as well as television projecting including “Falling Skies,” “Nashville,” “Mad Men,” and more. Schram has several films on her resume such as “Unstoppable,” “Shot Caller,” “The Submarine Kid,” and “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.” She is also a singer/songwriter that has toured with Joan Baby’s soul band.

NASCAR Brings Back Bubba’s Block Party to Chicago; First Time on the West Side at Douglass Park – NASCAR has announced plans to bring back Bubba’s Block Party, a nationwide community initiative hosted by 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace and Blavity, to Douglass Park on Friday, July 5 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The community event will bring together local Black-owned food vendors, businesses, and musicians for a family-friendly celebration on the West Side of Chicago, featuring a headlining set from Chicago hip-hop legend Twista.

Bubba’s Block Party is a national community-focused NASCAR initiative that aims to drive awareness, access and engagement to the sport among the Black community while generating excitement around the race weekend. This year for the first time, NASCAR is joining forces with Blavity, the world’s leading destination for premium content and Black-owned network for youth, Black culture, and technology, to increase the global impact of the Bubba’s Block Party program.

“I’m excited to host another block party in Chicago,” Wallace said. “I was impressed by how the community showed up last year, eager and willing to learn more about our sport. Let’s run it back. I’m also excited to again have the support of 23XI and our partners at McDonald’s, Air Force, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and Walmart. It’s great to have so many groups committed to the mission of growing the sport to new audiences.”

The free, ticketed event will be hosted by Blavity’s General Manager of Community, Charles Kuykendoll, including some of the best sets by DJ Commando and DJ NP3. To close out the night, Chicago’s very own Twista will hit the stage. Born Carl Terrell Mitchell, Twista rose to fame in the early 1990s and was recognized by the Guiness World Records as the “fastest rapper in the world.” Twista’s impact on the rap industry extends beyond his music, as he has also been a mentor and influencer for aspiring artists in Chicago and beyond. His dedication to his craft and perseverance in the face of challenges have made him a respected figure in the hip-hop community.

“Bubba’s Block Party and the NASCAR Chicago Street Race is focused on introducing our sport to new fans in a fun, dynamic, family-friendly way,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “Last year’s Block Party at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center was a tremendous success, and we can’t wait to bring that same level of excitement to Chicago’s West Side in Douglass Park for the first time.”

Attendees will enjoy a Family Zone bringing activities for all ages including free haircuts, coloring stations, race car courses for kids, and giveaways. Guests will also take laps on racing simulators and enjoy live pit stop demonstrations by Wallace’s No. 23 pit crew. Wallace will visit with the audience as part of a fireside chat which will focus on his career journey and NASCAR’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion across the sport.

In keeping with NASCAR Chicago’s mission to drive local economic opportunity, there will be a food truck village at the event serving up local bites from Black-owned restaurants from across Chicago. Featured businesses include Uncle Remus, Bill Grill Truck, Can’t Believe it’s not Meat, Haire’s Gulf Shrimp, Beggers Pizza, Uncle Dave’s Fish Joint, Whadda Jerk, Ida’s Artisan and Decadent Flavor.

Bubba’s Block Party, fueled by Blavity, is open to the public and is a family friendly event suited for children ages 4 and up. For more information and to RSVP visit bubbasblockparty.com.

NASCAR and Daniel Suárez to Bring National Program “Daniel’s Amigos” to Chicago for the First Time – NASCAR has announced plans to bring Daniel’s Amigos, a nationwide community initiative hosted by Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suárez, to Chicago’s Harrison Park on Thursday, June 20 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Suárez, who made history in 2022 as the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, will bring together local Hispanic food vendors, businesses, and musicians for a family-friendly celebration in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

Daniel’s Amigos aims to drive awareness, access and engagement to the sport among the Hispanic community while generating excitement around race weekends. The program began in 2019 with events at various racetracks around the country in California, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas.

“This will be the biggest Daniel’s Amigos ever,” said Suárez. “I am so excited to take Amigos to Chicago and see so many people come out and have fun with us. The Chicago Street Race was a fantastic event last year and I expect it will be even bigger this year and I can’t think of a better way to kickoff everything with a Daniel’s Amigo event a few weeks before we race there.”

The free-ticketed event will offer entertainment by Rosalba Valdez y Los Valientes. Valdez is a Chicago-born Mexican-American singer and songwriter, who uses her voice to highlight the journey of immigrant families in the United States. The event hosted by B96 Morning Show Host Karla Hernandez will also feature Mariachi Tesoro de México and DJ Momami.

Attendees will enjoy a Kids Zone and can take laps on racing simulators. Suárez will visit with the audience as part of a fireside chat which will focus on his career journey and NASCAR’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion across the sport.

The event will feature a food village serving up local bites from Hispanic-owned businesses such as La Calaca Food Truck, Casera’s Sabor, Delicias, 5411 Empanadas and Paleta Factory. In keeping with the local connection, NASCAR will join forces with local businesses to drive awareness, support and economic impact. The National Museum of Mexican Art will be present along with featured businesses from the city including Mestiza Shop and The Resurrection Project.

Daniel’s Amigos is open to the public and is family friendly suited for children ages four and up. For more information on the day’s schedule and to RSVP visit www.danielsamigos.com.

Milestone Watch: Chicago Street Course – Below are the possible milestones that can be achieved this weekend at the Chicago Street Course or in coming weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Starts

Kyle Larson will make his 350th NASCAR Cup Series career start at the Chicago Street Course this weekend. Larson ranks 80th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series starts list. In Larson’s previous 349 starts, he has accumulated one Cup Series title (2021), one Regular Season championship (2021), seven Playoff appearances, 26 wins, 112 top fives, 174 top 10s and 20 poles.

Austin Cindric is expected to make his 100th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Pocono Raceway

Kyle Busch is expected to make his 700th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Wins

Denny Hamlin currently has 54 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for 11th on the all-time wins list with 55 victories each.

Joey Logano currently has 33 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for 25th on the all-time wins list with 34 victories each.

Crew Member Spotlight: Chicago Street Race Weekend – This weekend at the Chicago Street Race we wanted to highlight several of the team’s crew members that are from the surrounding areas of the track in Illinois.

ILLINOIS
NameOrganizationTeamCurrent Role
Andy GillisHendrick Motorsports48Hauler driver
Dan BrzozowskiSpire Motorsports77Car Chief
Harry HalcombTrackhouse Racing1Engine Tuner
Matt SwiderskiTrackhouse Racing99Crew Chief
Seth GajdoursTrackhouse Racing99Rear Tire Changer
Nick O’DellHendrick Motorsports9Front Tire Changer

NASCAR Xfinity Series

NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the Windy City

From the Music City to the Windy City, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the Chicago Street Course for The Loop 110 on Saturday, July 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This marks the second time the Xfinity Series visits the 12-turn, 2.20-mille street course. Last year’s inaugural race saw Cole Custer claim the victory from the pole position, leading all 25 laps of the rain-shorted race.

The race day festivities start off Saturday, July 6 at 10 a.m. ET with practice followed by qualifying at 11 a.m. ET on USA Network, and the NBC Sports App.

Will Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer go back-to-back?

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer won the inaugural Xfinity Series race in Chicago last season and will aim to remain the only driver with a Chicago Street Race win on his resume.

The 26-year-old driver is still on the hunt for his first trip to Victory Lane this season, possessing an average finish of 8.6 which is best amongst full-time drivers. Two of Custer’s last three victories came on road courses last season at Portland International Raceway and the Chicago Street Course.

NASCAR Xfinity Series history on road courses

Across the 42-year history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, 41 drivers have triumphed to victory at road courses, with Shane van Gisbergen being the most recent to add his name to the collection with his wins in Portland and Sonoma earlier this season.

Active Xfinity Road Course Winners (9)
Xfinity Road & Street Course Wins
AJ Allmendinger
11
Ty Gibbs
4
Joey Logano
3
Justin Allgaier
3
Sam Mayer
3
Cole Custer
2
Kyle Larson
2
Shane van Gisbergen
2
Jeremy Clements
1

This weekend’s event at Chicago will be the fourth of six road and street course races the Xfinity Series will compete on this season. Hendrick Motorsport’s Kyle Larson won the first road course race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series 2024 season at Circuit of The Americas and then SVG gobbled-up the next two at Portland and Sonoma. Van Gisbergen is running double duty this weekend and has an opportunity at pulling off a NASCAR national series weekend sweep.

If SVG were to complete the weekend NASCAR national series sweep at Chicago, it would be the first weekend sweep on a street course and just the third not on an oval, joining Joey Logano’s Watkins Glen International sweep in 2015 and Kyle Larson’s Watkins Glen International sweep in 2022.

Tracks
Active Road Course Winners This Weekend by Track
Watkins Glen International
Joey Logano (3), Kyle Larson (1), Sam Mayer (1), Ty Gibbs (1)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway RC
AJ Allmendinger (1), Ty Gibbs (1)
Charlotte ROVAL
AJ Allmendinger (4), Sam Mayer (1)
Road America
AJ Allmendinger (1), Sam Mayer (1), Jeremy Clements (1), Justin Allgaier (1), Ty Gibbs (1)
Circuit of The Americas
AJ Allmendinger (2), Kyle Larson (1)
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal)
Justin Allgaier (1)
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
AJ Allmendinger (2), Justin Allgaier (1)
Portland International Raceway
AJ Allmendinger (1), Cole Custer (1), Shane van Gisbergen (1)
Daytona Road Course
Ty Gibbs (1)
Chicago Street Race
Cole Custer (1)
Sonoma Raceway
Shane van Gisbergen (1)

Drivers to watch: Chicago edition

After making headlines by winning in his NASCAR Cup Series debut last year at this very track, Kaulig Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen looks to add another trophy to his cabinet on Saturday. Van Gisbergen already secured two wins on the season both in the last two road course races at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway where he started from pole position. The New Zealander will also run in the Cup Series on Sunday in the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing in hopes to repeat the same heroics he pulled off last year at Chicago.

One cannot talk about road courses ringers without mentioning the most successful road course racer in NASCAR Xfinity Series history; van Gisbergen’s teammate AJ Allmendinger for Kaulig Racing. With 11 road course wins, Allmendinger will look to add another win to his name this weekend to make it a dozen. His last road course win came last season at COTA. Across the three road course races this season, he has finished in the top-10 twice, with a fourth-place finish at Portland, and a 10th-place finish at COTA. Like his teammate van Gisbergen, Allmendinger will run in Sunday’s Cup race for Kaulig Racing in the No. 13 Chevrolet.

No driver has won more races in the Xfinity Series over the past 31 races than JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer winning six races across that span, including two wins this season (Texas, Iowa). However, Mayer has made himself known for his road course prowess including winning three of the eight road courses races last season (Road America, Watkins Glen, Charlotte ROVAL). This season through the first three road course races, Mayer finished ninth at COTA, 28th at Portland despite starting on the pole, and third at Sonoma.

While having two wins this season, Austin Hill looks towards grabbing his first victory on a road course. The Richard Childress Racing driver came close to his first road course victory at COTA earlier this season, finishing runner-up. In the most recent road course race at Sonoma, Hill led 21 laps, ultimately coming home in fifth-place. Hill is also scheduled to run in Sunday’s Cup race in the No. 33 Chevrolet for RCR.

Double duty drivers in Chicago

This weekend’s races at the Chicago Street Course will see in total nine drivers competing across both series to maximize their seat time. Amongst those nine are four NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers (AJ Allmendinger, Austin Hill, Josh Bilicki, and Shane van Gisbergen) alongside five NASCAR Cup Series drivers headlined by two former Cup Series champions.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano returns to the Xfinity Series for the first time since 2019 driving the No. 15 Ford for AM Racing. The Connecticut-born driver ranks seventh all-time in the Xfinity Series wins list with 30 wins. His last win came at Watkins Glen in 2018.

2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson is set to make his second appearance this season driving the No. 17 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. The 31-year-old California native sets his sights to return to Victory Lane as he did at COTA when he led his first and only lap on a last lap pass to win. Larson’s sole previous road course victory in the Xfinity Series came in 2022 at Watkins Glen.

2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suárez will pilot the No. 36 Chevrolet for DGM Racing this weekend. The Mexican driver has two top fives in his Xfinity Series career on road courses, both coming in 2016 (Road America, Watkins Glen).

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs will make his fifth start of the season in the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs first busted onto the scene in the Xfinity Series by winning his debut race at the Daytona Road Course in 2022 at just 18 years old. Since then, Gibbs has accumulated another three wins on road courses (2021 Watkins Glen, 2022 Road America, 2023 Indianapolis Road Course.) This season, the now 21-year-old driver has finished 24th at COTA, and 35th at Sonoma in his two-road course starts.

John Hunter Nemechek is back behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend, aiming to improve on his runner-up finish from last year’s race. This marks Nemechek’s 10th start on the season, during which he has posted two wins (Las Vegas, Nashville), three top fives, and five top 10s.

Xfinity Playoff picture following Nashville

With a win by NASCAR Cup Series regular John Hunter Nemechek last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, the Xfinity Series Playoff picture remains the same with six Playoff spots earned by virtue of wins and with Cole Custer holding the points lead currently without a win he is guaranteed a spot as well, leaving just five open Playoff positions heading into Chicago.

The six drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of wins are Chandler Smith, Austin Hill, Sam Mayer, Shane van Gisbergen, Justin Allgaier, and Jesse Love. Cole Custer holds the seventh spot as the points leader.

The five drivers – Riley Herbst (+103), AJ Almendinger (+80), Sheldon Creed (+77), Parker Kligerman (+46), and Sammy Smith (+11) – currently hold the final Playoff spots on points.

Ryan Sieg (-11) is the first driver below the Playoff cut line, followed by Brandon Jones (-54), and Anthony Alfredo (-59) are the next two drivers on the outside looking in.

RankDriverPointsStartsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Chandler Smith617172515In On Wins
2Austin Hill554172212
3Sam Mayer451172111
4Shane Van Gisbergen #406172111
5Justin Allgaier5841711015
6Jesse Love #50417149
7Cole Custer63217022Pts Leader (221)
8Riley Herbst51417011103
9AJ Allmendinger4911700080
10Sheldon Creed4881700077
11Parker Kligerman4571701146
12Sammy Smith4221700011
13Ryan Sieg41117000-11
14Brandon Jones36817000-54
15Anthony Alfredo36317000-59
16Brennan Poole30917000-113
17Parker Retzlaff30717000-115
18Josh Williams26417000-158
19Jeremy Clements25917000-163
20Leland Honeyman #24017000-182
21Jeb Burton23017000-192
22Ryan Ellis22117000-201
23Kyle Weatherman21717000-205
24Blaine Perkins17917000-243
25Hailie Deegan #17417000-248

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Chicago Legend Buddy Guy to Join NASCAR Chicago Street Race for a Special Main Stage Performance on July 6 – NASCAR has announced that one of Chicago’s most beloved legends, Buddy Guy, will play a special set at the Chicago Street Race Weekend on Saturday, July 6. One of Rolling Stone’s “greatest guitarists of all time,” the hometown icon will bring his hallmark Chicago Blues sound to the main stage, following a special 40th Anniversary Chicago House Music showcase.

“Last year’s Chicago Street Race was a great opportunity to put Chicago center-stage and I’m excited to join the lineup,” said Guy. “The Blues is like gumbo. I can tell you how good it is, but you won’t know until you taste it for yourself. I’m looking forward to the chance to introduce more fans to that Chicago feel, Chicago flavor, and most importantly – that Chicago sound.”

Buddy Guy is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to the city’s halcyon days of electric blues. Buddy Guy has received eight GRAMMY Awards, a 2015 Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award, 38 Blues Music Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, a Kennedy Center Honor, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone ranked him #23 in its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

“Whether it’s our food and beverage, corporate sponsors, community partners, and certainly our entertainment, we want to make sure we’re showcasing Chicago to a global audience of millions,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “When you think about Chicago music, you think about Buddy Guy, so we know his set will add to the signature Chicago experience for our race attendees.”

Guy is set to perform on the main stage on Saturday, July 6 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. CT, following the conclusion of the House Music 40th Anniversary Celebration, which includes Chicago icons Bad Boy Bill, Byron Stingily (Ten City), Chip E., Curtis McClain, Dajae, The Good Girls (DJ Lady D, Lori Branch & Vitigrrl), Lidell Townsell, Marshall Jefferson, Maurice Joshua, The Outhere Brothers, Ralphi Rosario, Wayne Williams of the Chosen Few, and White Knight.

Guy’s set will lead directly into the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, The Loop 110, which will be broadcast nationally on NBC. The Black Keys, one of the most successful rock bands of the last two decades, will take to the main stage from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CT, before global superstars The Chainsmokers close out the evening from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CT. A special NASCAR Cup Series driver reveal will lead into the Chainsmokers set, as part of the group’s triumphant return to the Chicago Street Race.

The next day, global country superstars Keith Urban and Lauren Alaina will headline Sunday’s events at the Chicago Street Race in Grant Park.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – Richard Childress Racing’s Jesse Love further extends his lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 504 points following his third-place finish at Nashville this past weekend. The 19-year-old rookie this season has one win, four top fives, and eight top 10’s.

Ninety-eight points behind Love is Shane van Gisbergen with 406 points in total. Van Gisbergen is the only other rookie to reach Victory Lane with two wins to his name.

Leland Honeyman Jr. has earned 240 points throughout the season, while Hailie Deegan rounds out the rookie points standings with 174 points.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Pocono’s ‘Tricky Triangle’ awaits the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will take a week off to fine-tune their trucks before heading to Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 175 on Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, the 14 previous CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the triangular 2.5-mile track have produced 12 different race winners and nine different pole winners. Four races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2018.

Since the track’s inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race, Cup Series regular Kyle Busch has been the only repeat winner (2015, 2018, 2023). No full-time CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver has ever returned to Victory Lane.

The CRC Brakleen 175 will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 15 laps, followed by another 15 in the second stage, and the final stage will be 40 laps for a race total of 70 laps (175 miles). 

Practice will begin Friday, July 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Conquerors of the ‘Tricky Triangle’

Five current full-time drivers have experience winning at Pocono Raceway outside of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series – Grant Enfinger (2016), Christian Eckes (Spring 2019), Ty Majeski (Fall 2019), Corey Heim (2021), and Taylor Gray (2022) have each taken the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series at the 2.5-mile track.

Notably, all five competitors recorded a top-10 finish in last year’s Truck Series race at Pocono.

Eckes and Heim are already multi-winners this season and have locked themselves into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs. Enfinger, Majeski, and Gray will look to grab their first victory of the season next weekend at the Tricky Triangle.

Let’s take a look at each driver’s CRAFTSMAN Truck Series performance history at the 2.5-mile track:

Grant Enfinger: The veteran behind the wheel of the No. 9 CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet has made seven starts at Pocono Raceway recording one top five and three top 10s. Last year, the 39-year-old finished fifth in the Pocono Truck race.

Christian Eckes: The series’ points leader, who pilots the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet, has consistently ran in the top 10 each week – the only exception being at Atlanta (32nd) due to brake failure. The Middletown, New York native has made five starts posting one top-five and three top 10s as well as led 15 laps. Following Nashville, the 23-year-old has led 14 consecutive races – the second longest in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history, behind only Mike Skinner (19 consecutive races led from 2006-2007). Last year, Eckes finished seventh at the famed track.

Ty Majeski: The driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford has made four starts at the Tricky Triangle racking-up two top 10s. Despite starting 34th last year, the Seymour, Wisconsin native persevered to a sixth-place finish.

Corey Heim: Undergoing a tremendous season thus far, the driver behind the wheel of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota is on the hunt to become the first driver to win multiple Regular Season Championships in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. The Marietta, Georgia native has posted two top fives and two top 10s in just two starts at the 2.5-mile Pocono track as well as led 27 laps. The 21-year-old finished second last year.

Taylor Gray: The driver of the No. 17 TRICON Garage Toyota is on track to a have a career-best season. In just one start at Pocono Raceway, the Denver, North Carolina native has posted one top five and one top 10. The 19-year-old finished third last year.

Three To Go: Eckes can almost taste the Regular Season Championship

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes continues his breakout year after a historic run at Nashville Superspeedway, leading flag-to-flag and becoming the fourth different driver in NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history to complete the feat, joining Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Timothy Peters.

Track
Winner
Start
Finish
Date
Led
Completed
1
Bristol
Timothy Peters
2
1
8/22/2012
204
204
2
Louisville
Ron Hornaday Jr
4
1
7/12/1997
225
225
3
Bristol
Ron Hornaday Jr
1
1
6/21/1997
200
200
4
LOR
Mike Skinner
1
1
8/1/1996
200
200
5
Sonoma
Ron Hornaday Jr
1
1
10/7/1995
40
40
6
LOR
Mike Skinner
1
1
8/3/1995
150
150
7
Portland
Mike Skinner
1
1
5/5/1995
200
200
8
Nashville
Christian Eckes
3
1
6/28/2024
150
150

Eckes currently holds the driver points lead in the series with three races left in the regular season.

The 23-year-old is currently 40 points up on Corey Heim in second as the series takes a week to regroup and strategize before returning at Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 175 on Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

If Eckes can hold on and win the Regular Season Championship, he will get an additional 15 Playoff points to take with him into the postseason and will become the eighth different driver to win the regular season title; joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020), John H. Nemechek (2021), Zane Smith (2022) and Corey Heim (2023).

The Middletown, New York Native has accumulated three wins, seven top-five, and 12 top-10 finishes this season. He also leads the series in laps led this season with 612.

But the driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still three wins and 180 points available.

Time Is Running Out: Six CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff spots left

As the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series prepares for Pocono Raceway, four drivers have earned their spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins – Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth – leaving six spots in the 10-driver Playoff field still available at Pocono Raceway.

With only three races in the regular season remaining, time is running out to secure the final postseason transfer spot, and with six spots available we know for sure at least three spots will be occupied by drivers on points.

Following Nashville Superspeedway, Daniel Dye is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook, 14 points back from Tanner Gray in the 10th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Just behind Dye is Stewart Friesen in 12th, -17 points back from the postseason cutoff, and three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton is 13th, -54 points back from Gray.

Since the introduction of the Playoffs in the series in 2016, Matt Crafton has not missed the Playoffs, and he leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in postseason appearances with eight consecutive (2016-2023).

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Clinch Scenarios for Pocono:

Can clinch via points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 111 points above the 5th winless driver in the standings.

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 45 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Tyler Ankrum:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 47 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Taylor Gray:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 49 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Ben Rhodes or a new winner lower in the standings still eligible for the Playoffs:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 50 points

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Ty Majeski, Tyler Ankrum, Taylor Gray, Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Tanner Gray, Daniel Dye, Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Chase Purdy, Jake Garcia, Layne Riggs, Dean Thompson, Ty Dillon, Bayley Currey, Bret Holmes, Timmy Hill, Matt Mills, Mason Massey, Lawless Alan, Spencer Boyd

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

2024 Sunoco Rookie of the Year breakdown – Layne Riggs continues to dominate the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following 13 races in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford now sits 130 points over Connor Jones and 158 points over Thadd Moffitt. Jones, the driver of the No. 66 ThorSport Racing Ford was the highest finishing rookie at Nashville (12th).

NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings 
RookiesPointsAwards
Layne Riggs2647
Connor Jones1344
Thadd Moffitt1062

NASCAR PR