21 Team Ready To Take to the Streets of Chicago

For years, NASCAR insiders and the sport’s fans were conditioned to look on the Fourth of July weekend as a time to return to Daytona International Speedway for the traditional start to the second half of the season.

But starting last year, NASCAR’s elite Cup Series celebrates Independence Day weekend with a race on the streets of Chicago.

The inaugural event on the 12-turn, 2.2-mile course was plagued by torrential rains, but the race still was a crowd pleaser.

Now the circuit returns, and Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are hoping for sunny skies and a strong run on the most unique course on the circuit.

“I’ll admit I was a skeptic when the Chicago street race was announced last year,” crew chief Jeremy Bullins said. “But considering the rain and everything else that went on I was so impressed with the crowd of fans that stuck it out that I really can’t wait to go back.

“I hope we can have some better weather and put on a good race for the fans.”

He said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has had more speed and opportunities to finish well in recent weeks, and he hopes to build on that this weekend.

“We’ve had some decent momentum swinging our way lately, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with our Motorcraft Mustang this week,” he said.

Practice for the Grant Park 165 is set for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. Eastern Time) to be followed by qualifying at 12:30 p.m. (1:30 Eastern). USA Network will carry the TV broadcast.

Sunday’s 75-lap, 165-mile race is set to get the green flag just after 3:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.

Stage breaks are planned for Laps 20 and 45.