RCR Race Preview: Chicago Street Race

The Chicago Street Race is one of the boldest, most exciting moves in NASCAR’s 75-year history … Chicago is a top three market for NASCAR fans, and for the first time ever we are bringing stock car racing to its iconic downtown streets where we’re building a 2.2 mile, 12-turn street course that not only showcases this amazing city to 100,000 fans in person, but to the millions that watch NASCAR every week.


More Than a Race Race weekend in Chicago will also feature a variety of musical acts July 1-2, including The Black Crowes, The Chainsmokers, Charles Crockett, and Miranda Lambert.


NASCAR Racing in Chicago NASCAR has a rich tradition in Chicago, with the Cup Series competing at four different tracks dating back to 1954 at Santa Fe Speedway. Other tracks to host NASCAR’s premier series include Soldier Field (1956-1957), Chicago Motor Speedway (2000-2001) and Chicagoland Speedway (2001-2019). 


RCR: A Winning Tradition in the Windy City Richard Childress Racing racked up seven victories across four NASCAR series at Chicagoland Speedway. Kevin Harvick won the inaugural Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile track, his second career win and added another Cup victory in 2002. Harvick won twice in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2005 and 2007) while Elliott Sadler added a NXS win in 2012. In 2011, both Austin Dillon (Truck Series) and Ty Dillon (ARCA) were victorious at Chicagoland Speedway. 


Catch the Action The Loop 121 at Chicago Street Course will be televised live on Saturday, July 1 beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET on USA and the NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. 


Follow Sunday’s Action at the Chicago Street Course The Grant Park 220 at Chicago Street Course will be televised live on Sunday, July 2 beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Chicago Street Race The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Chicago for its inaugural race on the city’s street course. This marks a significant moment in NASCAR’s 75-year history, as they gear up to race on the first-ever street course in the series. Although racing through the streets of Chicago is new, Austin Dillon is no stranger to road course racing. Dillon has racked up 30 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses with a pair of top 10 finishes at Circuit of the Americas and the Charlotte ROVAL in 2022. The last NASCAR race in Chicago was at Chicagoland Speedway in 2019, 50 miles from the Chicago Street Race. Dillon won the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series event and finished 10th that day.


Delivering Performance on the Track and For the Planet Dillon will race the Get Bioethanol Chevy at the Chicago Street Race, showcasing the performance benefits of racing with earth kind and engine-smart bioethanol blended fuel, Sunoco Green E15. Whether it’s delivering cleaner and cooler high-octane on the racetrack or a more affordable option for summer road trips, plant-based bioethanol makes a positive impact on our planet. NASCAR drivers have raced more than 20 million NASCAR miles driven on Sunoco Green E15, a notable milestone for the environment as NASCAR’s partnership with Get Bioethanol has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent across its three national touring series while also increasing horsepower on the track. Learn more about bioethanol at getbioethanol.com.


Meet Dillon Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance on behalf of Coca-Cola at Portillo’s in downtown Chicago (520 W. Taylor Street) on Saturday, July 1 at 4 p.m. Local Time.



What are your thoughts on racing through the streets of Chicago?

“I see the Chicago Street Race as an opportunity to win the trophy in the Inaugural race. The track presents several possibilities as there may be some wrecks due to the tight racing for these types of cars. It’s a chance for one team to hit the setup right and win the race. As someone who has raced on road courses throughout my career, racing on a street course will be a different challenge for me. I’ve never done a street race in any form of racing. However, my No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet team and I have spent a lot of time on the simulator to prepare for this course. We will figure it out and put on a show.”


Are you looking forward to the challenge of the Chicago Street Race and how do you prepare for this type of track?

I think we need to look at street racing in the past with different series and try to understand the track from the simulator. The track walk is going to be important; it will be the first time we see the track in person and get to see some of the trouble spots. A couple of things that will stand out to me will be how the car reacts to going over the manhole covers and how the tires wear from the roughness of the street. I’m really excited about this new experience and can’t wait to get to Chicago.”


Do you consider the Chicago Street Race a wild card?

“100%. The Chicago Street Race is a wild card. It’s the first street course in NASCAR’s 75-year history. I’ve been on the simulator to prepare for Chicago and it’s fun, by myself, but when they put 40 cars on that course it’s going to be wild. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out. It’s going to be a hot race, so hydrating leading up to the race will be critical. Qualifying is probably going to be the toughest session we have all season because the course is so tight, and it will be harder to pass than it is on other road courses we go to. You will want to be at the front as much as possible.”

Kyle Busch and the No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Chicago Street Race… Kyle Busch will be making his 50th career NASCAR Cup Series road course start this weekend on the streets of Chicago. Busch has four victories in 49 previous road course events, winning twice at Sonoma Raceway (2008 and 2015) and twice at Watkins Glen (2008 and 2103). Busch also has two pole positions in road course competition, both at Watkins Glen (2011 and 2017). He has been remarkably consistent in road course events, piling up 27 top-10 finishes (a top-10 finish in 55.10 percent of his starts). Busch has led 421 laps on road courses and has been running at the finish in 46 of 49 starts. Busch scored a ninth-place finish this past weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, his fifth consecutive top-10 and 10th in 17 races this season.


Did You Know? Over the last six NASCAR Cup Series races, Busch has climbed up seven positions in the regular season NASCAR driver standings. He enters Chicago in fifth-place, 48 points behind the leader.


Pass ‘Em Where Catch ‘Em… Busch made 129 green flag passes during Sunday’s race at Nashville, the most of any driver. 


Leading the Way… Busch leads all Cup Series drivers with two top-five finishes in both road course races this season. He scored second-place finishes at Circuit of the Americas and at Sonoma Raceway. Busch has 84 points in road course events, also a series best.


Road Warriors… The No. 8 team at RCR have been red hot on road courses. In the six road course races, the team has two wins, two second-place finishes and has finished no worse than eighth. Busch has finished second in both road racing events since joining the group in 2023. 


Fun Fact… Since partnering with Richard Childress Racing at the beginning of the 2022 season, 3CHI has gone to victory lane three times, most recently with Kyle Busch at World Wide Technology Raceway. 


3CHI Blazed the Trail for Another Industry First… 3CHI and Richard Childress Racing created another first with their partnership for the 2022 NASCAR season and will continue their partnership with Richard Childress Racing in 2023 with the No. 8 team and Kyle Busch. 3CHI began with roots as a CBD producer and quickly became a pioneer in science-based hemp and cannabis innovation. The company was the first to commercially develop and market Delta 8 THC, and today, 3CHI is an industry leader with unsurpassed product quality and purity as verified by top independent labs and benchmark organizations. 3CHI products are sold in a majority of the United States, and the company produces and markets a variety of gummies, tinctures, lotions, edibles and vape products. All 3CHI products meet federal requirements for full legal compliance, with a commitment to promoting responsible adult use. See 3CHI.com for more information.



How important is it for NASCAR as a sport to be able to race on the streets of a major city like Chicago?

“I feel like the Chicago Street Race is a really cool opportunity. It’s going to be a challenge for sure so it will definitely be an interesting race. I’m curious to kind of see the layout and how it all really works. At the same time, it’s going to be a great venue for the city of Chicago and for NASCAR. They’re really making a big weekend out of it so it should be a good time. It might not be the most fun race that we do, just with the technicality of the racecourse and how narrow it is and street racing with big, heavy stock cars.”


Will the Chicago Street Race be the most challenging Cup race that you’ve ever competed in?

“I believe the Chicago Street Race will be one of the most challenging races that Cup has ever seen for sure. Yeah, we’re racing cars that were kind of made for road racing, but they’re still 3,600 pounds and big, heavy stock cars and we’re trying to run them on streets and rough streets at that. Really tight, 90-degree corners so everything is going to be super, super close action, tight quarters, bumping and banging and probably hitting some barriers here and there. It’s going to be a heck of a show and a very interesting one at that, especially being the first time with nobody really knowing what to expect.”


Qualifying and track position are important at every race, but will that be even more so at the street race?

“I do believe that track position and qualifying will be very important. I don’t know about pit selection but you can say that number one pit box is typically the best so you always want to get that or even an opening out. But with road course racing you typically don’t pit as a field, although the street race could have a lot of cautions and could lend itself to being a lot of traffic on pit road. It’s going to be an interesting one for sure.” 

Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS at the Chicago Street Race… As the NASCAR industry embarks on the inaugural street course race in Chicago, Sheldon Creed will join the Xfinity Series field in making his first career start at the 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit. The Alpine, California native has prepared for this event by making countless simulator laps both at the GM Tech Center and on his personal iRacing rig. 


Did You Know? While Creed has never competed on the streets of the Windy City, the 25-year-old spent numerous years racing in Stadium Super Trucks and has familiarity with competing on street courses. Creed acknowledges that the experience of driving between two concrete barriers could play into his hand.


Proudly American… To celebrate the United States of America’s Independence Day, Whelen will showcase a special patriotic scheme on Creed’s No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro at the Chicago Street Course. Every Whelen product is proudly designed, sourced, and manufactured from start to finish at their two facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire.


About Whelen Engineering… Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.



What have you done in preparation for this weekend’s race at the Chicago Street Race?

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the simulator – at both the GM Tech Center and at home on my iRacing rig – just making laps and getting accustomed to the track surroundings as much as possible. I spent some time on the sim with Scott Speed and Josh Wise. There obviously isn’t any past video footage to watch, so simulation is the best thing we have to get a feel of the layout. The track walk and practice will both be very important.”


What are your expectations for the course? Are you good with adapting to changing conditions? 

“The simulation tells us the surface is rough, but we don’t know how rough until we get there. We don’t know how fast the corners are or how tight the wall-to-wall area is. We have an idea based on the sim, but until we get on site, it’s a little unknown. It could be slow, or you may be able to roll some speed through the corners. To me, it’s fun going to new tracks and having to figure it out quickly. I feel like I adapt fast compared to others, so if we can go and qualify up front, I think we have a really good chance at staying up front.”


Given your Stadium Super Trucks experience, will anything translate to this weekend?

“I’ve raced on quite a few street courses in my Stadium Truck days. The vehicles are different, but I’m comfortable racing between the walls. It is very narrow, so having awareness with what that feels like could help us compared to others. I’ve competed on street courses in Detroit, Long Beach, Florida, and a bunch in Australia too.” 

Austin Hill and the No. 21 Global Industrial Chevrolet Camaro SS at the Chicago Street Race… With the NASCAR industry taking over the streets of Chicago for the inaugural street course race, Austin Hill will join the Xfinity Series field in making his first career start at the 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit. In preparation for Saturday’s The Loop 121, the Winston, Georgia native has spent hours making laps on simulators at the GM Tech Center and Richard Childress Racing’s shop.


Billboard Man… Embarking on a Chicago takeover, Global Industrial has showcased Hill and the No. 21 Chevrolet on billboards around the Windy City. Since 1949, Global Industrial has been Chicago’s premier industrial supplier and continues to provide solutions to keep businesses running like a well-oiled machine.


One for One… Hill has driven the Global Industrial Chevrolet one prior time this season, earning a victory in dramatic fashion at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 29-year-old driver will look to continue his perfect streak for the New York-based brand and supply the value-added distributor their second checkered flag of 2023.


About Global Industrial Company… Global Industrial Company (NYSE:GIC), through its operating subsidiaries, is a value-added distributor. For more than 70 years, Global Industrial has gone the extra mile for its customers and offers more than a million industrial and MRO products, including its own Global Industrial Exclusive Brands™. With extensive product knowledge and a solutions-based approach, Global Industrial helps customers solve problems to be more successful. At Global Industrial, “We can supply that®.”



What are your expectations heading into the inaugural event on the Chicago Street Race?

“It’s hard to say and predict what will happen during the race. Our Global Industrial team has put in a tremendous amount of effort in preparation for this weekend and done our homework to be as ready as possible. I have spent a ton of time on the simulator – at the GM Tech Center, Richard Childress Racing, and even at home on my iRacing rig. Same as my prep before making my first start at Sonoma Raceway earlier this month, one of the keys for me personally is knowing the track layout. I’ve studied the map and made laps on the sim to get myself as acquainted to the track layout as possible. This not only helps provide the specific feedback needed to my team, but to understand what is coming next on track. I’m excited to get there and see what the surface looks like in person.”


Between now and the end of the regular season, what does your team need to do to become playoff ready?

“Our team can do a better job of maximizing stage points a little more. I have personally been working hard to get better on our qualifying efforts. It seems like each and every week, it’s hit or miss. Some weeks, we qualify decent and then other weeks, we have to dig ourselves out of a hole at the beginning. Getting clean air at the start of our races is huge. The biggest thing that we want to do though is get stage wins. Each point goes into the playoffs, and you have those bonus points to fall back and lean on if needed. Obviously, our goal is to win each week, so winning as many races as we can before the regular season is over is the second priority.”