ROBERT CHANNICK Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — The soundtrack to the inaugural NASCAR Chicago Street Race, set to turn Grant Park into a pop-up racetrack during the Fourth of July weekend, will include more than screeching tires and roaring engines.
In addition to 200-mph racecars, the two-day event will feature full-length concerts ranging from country to electronic dance, headlined by Miranda Lambert, The Chainsmokers and The Black Crowes, NASCAR announced Wednesday.
NASCAR expects 100,000 participants to attend a Lollapalooza-style festival designed to “reimagine the NASCAR experience in the heart of downtown Chicago,” Julie Giese, president of the Chicago Street Race, said in a news release.
The televised Cup Series event, scheduled for July 2, will feature a 12-turn, 2.2-mile racetrack, with top NASCAR drivers weaving in and around Grant Park on blocked-off streets lined with temporary fences, stands and hotel suites. Texas singer-songwriter Charley Crockett opens for country superstar Lambert before the race.
A separate Xfinity Series race, the second tier of NASCAR competition, is scheduled for July 1. Southern rockers The Black Crowes, best known for their 1990 cover of “Hard to Handle,” will take the stage after the qualifying rounds, while The Chainsmokers, an electronic dance music duo, will perform after the first day’s races are done.
Two-day general admission tickets, which include the races and concerts, start at $269 and go on sale February 2.
In November, NASCAR began selling two-day reserved tickets starting at $465. Premium club seats run much higher. At the top of the list are temporary hospitality suites located above pit road, where tickets to the President’s Paddock Club cost more than $3,000 each.
NASCAR entered into a three-year agreement to transform the Grant Park grounds into a racetrack. Under the terms of the agreement, NASCAR will pay the Chicago Park District a permit fee of $500,000 this year, $550,000 in 2024 and $605,000 in 2025, with an option to renew for two years. In addition, NASCAR will pay the Park District a fee of $2 per admission ticket and an escalating commission starting at 15% for food, beverages and merchandise sold at the event.
The course starts on Columbus Drive in front of Buckingham Fountain, an area that will also serve as pit road. From there, drivers will head south to Balbo Drive and then jog east toward DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Heading south along the lake, drivers will turn west on Roosevelt Road and work back north on Columbus Drive in a rough figure eight that will take in a stretch of South Michigan Avenue before reaching the start/finish line.
NASCAR has full access to the racetrack area for nine days before and three days after the event. But the total gap — the process of building and tearing down the temporary facilities — runs a full month, starting three weeks before race weekend, according to the agreement.
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