NASCAR will not use the Chicagoland track in Joliet, IL for its 2021 racing. No NASCAR races were held this summer, either.
Joliet’s NASCAR track now has a murky future and it’s possible that NASCAR racing is over for Joliet and Will County.
The track opened in the late 1990s and for a number of years, it enjoyed hosting two NASCAR races, huge revenue for the Joliet region, notably the motels and hotels throughout Will County.
On Tuesday evening, WJOL Morning Show Host Scott Slocum reported the news to his Facebook followers, asking them, “Have we seen the last racing ever at Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway in Joliet. Property could be home to more warehouses in the future?”
WJOL’s story on the NASCAR shakeup that puts Joliet in bad shape can be read here.
Rumors suggest the track could be plowed under to make room for more warehouses, or sold. But who would buy it to keep it open as a race track? The only other series that runs ovals is IndyCar, and Roger Penske is not going to buy it.
The usually development friendly Plan Commission on Thursday turned down plans for warehouses outside the Chicagoland Speedway and a gas station on Route 6.
Both plans still will go to the City Council in September for a final vote.
But Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and council members have also said they favor a moratorium on warehouse development along Route 53 after approving the controversial NorthPoint project in April.
Chicagoland Speedway is located along Route 53, and the warehouse plan already faced resistance when it was presented to the council’s Economic Development Committee in July.
Plan Commission members who in the past approved Route 53 warehouse projects amid objections that they would add to truck congestion made the kind of comments about traffic that they had heard in at past meetings from residents trying to slow down development.
“We all know that 53 is a mess as it is,” Commissioner Brigette Fiday said as she argued that the Chicagoland Speedway proposal would add to congestion.
“As much as I like development, I think this is a great project just at the wrong time,” Commissioner Jim Capparelli said. “The traffic there is just atrocious.”
Capparelli added that the commissioners “have been getting a lot of pushback from residents and people. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves before we see those traffic issues addressed.”
Commission Chairman John Dillon noted that the NorthPoint project was approved with a condition that the developer build a bridge over Route 53 to keep trucks off the highway, The Chicagoland Speedway plan would add to Route 53 traffic, he said.