NASCAR: Chicago residents up in arms over downtown NASCAR race

Chicago’s Grant Park will be booked 84 days between May 18 and Aug. 13 to stage events, including a NASCAR street race.

The Taste, a Chicago a 43 year tradition, does not appear on the schedule.

Special events will dominate Grant Park this summer, with the controversial NASCAR race able to take up at least part of the park for nearly six weeks for its inaugural Chicago race, new records show.

Reports from Crain’s last summer forecasted a two-week takeover of the park for the race. Then, August records showed the city extended organizers’ access to the site to 21 days before the race and 10 days after, Crain’s reported.

Now, race leaders can start setting up 26 days in advance, and they have 13 days to clean up, records show. But wait, it gets worse.

Asked why the Park District has given NASCAR 39 days for teardown and setup, spokesperson Michele Lemons said the time allotted for setup does not necessarily mean the entire park will be closed.

“This was a planning disaster,” Councilman Brendan Reilly told The Daily Line, adding that he requested the schedule be held at this time.

The Grant Park summer events schedule:


  • Setup: May 18-26
  • Festival: May 27-28
  • Teardown: May 29-June 1


  • Setup: June 5-30
  • Race: July 1-2
  • Teardown: July 3-July 15


  • Setup: July 17-Aug. 2
  • Festival: Aug. 3-6
  • Teardown: Aug. 7-13

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city’s partnership with NASCAR in July, revealing the races will be held Downtown over the next three years on a track starting in Grant Park.

A Crain’s report at the time revealed the permit for the event spanned 14 days: June 22-July 5. But more recent Park District records show the setup, teardown and the event itself will take 41 days in Grant Park.