NASCAR: Tree-hugger rips Chicago race to shreds

–by David G. White is, Humboldt Park to the Chicago Sun-Times

“At a time when climate change is impacting the world in increasingly direct and catastrophic ways, why is there no discussion of the egregious waste of resources and contribution to air pollution that an event like Chicago’s upcoming NASCAR race represents?

“More than the inconvenience of closed-off streets and the noise pollution that will fill downtown for several days running, this is the concern that should really be addressed. We’re not just “fiddling” — we’re stoking the flames while Rome burns (and chokes to death).

“Sometime this summer, I need to visit Nebraska. The time is approaching when July 1-2 will be perfect, to avoid the NASCAR chaos in downtown Chicago.

“The idea that we gave over our streets and parks to this group, over Independence Day weekend no less, is mind-boggling. Chicago will not be going green during this race.

“Nebraska will be clean, quiet and safe.

“What can Mayor Brandon Johnson do to get us out of this disaster next year?”

NASCAR expects 50,000 per day

NASCAR is spending an eye-popping $50 million to stage the race and has acknowledged that it doesn’t expect to turn a profit this year. Instead, the aim is to introduce the sport to new audiences, grow its fan base and demonstrate its ability to be innovative with its schedule.

NASCAR is promoting the event itself and has said it expects 50,000 people a day. Event President Julie Giese said sales are on track to hit that target, and that more than 70% of attendees will be going to their first NASCAR race, according to the sport’s database.

Tickets aren’t cheap, given NASCAR’s level of investment, and those prices have generated some criticism among fans and residents. General admission tickets start at $269. Reserved grandstand seats start at $465, the Pit Road Terrace club starts at $1,265, and the President’s Paddock Club starts at $3,015. NASCAR is handling hospitality sales.

NASCAR also has invested heavily in a festival at Grant Park that will accompany the race weekend. The multiple, full-length concerts are included in the price of admission and feature performances by The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, The Black Crowes and Charley Crockett. Four Leaf Productions is producing the concerts as well as building the premium hospitality areas.

NASCAR has a three-year deal with the city of Chicago, though the agreement was negotiated with the administration of the prior mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who has since been replaced. NASCAR pays Chicago a permit fee of $500,000, $2 per ticket sold, and 15% of the net commissions on concessions and merchandise.

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