NASCAR President Steve Phelps is not nervous about the Chicago Street race compared to the Inaugural LA Clash


NASCAR President Steve Phelps is not nervous about the Chicago Street race compared to the Inaugural LA Clash

Steve Phelps

The Chicago Street Race will make its NASCAR debut next season, replacing the Road America from the schedule. It has been one of the most controversial decisions taken by the sport’s controlling body recently. Along with some political factors, the notoriety of the Chicago downtown being a rough neighborhood also create distaste among fans.

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There is more than just one challenge to overcome for NASCAR in Chicago. This is the debut of street racing to the premier stock car racing championship, and its success is vital for the organization going forward. The financial and entertainment hit of the event will also be crucial for the cup series.

NASCAR can draw parallels with the LA Clash at the Callosum that debuted at the start of 2022. The season opener exhibition race was moved from Daytona to LA in 2022 to attract more fans. There were many uncertainties over the race, as it was the first race of the Next Gen car and the first time it was run on a 0.25-mile track. But NASCAR President Steve Phelps does not have similar concerns over the Chicago race as he had with the Clash.

We have a lot of work to do, and it’s the single biggest lift of a race that we’ve ever had. I believe that to be true, and there’s no hyperbole in that at all. We’ve got a person that’s overseeing that, Julie Giese, who’s terrific…it’s a heavy lift. But I’m not nervous,”  Steve Phelps said.

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I’m really not. And I think part of it is because much of this is in our control as opposed to the car itself (debuting at the Coliseum), where a lot of it was outside of our control with many unknowns. Chicago is going to be really hard, but I’m excited about what it’s going to be,”. Steve Phelps added.

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The Chicago Street Race will be a proof point for NASCAR to grow in the future, according to Steve Phelps

Steve Phelps
Chicago Mayer along with Bubba Wallace and NASCAR officials in the announcement of the latest Chicago street race (1)

Phelps pointed out that fans can expect some surprises in the 2024 schedule and added that it would not come at the cost of traditional races. He said,  “I don’t know what the 2024 schedule is going to look like, but we’ll have some surprises in there. I know we will. Because we’re going to challenge ourselves to think differently, and it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to race in traditional places,”.  

The clash, the street race, and the upcoming North Wilkesboro All-Star race are all proof points, according to Steve Phelps. He said, “The Coliseum was the proof point. The street course in Chicago is a proof point. Going back and redeveloping what’s happening in North Wilkesboro is a proof point,”.

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The bar is set high for NASCAR, and they must deliver each time to grow. He said, “The bar is set high, but we must keep raising it because that’s ultimately what the fans will react to. And every time we make one of these changes, our television ratings are up, and our attendance is up, and that’s what we need to do to continue to grow,”.

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