NASCAR makes changes to Chicago street race plans after backlash
CHICAGO - NASCAR has announced changes to its Chicago street race plans after concerns were raised from neighbors, businesses, and Museum Campus.
To minimize disruptions, the timeline for barrier installations will be reduced by at least a week.
Additionally, NASCAR is making strong efforts to keep the Museum Campus accessible to pedestrians and traffic, and ensuring that South Loop residents can access dog and skate parks.
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To cut down on noise pollution, NASCAR is testing mufflers and plans to retrofit the vehicles with them.
Chicago street race officials will also minimize the time the cars are on the track and ensure that entertainment ends no later than 10 p.m. each night.
"I will give NASCAR credit that they really are making a sincere effort to make this event work for all of Chicago," said Ald. Brian Hopkins (D-2). "You can tell they don't want this to be a one-off; that they don't want the contract canceled after one year."
NASCAR Chicago Street Race released the following statement, outlining the changes:
- Made strong efforts to ensure the Museum Campus will continue to be accessible via pedestrian and vehicle traffic
- We have reduced a majority of the barrier installation schedule by at least a week from initial timelines, working hard to reduce disruptions
- We carved out a part of our footprint for local residents in the South Loop to maintain access to their dog and skate park
- The structure builds in and around the park will be primarily focused on/near the sidewalks. We are working hard to maintain access to the park green space and Buckingham Fountain as long as possible during set-up and teardown
- NASCAR has been testing mufflers and race cars running the Chicago Street Race will be retrofitted with special mufflers that are expected to decrease noise by 10 decibels.
- Minimizing amount of time cars are "on track" over the 2-day period. We are committed to keeping the on-track time under 10 hours and cars won’t be running on-track before 10 a.m.
- Entertainment will end no later than 10pm each night or earlier if possible.
Still, Hopkins said many downtown neighbors are "skeptical" about the race and that it's a wait-and-see situation whether NASCAR will be back in future years.
"[Neighbors] were initially told that the setup and takedown would just be a few days, then it turned into a few weeks, then it was a month," Hopkins said.
"There's only so much they can do to minimize the impact of this event on downtown during the summer months, you know, when people want to be there. They want to see Buckingham Fountain. You know, we want Taste of Chicago to continue in its more traditional time slot in summer rather than after Labor Day. So, NASCAR is going as far as they can. But there's still some things that cause concern for downtown residents," the alderman added.