NASCAR Chicago Street Race is in the rear-view mirror; when will streets reopen?

NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race Weekend ended Sunday, but some streets within the racecourse won’t reopen until mid-July.

Soon after the checkered flag was flown following the Grant Park 220, attention turned to reopening streets in and around Grant Park.

As crews work to dismantle the track wall, fencing, and viewing structures, the city has prioritized the reopening of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

Northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive reopened Monday morning.

On Tuesday, July 4, southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive and Roosevelt Road will begin reopening.

"I thought it went very well, I’ve had a great time. The city has been very accommodating, it was easy for me to get around, but I’m across the street. Now, of course for people who live in Chicago, I’m sure it caused some disruptions, especially to businesses, but that’s what happens when you have a very big event in your city," said Napoleon Higgins, who is visiting from Houston. "I love Chicago. Chicago gets a bad rap around the country, but it’s a lovely place to me."

Despite heavy weekend rains, fans from around the globe showed out for NASCAR's first-ever street race in Chicago.

Mother Nature may have caused a few extra bumps on the course, but the two-day event wasn't overshadowed by cloudy skies.

"Hey, listen, I’m from Houston, it rains all the time," said Napoleon Higgins.

"It was still worth it," said Mathias Barrios, who is visiting from California.


Once the excitement came to a close on Sunday night, crews got the green light to tear down – even working overnight to make Grant Park's transition from a race track as seamless as possible.

"We stayed right here at the Hilton so it was really easy to walk, but I assume for people who live here, it was a bit of a difficulty with half of the city being shut down," said Nadia Higgins.

Southbound lanes of Michigan Avenue were back open Monday, but northbound lanes were still blocked.

"We’re out of town, so we don’t have to live through the road closures and whatnot but we thought it was great," said Charley Moore, who is visiting from New York.

Most streets lining the perimeter of Grant Park will be operational by Wednesday, but some of the interior streets are expected to take longer to reopen.

On July 6, Congress Plaza Drive is slated to reopen.

Balbo Drive will reopen on July 13 – the last street to be cleared, according to NASCAR’s own schedule.

Justin Haley, driver of the #31 Benesch Law Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course on July 02, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Some visitors were even making the most of road closures Monday.

"It’s been great, you can get the bikes around because some of the streets are closed to the traffic," said Jamie Zaroff.

Despite the inconvenience for some, locals said they, too, enjoyed the inaugural event.

"For a first-time event, it was kind of exciting to see it getting set up, but it was also kind of confining. That being said, it was a fun event to watch, I think I understand NASCAR a little bit more," said Barbara Psimoulis, who lives downtown. "Now I just hope the cleanup goes quicker than the setup."

Crews have until July 15 to finish the job.

Then, residents will have about one week to enjoy Grant Park – uninterrupted – before setup for Lollapalooza starts on July 21.

The four-day music festival kicks off Thursday, Aug. 3.

The City of Chicago signed a three-year contract with NASCAR.

A NASCAR spokesperson tells FOX 32 Chicago they fully intend on returning next year and are looking forward to it.

Tickets for NASCAR’s inaugural Chicago Street Race Weekend were purchased by residents in all 50 states and in 14 countries.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.