The Inaugural NASCAR Street Race 

    Street Race in the front yard of                           The Cliff Dwellers

Editor’s Note: On July 1 and 2, 2023, in an unusual runup to the July 4th holiday, NASCAR ran its first ever Street Race in Chicago.  The recently ousted Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, had struck a three-year deal for NASCAR to proselytise in the Midwest in hopes of broadening its mostly southern fan base.  Chicago’s new Mayor, Brandon Johnson, had briefly considered trying to kill the deal, but he quickly  found safer footing and adopting a “wait and see” posture for the race’s future.  See the pictures.  See the Spinouts & Pileups.

Normally, the 180 degree view of Lake Michigan from The Cliff Dwellers’ 22nd-floor terrace is quietly breathtaking.  It stretches from Millennium Park and Navy Pier to the north, past the Adler Planetarium to the steel mills of Gary, Indiana on the south.  At The Cliff Dwellers brunches and barbeques for the races, the quietly breathtaking view from the Club terrace was replaced with  a thunderously breathtaking view .  That’s because those NASCAR race cars make one helluva racket.  Mother Nature did her best to befoul the races.  On Saturday, the race was cut short due to lightning.  Sunday the floods really arrived, with the morning race cancelled, and the big afternoon race starting late, and also being cut short.  As the Chicago Tribune noted:

“A man died by electrocution while setting up the event. Three of the five concerts and one of the two races were never completed. The main event was truncated, drivers crashed more than normal due to tight turns, and fans complained about poor communication on weather updates.”

The Tribune also reported that the four-hour Sunday broadcast on NBC averaged nearly 4.8 million viewers, making it the network’s most-watched Cup Series race in six years.  So on balance, I think most people thought it was fun and good for Chicago, with the major dissenting voices primarily coming from discombobulated near-Loop residents.

Do click on the picture below or its caption to see the many photos taken from The Cliff Dwellers gatherings, as well as a video with clips from the television coverage: