Chicago Motor Speedway
|Owner||Charles W. Bidwill III and Chip Ganassi|
|Construction cost||$70 million USD|
|Former names||Sportsman's Park|
|Major events||CART (1999-2002)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Sears Craftsman 175 (2000-2001)
American Speed Association(dates N/A)
|Length||1.656 km (1.029 mi)|
The Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportsman's Park located in Cicero, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, was built in 1999 by a group including Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2002 the 1.029-mile (1.656 km) oval shaped track suspended operations due to financial conditions in the motorsports industry. The track was also the site of horse races, when the track was called "Sportsman's Park". The track was one of two racetracks that hosted both auto and horse races (the other is Dover International Speedway).
Before 1999, the Sportsman's Park was one of the premier locations for horse racing in the area. Hawthorne Race Course, located right across the street to the south from the track, is the current host of the Illinois Derby. The two tracks operated together for decades.
In 1999, after the final season of the old Sportsman's Park, the main grandstand and infield were completely demolished to make way for the massive grandstand that was to follow. It was regarded as one of Chicago's most fateful days, as the end of the once grand racetrack drew near.
The track held CART races from 1999–2002, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2000 and 2001. Chicago Motor Speedway also held American Speed Association (ASA) races. Traditional horse races remained; this time as dirt was brought in over the racing surface. Problems with the hard surface led to several scratches by trainers and races being cancelled.
In 2001, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet was built in the hopes of attracting more racing fans and upper-level races; all Cicero races were subsequently moved to Joliet and the track closed. The few remaining horse races were transferred to Hawthorne.
Portions of the motion picture Driven were shot at Chicago Motor Speedway.
In 2003 the town of Cicero purchased the track for $18 million. During 2005 the main grandstands were torn down but the track itself remained.
On October 31, 2008 it was reported that contracts for the demolition of the remaining structures and track had been awarded.
Demolition of the remaining Sportsman's Park structures and the track itself began January 5, 2009.
The western portion of the site is now a Wirtz Beverage Group distribution center.
CART Champ Car history
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history
Mid-American Stock Car Series
- 1999 Mike Monroe
- "Sportsman's Park site nears long-awaited redevelopment". Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- Ruzich, Joseph (October 31, 2008). "Cicero racetrack will be razed to make way for mall". Chicago Tribune.
- Retro Racing article about Chicago Motor Speedway on NASCAR.com
- NASCAR CTS track history at racing-reference.info
- Aerial image from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
- Track statistics
- Cicero racetrack will be razed to make way for mall
- So Long Sportsmans - Good Riddance