Chicagoland Speedway

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Coordinates: 41°28′29.4″N 88°03′25.55″W / 41.474833°N 88.0570972°W / 41.474833; -88.0570972
Chicagoland Speedway
Race Track
Chicagoland-Primary-CMYK low res.jpg
Chicagoland Speedway logo
Country United States
State Illinois
County Will
City Joliet
Address 500 Speedway Blvd., Joliet, Illinois, 60433
 - coordinates 41°28′29.4″N 88°03′25.55″W / 41.474833°N 88.0570972°W / 41.474833; -88.0570972
Length 1.500 mi (2.414 km),
D-Shaped Tri-Oval
Turns 18° Banking
 - Front Stretch 11° Banking
 - Backstretch 5° Banking
Major Events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Race Type Stock car
Material Asphalt
Opened July 2001
 - Broke Ground September 28, 1999
 - Architect HNTB
 - Contractor Bovis Lend Lease
 - Construction Cost $130 million
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Seats 75,000
Location of Chicagoland Speedway within Illinois.
Location of Chicagoland Speedway within Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Website: http://www.chicagolandspeedway.com

Chicagoland Speedway is a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) tri-oval speedway in Joliet, Illinois, USA, southwest of Chicago. The speedway opened in 2001 and currently hosts NASCAR racing including the opening event in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Until 2011, the speedway also hosted the IZOD IndyCar Series, recording numerous close finishes including the closest finish in IndyCar history. The speedway is owned and operated by International Speedway Corporation and located adjacent to Route 66 Raceway.

History[edit]

First discussions of building a major speedway near Chicago took place in an informal meeting between Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George and International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Bill France, Jr. in late 1995. Together they formed The Motorsports Alliance, a joint company owned by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation and International Speedway Corporation. By 1995, a major racing facility had been built or was near completion near Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The Chicago area was an untapped market for motorsports that had potential to be very lucrative.[1] In 1996, the search began for a site to build a speedway somewhere near Chicago. Several sites were considered, and a track was built in suburban Cicero (Chicago Motor Speedway), but eventually attention turned to the Joliet area where Dale Coyne had negotiated to build Route 66 Raceway. Coyne convinced Joliet officials to meet with the Motorsports Alliance to discuss building their speedway adjacent to Route 66 Raceway.[2] The success of Route 66 Raceway, completed in 1998, led to the city conducting an impact study of the proposed speedway. The study revealed the new speedway would generate $300 million for the Joliet and Will County region and over 3000 jobs.

The Joliet city council unanimously approved the speedway on January 19, 1999.[3] Following the approval, the Will County Board extended the Des Plains River Valley Enterprise Zone in order to give a tax break to the speedway developers. It was later found out that Will County Executive Chuck Adelman accepted a personal loan from George Barr, one of developers of the speedway. The tax break news also led to the Joliet High School district threatening to bail out of the enterprise zone, but a compromise was reached.[4] In May 1999, The Motorsports Alliance combined with Route 66 Raceway LLC to form Raceway Associates, LCC with Coyne as president alongside George and France.[5]

Raceway Associates revealed the track would be a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) d-shaped tri-oval superspeedway. Joie Chitwood III was named vice president and general manager of the facility. During the announcement, France stated the significance of the new speedway:

The construction of a major league racing facility of this magnitude and quality in the Chicago metropolitan market symbolizes the ongoing transformation of auto racing from a narrowly-focused regional competition to a major mainstream sport. This type of racing will rival the NFL, NBA and Major League baseball for fan and sponsorship involvement. We are absolutely thrilled to be here.

The IndyCar Series racing at Chicagoland

Architecture and engineering firm HNTB, which has built stadiums and arenas such as the RCA Dome, Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, was selected to lead the design of the facility. Construction management company Bovis Lend Lease headed the construction of the speedway.[6] Construction started in August 1999, with groundbreaking September 28, 1999. On May 8, 2000, in a press conference on Chicago's Navy Pier, the track's name and inaugural events were announced.[1] Construction of the speedway saw only a few problems. In the Summer of 2000, homes near the speedway were flooded as a result of heavy rains and run-off from excavation. In February 2001, a worker was killed after falling from the skybox suites on top of the grandstands.[4] Construction was completed in spring 2001.[1]

The track has seen little expansion since its construction, with the only major addition being the installation of lights around the track in 2008.[7] The Indycar Series ran at the track since 2001, recording three of the top five closest finishes in Indycar history, including the closest in 2002.[8] Despite the close finishes, the speedway announced IndyCar would not return to the track for the 2011 season.[9] The speedway also announced changes to the NASCAR schedule for 2011, with the Sprint Cup Series race moving to September 16–18 as the first race in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. The Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series also raced the same weekend, in addition, the Nationwide Series had a stand-alone race day on June 4.[10]

Races[edit]

Current[edit]

Former[edit]

Track records[edit]

Record Date Driver Time Speed/Avg. Speed
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Qualifying September 14, 2013 Joey Logano 28.509 189.414 mph (304.832 km/h)
Race July 10, 2010 David Reutimann 2:45:34 145.138 mph (233.577 km/h)
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Qualifying July 8, 2005 Ryan Newman 28.964 188.147 mph (302.793 km/h)
Race July 10, 2009 Joey Logano 2:02:10 147.340 mph (237.121 km/h)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Qualifying July 21, 2012 Justin Lofton 31.007 174.154 mph (280.274 km/h)
Race August 27, 2010 Kyle Busch 1:44:31 132.610 mph (213.415 km/h)
IZOD IndyCar Series
Qualifying September 6, 2003 Richie Hearn 24.521 223.159 mph (359.140 km/h)
Race September 10, 2006 Dan Wheldon 1:33:37 194.828 mph (313.545 km/h)
Source:[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Chicagoland Speedway". Chicagoland Speedway. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Chicagoland". Nascar.com. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Joliet City Council Approves the Motorsports Alliance,LLC and Route 66 Raceway's Plans". All Business. January 19, 1999. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Chicagoland Speedway Timeline". Joliet.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Article: Motorsports Alliance and Route 66 Raceway Announce Transaction and Land Purchase". Highbeam. May 5, 1999. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Construction Partner Profiles". Chicagoland Speedway. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Chicagoland Speedway announces addition of lights". Racewayreport. September 25, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ "IndyCar Sets Record for Entries at Chicagoland Speedway". Chicagoland Speedway. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Statement Regarding IZOD IndyCar Series Not Returning in 2011". Chicagoland Speedway. September 10, 2010. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series". Chicagoland Speedway. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Race Results at Chicagoland Speedway". racing-reference.info. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 

External links[edit]