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NASCAR closer to adding Chicago street racing while competing with Formula 1

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Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, has reportedly agreed to allow NASCAR to hold a race on downtown streets as part of a three-year deal, a major sports news site reported Thursday.

The addition of a street race in a major market would be an important step for NASCAR in its fight to increase fan interest against the increasingly popular Formula 1 FWONK.
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and the Penske Corp.-owned IndyCar auto racing series, both of which already have multiple street races on their schedules.

Street racing can bring the action directly to fans and encourage more spending downtown, compared to oval tracks that are typically far from city centers.

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But as rumors mounted that a Chicago deal neared the finish line, biker and pedestrian groups worried the event would further contradict what they feel are already slow-moving efforts by city officials. to make the subway more friendly to two-wheel traffic and pedestrians. .

Chicago has not yet reached an official agreement with NASCAR. But the city has backed the plan and a partnership is expected to be announced soon, reports Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic.

The deal is expected to outline a three-year partnership for which NASCAR would create a time course, with the first race in 2023, according to The Athletic.

The Athletic obtained a letter from Erin Harkey, commissioner of the city’s special events agency, endorsing the possible event.

“I am delighted with the potential opportunity to host NASCAR Street Course events here in Chicago,” Harkey wrote in the letter, according to The Athletic. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events “is dedicated to enriching the artistic vibrancy and cultural vibrancy of Chicago, and our strong partnership with the Chicago Sports Commission ensures that NASCAR fans enjoy a diverse and unforgettable experience.”

The potential deal could still fall through.

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The special has finally sparked more interest in the US in Europe-anchored Formula 1, which enjoys over 400 million viewers worldwide, arguably one of the most popular sports in the world.

The streamer’s series “Drive to Survive,” which premiered in 2019, features behind-the-scenes footage of usually secretive race teams and the sometimes contentious relationships between drivers and team executives. It has attracted die-hard and casual racing fans alike.

Netflix does not publish the data of the viewers, but the audience of DIS from ESPN,
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Coverage of Formula 1 races has nearly doubled (up to 1.5 million views per race) since the show premiered, the New York Post reported.

According to a recent Nielsen study, Formula 1 is on track to surpass one billion fans worldwide this year, with 77% of those new fans under the age of 35.

NASCAR’s sanctioning body has also added a new exhibition race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 2022 and now 2023, so a stronger presence in major markets appears to be a priority, racing enthusiast site Beyond the Flag wrote. Formula 1 will also race in Las Vegas next year for the first time in 40 years.

In Chicago, citizens are still reeling from the recent tragic death of a young girl, who was trapped in her bike seat under a truck after her mother tried to navigate between a utility truck on the bike lane and the 18-wheeler nearby. traffic line. She was the second little girl to die in a bicycle-related incident in June, along with the bicycle deaths of an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy, local news site Block Club Chicago reports.

While a NASCAR race on a marked course is a far cry from normal traffic, city officials’ enthusiasm for the event still unsettles bicycling advocates who want Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s full attention to making streets cooler. safe for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially due to traffic-related deaths. and injuries are at their highest point in years.

They also say that an RB00 focused on fossil fuels,
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The event contradicts a stronger stance the city should take on cleaner driving, as gas price volatility continues and cycling’s popularity is set to grow.

Read: Trek president talks electric bikes and why every company should come clean about climate change

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