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NASCAR Chicago Street Race Series reaches fans across the city

Photo caption: Winner of the NASCAR Chicago street race cup series Shane Van Gisbergan (Photo by Marcus Robinson)

To wrap up the city’s first ever NASCAR Chicago Street Race Series, the historic event declared two winners (Cole Custer and New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen) on Sunday, July 2, after rains flooded the streets of Chicago over the weekend.

In spite of back to back rainy days, Custer went home victorious after winning the 2023 Xfinity Series race entitled “The Loop 121” in dominant fashion and Van Gisbergen earned a Cup Series win in “the Grant Park 220” (a race named after Chicago’s historical Grant Park) in his NASCAR debut.

NASCAR said Van Gisbergen chuckled when asked if he thought victory was possible.

“No, of course not, but you always dream of it,” said Van Gisbergen. “Thank you so much to the Trackhouse team and (sponsor) Enhance Health, Project91. What an experience in the crowd out here. This was so cool. This is what you dream of. Hopefully, I can come and do more.”

According to NASCAR, the Grant Park 220 was a 220-mile race made up of 100 laps and The Loop 121 was a 121-mile race made up of 55 laps. Both races had their challenges.

NASCAR PROMOTES COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

In addition to the Cup Series race, the group sent 220 local youth (ages 6-12) to the Chicago Street race event over the weekend. Below is a list of several partnerships NASCAR established with the community.

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Back in February, NASCAR and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced a collaborative initiative that engaged more than 22,000 students with racing-themed STEM and STEAM learning experiences and curriculum.

In March, CPS students from all 43 STEM and STEAM schools began competing in an in-classroom design challenge that culminated with the first-ever “STEAM Fest” in downtown Chicago in May. Nearly 500 student finalists interacted with NASCAR drivers, engineers and other industry STEM professionals at the Field Museum in the event’s championship round for an opportunity to attend the Chicago Street Race Weekend.

In addition, CPS and NASCAR worked together to develop a new STEM curriculum for eighth-grade students exploring fundamental science and engineering concepts within the sport. The NASCAR-themed curriculum, designed to address Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations, will be finalized and introduced in middle schools during the 2023-2024 school year.

The design competition enables NASCAR to connect with more than 22,000 students enrolled at CPS STEM and STEAM Schools, with students in grades K-12 challenged to design their own race helmets. The students, organized in groups, received kits with simple materials and design race helmets that address key elements including safety, communication, ventilation, and other technological innovations, according to NASCAR.

The curriculum integration, which will impact eighth-grade students at all CPS middle schools, will focus on the research and design process. Together with NASCAR engineers, CPS STEM faculty will identify specific engineering needs that exist in NASCAR and students will be tasked with building design proposals that address the real-world challenge with potential solutions.

NASCAR VILLAGE at BUTLER FIELD – FREE EXPERIENCE

The NASCAR Village was a free-open to-the-public experience for fans that was staged at Butler Field adjacent to all the action. The free experience took place from July 1-2.

The NASCAR Village also featured viewing areas at the NASCAR Cup Series garage and haulers, displays from the Field Museum, NBC’s Hot Wheels Ultimate Challenge, Oakley, the United States Air Force, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Community Van and tire swing photo op, MRN Radio, McDonald’s, the United States Navy, NASCAR merchandise, water refill stations, the NASCAR Box Office, entertaining and educational information on NASCAR, and concessions for purchase.

NASCAR’s Wallace and Reddick Engage Chicago Youth at NASCAR Road Rally Hosted by McDonald’s Owner-Operators

The NASCAR Road Rally featured appearances by NASCAR drivers B. Wallace and Tyler Reddick. who engaged more than 100 youth from Hope Center Chicago and the One Summer Chicago programs. The lead-up event to the NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend, included a NASCAR show car and vintage vehicle showcase, prize wheel and samplings of McDonald’s summer beverages and more.

The NASCAR Road Rally was hosted by the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, McDonald’s Hispanic Owner-Operators Association, Asian McDonald’s Operators Association and McDonald’s Operators Association of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.

Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper | + posts

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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