What to Watch: Chicago Street Race

Grant Park 220 in Downtown Chicago

(โฐ Sunday, 5 p.m. ET | ๐Ÿ“บ NBC, NBC Sports App, Peacock | ๐Ÿ“ป MRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Illinois, the 18th points-paying race of the 2023 Cup Series campaign.

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | Chicago 101

๐Ÿšง See the full course layout, turn-by-turn in photos ๐Ÿšง

๐Ÿ“ Location: Chicago, Illinois
๐Ÿ“ Track length: 2.2 miles
๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Course layout: Turn-by-turn in photos
๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Buy tickets: Find weekend passes, seats for the race
๐Ÿ’ฐ Cup Series race purse: $7,565,807
๐Ÿ“ Race distance: 100 laps | 220 miles
๐Ÿ”ข Stages: 20 | 45 | 100 (no stage cautions)

๐Ÿšช Entry list: SVG, Button, others join | Jimmie Johnson withdraws
๐Ÿ“‹ Starting lineup: Denny Hamlin races to P1
๐Ÿš— Pit stall assignments:
See where drivers will pit

Key things to watch ๐Ÿ”‘

Saturday’s sessions

It’s actually happening. It’s here. Saturday afternoon, Cup Series cars drove through the streets of downtown Chicago for the first time and it was immaculate. Plenty of passing zones, hard dives into tight corners and much more action were on display throughout the one-hour practice session. At the end of the qualifying clock, it was Denny Hamlin who earned the event’s first Busch Light Pole Award. Hamlin outpaced a strong run from Tyler Reddick and Australian Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen, setting the quickest mark around the 2.2-mile circuit in the final round of qualifying — Hamlin and van Gisbergen nearly flip-flopped on the leaderboard from practice, with van Gisbergen topping the early charts. After another strong run on Saturday, budding road-course ace Reddick will start on the front row with Hamlin. | Read the full practice and qualifying recap, see highlights

Big story lines

Bringing the NASCAR party to the fans. Imagine waking up in Downtown Chicago and being able to watch race cars speed through the turns from your balcony or living-room window. That once far-fetched dream is now a reality, with NASCAR taking on one of its biggest and boldest challenges yet: a street race. Strap in for a weekend filled with family-friendly events for fans, plenty of on-track action, two races (Xfinity Series race on Saturday), live music and much more in one of the country’s most iconic sports hubs. It’s not just a weekend filled with hype, but one with incredible story lines that could play out during the race on Sunday. Can Chase Elliott win his way into the playoffs sooner, rather than later? Will one of the road-course aces take control of the race? Or will another winless driver come from below the cutline to shake up the standings? There is plenty to wonder about and pay attention to this weekend, for everyone.

History tells us…

Even with a field of talented road racers, Joey Logano may be the biggest wild card, again. Realistically speaking, the trend has to end at some point. But Logano has been an incredible force in first-time events for the Cup Series. He won the debut race at the Clash at the LA Coliseum, the inaugural Bristol Dirt Race and the first Cup Series competition at World Wide Technology Raceway. It’s simply unprecedented. Even other drivers have taken notice. But Logano will be far from the favorite this weekend, entering with a trend of hit-or-misses at left-and-right-turn courses — a track type he’s never won on. In his last nine road-course events, he does have four finishes of seventh or better but also five finishes of 17th or worse. Expect the reigning champion to fly well under the radar on Sunday, but if he somehow manages to win this, too, it shouldn’t really be that big of a surprise.

He may not be the betting favorite to win, but watch out for…

Australian Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, you will get to know this talented street-course ace throughout the weekend while he drives Trackhouse Racing’s latest Project 91 entry. Coming to the United States for the chance of a lifetime, van Gisbergen will be the most experienced street racer in the field by a large margin — and that could pay off well, given his 100-1 opening odds to reach Victory Lane. Either way it shakes out, it will be fun to watch him navigate not only the Chicago circuit but an extremely competitive field. | ๐ŸŽ™๏ธ van Gisbergen on Chicago: ‘Ain’t going to be easy’

Welcome to ‘the Chi’ ๐Ÿ™๏ธ

Chicago is a city of firsts, and this weekend NASCAR adds its name to that list with the first street-course race in the sport’s history.

Countdown to green ๐Ÿ”ด ๐ŸŸก ๐ŸŸข

Stay updated on all the unique pre-race content surrounding this week’s historic event.

– Live blog: Key updates, exclusive content from on the ground | Follow along here
– ‘Risk vs. reward’: Balance will be key as buzz builds for inaugural Chicago race | Read more
– It’s on NBC: NBC Sports broadcast crew ready to bring race to fans | Read more
– Race logistics:
Ben Kennedy explains differences between LA Clash, Chicago | Watch the video
– Chicago beginnings:
Looking back on the first U.S. auto race in 1895 | Read more
– Drivers to watch:
These eight drivers could shake up the race on Sunday | Read more
– Back to No. 50:
The Kennedy family looks back on NASCAR’s 50th anniversary | Watch the video

Familiar favorites โญ๏ธ

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

– Paint Scheme Preview: See which schemes will race through the Chicago streets | Pick a favorite
– Fantasy Fastlane: Leaning on drivers with street-course experience | Top plays, sleepers
– Power Rankings: Will AJ Allmendinger punch playoff ticket in Windy City? | Latest driver rankings
– Betting odds: See which driver is favored to win on Sunday | Top bets, underdog picks
– At-track photos: Best photos from throughout the weekend in Chicago | See them all here
– Stacking Pennies:
Shane van Gisbergen joins to talk Supercars, NASCAR and Chicago | Listen to the podcast

๐Ÿ’Ž NASCAR 75: Learn more about the history of the sport, from pioneers to current stars | Visit NASCAR 75 hub

Hot off the press ๐Ÿ“ฐ

Key stories and breaking news from the week leading up to the race.

– Olliv by CoinFlip: Partners with CSR, launches $1 million crypto giveaway | Read more
– Roblox:
NASCAR debuts new Chicago Speed Hub this weekend | Learn about it
– Inside the Race:
Does Chase Elliott win his way into the playoffs? | Watch the video
– Caraway to Chicago:
Larson ready to tackle street course after Roots top 10 | Read more
– Pit-road stats:
Crews getting hot as summer temps rise before Chicago | Read more
– Streak shakers:
Where Cup Series winners could snap year-plus skids | Read more
– Penalty ruling:
National Motorsports Appeals Panel upholds No. 43 penalty | Read more
– Blaney wreck:
NASCAR to evaluate unprotected wall at Nashville | Watch video
– Two Kyles:
Petty kicks off Season 3 of ‘Dinner Drive’ with Kyle Busch | Read more

Get in on the action ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy and Fan Rewards.

– Fantasy Live: Participate in interactive gameplay from week to week | Choose your lineup
– Fan Rewards: New in 2023, get rewarded for your participation | Learn more
– NASCAR BetCenter: Don’t miss your chance to make picks each week | Visit the BetCenter
– Going the distance:
2023 Cup Series championship odds | See them here
– The Action Network: A 10-1 prop pick for Sunday’s Grant Park 220 | Expert analysis
– Gaming: Racing in the streets of Chicago spurs heavy movement on sportsbooks | Read more

Take some notes ๐Ÿ“

Five hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

The driver who led the most laps won eight times this season, including the last four races.
Each of the last six winners finished inside the top three in Stage 1.
Seven laps or less is the margin for the final green-flag stretch in nine races this season.
In the last road-course event at Sonoma Raceway, the race only had two cautions.
Three races this season were won with a last-lap pass and three with two laps remaining.

๐Ÿ”ฎ Advance to Victory Lane: Racing Insights projects Sunday’s finishing order