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March 29, 2024

NASCAR unveils Chicago Street Race exhibit at Hall of Fame


Shane van Gisbergen and Julie Giese stand next exhibit
Rachel Horton
NASCAR.com

On Thursday NASCAR unveiled its newest Hall of Fame exhibit commemorating the inaugural Chicago Street Race from the 2023 season, which was the first street circuit event in the sport’s 75-year history.

Race winner and current Xfinity Series driver Shane van Gisbergen, alongside Julie Giese, president of the Chicago Street Race, unveiled the exhibit and reflected on the monumental event that has since sparked a new dawn for stock car racing.

RELATED: 2024 Chicago Street race info | Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame

“It was very different taking the race to downtown Chicago,” said Giese. “[Last year’s] event itself, over 85% of our attendees were at their very first NASCAR race. It was about introducing our sport to a new audience and celebrating the city of Chicago and being able to race in such an iconic location.”

The 2023 Grant Park 220 was destined to be something the NASCAR world had never seen before, and the result from the weekend transformed how the industry can host events in major cities, showcasing the sport on a whole new level.

close up the Chicago Street Race exhibit
Rachel Horton | NASCAR.com

Situated next to the 2023 season Memorable Moments portion of the Hall of Fame, the Chicago Street Race exhibit is a meticulously curated collection of artifacts ranging from van Gisbergen’s race-worn firesuit and boots to various memorabilia items from the race weekend.

“To have my own piece of it in here is a real privilege; I had a look around here before the Chicago race last year, and to now have something in here is pretty epic,” van Gisbergen said. “To add to what it is a cool story to not only my career but the sport’s history is really special to be a part of.”

Van Gisbergen will be busier this time around, with a double-duty weekend lined up for him to compete in both the Xfinity and Cup Series races. However, the New Zealander is prepared to face whatever comes his way in Chicago.

“Street circuits are something I’m used to racing in Australia and New Zealand, and I’m sure everyone will be a lot more ready and acquainted with the track this year. So the competition is going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen also got his first dose of how the Xfinity car handles when turning left and right this past weekend at Circuit of The Americas and mentioned what he took away from his first road-course race of the season.

“The brakes are probably the biggest challenge. That’s what I learned on the weekend. And I was really conservative at first and trying to save them for the end. And even so they still went away,” he said.

When asked about how that could translate from the Austin circuit to the Grant Park streets, van Gisbergen added, “I imagine Chicago, especially if you’re following people, the way the air sits in between walls, it doesn’t really move. So you’re gonna have a lot of hot air. It’s gonna be really tough on the brake in the car. So yeah, it’s probably going to be a lot of management.”

With less than 100 days away from the second Chicago Street Race, anticipation is building for what NASCAR has planned for the second year on the Windy City streets.

“I think the biggest thing is really listening to the attendees and hearing and seeing how they experienced the event,” Giese added. “There’s genuine excitement about what we’re doing and just being able to accomplish what we set out to do last year and continue to move the event forward to showcase our sport.”

SVG will be back to defend his street title in the Grant Park 165 on Sunday, July 7 (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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