Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fast Facts: Chicagoland Speedway

Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway in July 2014
credit: Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL hosts the first race in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. The 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval will host all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series – Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks – this season, and over the years has hosted other series as well. Learn more about this week’s host in Fast Facts.
  • Discussions for a race track in the Chicago area began in late 1995. Spearheaded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George and International Speedway Corporation CEO Bill France Jr., a jointly-held company called The Motorsports Alliance was formed, and the search for a site began. Route 66 Raceway, a drag strip that hosts the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, was already built in the Joliet area; after impact studies were conducted, the Joliet city council unanimously approved the speedway to be built adjacent to Route 66 Raceway in Jan. 1999. Ground was broken for Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 28, 1999.
  • The speedway officially opened in July 2001, hosting NASCAR and the IndyCar Series. The IndyCar Series raced at the track from 2001-2010, recording five of the series’ 10 closest finishes in their 10-year stay, including the closest finish ever in 2002 (0.0024 seconds, Sam Hornish Jr. over All Unser Jr.). In addition to NASCAR’s top three series, Chicagoland also hosts the ARCA Racing Series, and hosted the Traxxas TORC (The Off Road Championship) Series until 2013.
  • The inaugural Cup Series pole was won by Todd Bodine in 2001; Jimmie Johnson currently leads all competitors with two poles. The inaugural Cup Series race in 2001 at Chicagoland was won by Kevin Harvick – he also won the 2002 race, currently the only driver to post consecutive wins there. Tony Stewart leads all drivers with three victories.
  • Chicagoland Speedway is home to Champions Park, an interactive fan display in a park-like setting. Monuments honoring each of the track’s Sprint Cup and IndyCar winners can be seen throughout the area, located next to the grandstands.
  • Find out more about Chicagoland Speedway at its website, www.chicagolandspeedway.com