NASCAR Chicago Street Race attendees expected to bring economic boost to local restaurants, hotels

John Garcia Image
Thursday, June 22, 2023
NASCAR Street Race expected to bring economic boost to city
The NASCAR Sreet Race is expected to draw 50,000 fans a day, with ticket-buyers coming to Chicago from all 50 states and 14 different countries.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is little more than a week left until race cars will roar through Chicago's Grant Park, and experts weighed in on how the race will bring an economic boost to the city.

Thousands of people will be in attendance for the first-ever NASCAR Street Race, and that is something local businesses have been anticipating.

NASCAR officials have predicted the race will bring in well over $100 million worth of economic impact. Much of that will be through hotels and restaurants, mostly from out of town visitors.

The race is expected to draw 50,000 fans a day, with ticket-buyers coming to Chicago from all 50 states and 14 different countries.

Guests aboard a Chicago River cruise got a surprise Thursday as NASCAR drivers joined them to learn a little more about the city where they'll be racing through next weekend.

"What a good city this is for NASCAR's first street race," NASCAR driver Riley Herbst said. "Just cause this is a very old, iconic American city."

RELATED | NASCAR Chicago Street Race course begins to take shape as engineers set up barricades, grandstands

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria is a partner with the race and will serve some of their famous deep dish slices on the course. They expect to see a big boost at their restaurants from dine-in customers.

"It drives more business like, 'I've had a little taste, now let me dine in,' because there's nothing better than deep dish pizza straight out of the pan," said Alexandra Weaver, general manager of Lou Malnati's Gold Coast.

The first week of July is traditionally a busy one in Chicago regardless of the NASCAR Street Race. In past years, Grant Park has hosted the Taste of Chicago during this time. That event has always brought in lots of business for restaurants like Lou Malnati's.

Hospitality experts said while the city will get a big economic boost from the race next weekend, the long term impact could be much greater.

"The benefits go throughout the year because people see the destination on TV and they're like, 'Wow. That's where I'm going,'" said Dr. Lisa Young, Director of Depaul University's School of Hospitality Leadership.

In addition to the NASCAR Street Race, a large USA volleyball tournament on the same weekend is also expected to attract many visitors to the city.