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NASCAR Chicago Street Race has "unfinished business" in year two, official says

NASCAR Chicago Street Race has "unfinished business" in second year, official says
NASCAR Chicago Street Race has "unfinished business" in second year, official says 02:59

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In less than a month, defending champion Shane van Giesbergen, and other top drivers in NASCAR will be making their way around Grant Park again July 6-7, as the Chicago Street Race returns for its second act in the Second City.

Julie Giese, NASCAR Chicago Street Race president said, "It's incredibly exciting. The build is underway and just really looking forward to bringing NASCAR back to Chicago, showcasing the city. It's just going to be a great weekend."

CBS 2 caught up with Giese on a beautiful sunny day near the start-finish line as the work got going to get the area race ready. There was very little sun last year as a deluge of rain cut short the Xfinity Race and caused the Cup Race to be long delayed and then shortened.

"We've said this probably since the day the race ended last year, we just feel like we have some unfinished business," Giese said. "We didn't get to deliver on everything that we wanted to do from an event experience perspective, the full races, just all of the things that we had worked on, that we wanted to create this really unique experience in and around the park, so whether that's music, that's the races, driver appearances, just so many different things. So [we're] excited to be able to do all of that this year."

Despite the weather issues, Giese said the feedback from drivers was overwhelmingly positive, something the race winner echoed last year after his victory.

"For the first go of it for NASCAR, the show they put on, the way the weekend was, it's amazing, so credit to NASCAR," said van Giesbergen after his 2023 win.

Giese added, "For us, competition on the track, and making sure we have a competitive race circuit is a top priority and our drivers had a great time. They can pass. There were passing zones. So we didn't make any modifications this year to the course. We're going to keep it the exact same 2.2 mile, 12-turn course with the start-finish line right on Buckingham Fountain."

Both races will feature fewer laps than they were scheduled for last year. Giese said those numbers were based on a simulation, and now they have a better idea of lap times. But that really is one of the few changes to the races themselves.

"We really haven't had to do much, really, at all, and again I think part of what we've said from day one is this is a street race, and it's running on the streets that you and I drive on every day," Giese said. "And so that's part of the authenticity, and part of what makes a street course a street course."

And Giese just wants an authentically enjoyable weekend for all their fans, weather permitting.

"What I remind myself, focus on the things you can control," she said. "I can't control the weather, but I can control the experience that people have despite the weather, and that's what we're focused on."

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