How Long Is The Track At Chicagoland Speedway? [Facts!]

If you’re heading to the Chicago area this summer, you’ll want to know the answer to this question. Unfortunately, we can’t give you a definite timeframe with which to work, as the track’s status is always subject to change.

But don’t fret—we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest track iteration and when the gate times are announced.

The 2018 Updates

The most recent change to Chicagoland Speedway was the layout of the facility. Thanks to some smart re-development and additions to the grandstands, the configuration of the track changed a bit. While the outside of the track still remains flat, the inside has slightly more elevation. It might not seem like a big deal, but it makes for a notably different experience. Teams and drivers praise the new layout, saying it plays nicely into the hands of even the best drivers. While it’s too soon to tell if this new configuration will make a significant difference in terms of race results, it’s clear that the track has changed in a significant way.

Security

The safety of the drivers and the attendees is always a top priority at Chicagoland Speedway, and the construction projects that took place in the preceding years were all done with this safety in mind. Prior to the formation of NASCAR Safety Committees, incidents at the speedway were rather common. The massive grandstand addition is just one of the many projects that were aimed at making the venue more safe and comfortable for everyone.

But while construction was going on, the track still had to operate as normal, and for someone who hasn’t been there in a while, it can be rather surprising how differently things have changed. There are now metal detectors at the track, pat-downs before and after the race, X-ray machines at the entrances and exits, bag checks, and even metal-detecting dogs. It’s not a completely smooth transition from everyday life to racing, but it’s a necessary one. We can’t help but admire the effort that was put in to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible at Chicagoland Speedway.

Technology

Chicagoland Speedway is often regarded as the technological hub of NASCAR. The upgrades and modernization that occurred in the preceding years have really taken the sport on a new level. Electronic billboards, for example, were first introduced to the public back in 2015, and they’ve since become an all-time favorite. They certainly don’t hurt when it comes to generating more excitement and enthusiasm among the racing audience either.

The most recent addition to the technology at the track is an interactive racing display. While there isn’t a whole lot of information available at this point, it would appear that this is a similar display to the one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s clearly another step forward for the sport, and it shows how far technology has come in such a short amount of time. It also makes you wonder what other innovations are yet to come.

The Track

If you’re unfamiliar, Chicagoland Speedway is a race track in Illinois, and it is one of the premier speedways in North America. It has been hosting races since it was first established in 1927, and it regularly attracts some of the best racing drivers in the world. Because of this, it usually has one of the biggest fields in NASCAR. Here’s a quick highlight reel of some of the greats that have raced there:

  • Laurence Moss
  • A. J. Foyt
  • Jimmy Spencer
  • Richard Petty
  • Curtis Turner
  • Glenn Jarrett
  • Dale Earnhardt

If you’re wondering how fast the track is, consider this: the 3/4 mile dirt track is banked slightly upward at the turns, which creates a significant amount of overall elevation change (for a more in-depth description, check out this helpful article on Racer.com).

The Grandstands

The fan experience at a NASCAR race is arguably the most important aspect of the entire event. This is especially true at a track like Chicagoland Speedway, where the grandstands are among the biggest and most iconic structures in the area. Here’s a picture of the backside of the grandstands, which you can click here to see in larger size.

The sheer volume of people that these grandstands can seat is nothing short of amazing. The concrete structure was originally built in 1927, and it has seen some significant changes over the years. But one of the most significant changes was made in 1995, when a complete overhaul was done. This involved adding additional seating, improving sight lines, and providing better accessibility. So although the exterior appearances may change from year to year, the interiors of these grandstands are always updated with the latest in stadium technology.

How Many Gates?

Before we get to the entrance gates, it’s important to establish how many there are and how they’re configured. There are actually four entrance gates at Chicagoland Speedway. Two are located on the frontstretch, one is in the backstretch, and one is in the middle of the track. These gates open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the race and close after the conclusion of the checkered flag. They won’t re-open for at least 30 minutes, so you have a little over an hour to kill before heading out to the paddock. This also means that traffic will begin to build up significantly around that time, so be prepared for some backups.

But if you’re a diehard fan and want to be among the first in line, you can enter the track through the front gates on the frontstretch which open at 4:00 p.m. This is currently the only way to get an optimal viewing experience, as it’s the closest entrance to the track.

Parking

When you arrive at the venue, you’ll want to find a place to park. Hotels and Airbnb are always a popular choice, especially in the summer, but you may want to consider other options as well. This is especially important if you have a big truck or a trailer, as parking lots usually have a size limitation, and there’s a lot of downtown parking that can be difficult to fit.

Parking at the venue is rather straightforward. There’s generally ample parking available, and it’s easy to find a spot close to the hotel entrance. You’ll simply need to search for a space that’s metered and put a quarter in the box when you park. You can also pay through an app on your phone if you have one connected to your car’s GPS.

Where Can I Eat And Drink?

There are a number of options for food and drink at the venue, but your best bet is probably to head to the midway point located directly behind the grandstands. There are also a number of options to the right of the track, as well as a sports bar on the backstretch. If you’d like to eat a bit closer to the entryway, you can also find a bagel shop, deli, or pizza parlor located on the ground floor near the hotel’s entrance. Otherwise, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks located in the parking lot, which are always a popular option. Plus, you can bring your own food and drink into the venue, as long as you follow certain guidelines (e.g., no glass containers, sealed packages).

There are also a number of bars and restaurants located throughout Chicagoland Speedway. You can get a drink at almost any point, but the best bet is to head to one of the bars/restaurants by the exit on the backstretch. From there, you can easily walk to the hotel or take the Monorail to the airport.

To keep things short and sweet, we’ll leave you with this: if you want to get to the bottom of how long is the track at Chicagoland Speedway, just measure the spot where your car will be parked and throw away the paper on which you wrote down the result. It won’t be long.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!