Is Chicagoland Speedway Being Torn Down? [Fact Checked!]

After 69 years, one of NASCAR’s most historic venues is set to be demolished. Will the racing brand truly go out with a bang or a whimper?

This year marks the 69th anniversary of Chicagoland Speedway—a track located in Chicago’s Joliet area. The track was first established in 1939 and has been home to some of the sport’s biggest moments.

The most famous of these is unquestionably the 2018 NASCAR All-Star Race. The event took place on June 20 at the track and was watched by a worldwide audience of nearly 300 million people.

The following year will mark the 70th anniversary of Chicagoland Speedway, which will no doubt attract a whole new generation of NASCAR fans. It is an exciting time for the sport as it looks to build upon the successes of the past year and continue cementing its position as America’s #1 racing series.

It’s fair to say that NASCAR has never been more popular or lucrative. The series now boasts an industry-leading $11.8 billion in annual revenue, which is up 28.7% from 2017. The sport still doesn’t make enough money to support the entire industry, though. It is, in fact, one of the least profitable sports leagues in North America. This trend isn’t expected to reverse itself anytime soon as NASCAR’s popularity continues to rise, spurred on by the right formula of drivers, great tracks and the right marketing strategy.

The End Of An Era

Chicagoland Speedway is certainly not the only NASCAR-related building set to be demolished this year. The same can be said for other iconic tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. These iconic structures hold a special place in the hearts of many fans throughout the United States. They represent a bygone era of brick-and-mortar raceways.

No longer do drivers have to brave blistering heat waves and blinding summer lighting to keep their vehicles on the right side of the track. These tracks represent a glorious era of professional horseracing in America, which helped build the country’s identity and infrastructures.

These tracks once occupied prominent places in the American psyche. Today, many people can no longer remember a time before they were online. They may not even know what a track is. When these buildings are torn down, it will be a massive void that many within the industry are unable to fill.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

The good news for NASCAR is that the aforementioned tracks have been replaced by state-of-the-art, high-tech racing venues. It wouldn’t be surprising if some drivers start to feel a little nostalgic towards these familiar but aged structures.

Take Daytona International Speedway, for example. The modernized speedway has significantly reduced wait times for tickets and parking. It also provides fans with a whole new perspective on the sport from a glass booth. The new Daytona is completely overhauled with a state-of-the-art lighting system, high-definition video boards and a roof that can be opened up to the elements. As exciting as this year’s Daytona season opener was, it’s probably not the same as driving down the same old dusty trackway in the summertime. That’s probably something that even the most die-hard of NASCAR fans will admit to.

Talladega Superspeedway

Moving on to Talladega Superspeedway, which is also set to be demolished this year. The same nostalgia may be felt towards this track as well, though perhaps not to the same extent as towards Daytona International Speedway. This is mainly because Talladega Superspeedway is less than an hour drive from the fan’s home. They may not have to travel as far as they do for a Daytona race to feel like they’re back in their childhood.

Talladega Superspeedway has also been significantly updated with a state-of-the-art video booth, digital scoreboards, and a new seats and paddock area. The layout of the track itself has remained relatively the same since it was first built in 1967. The good news for fans is that the new owners have vowed to keep the infield untouched, preserving the classic look of the place.

Demolition And Removal

Even more good news for NASCAR fans is that they will not have to look far for replacements. Several weeks after the conclusion of the NASCAR season, demolition and removal will begin in earnest at the tracks that still have a few years left on their contracts. Once the tracks are leveled, new surfaces will be laid down and the buildings will be restored or replaced.

That’s the situation that will affect Chicagoland Speedway. Following the end of this year’s NASCAR season, demolition of the track begins in earnest. The entire process is set to take around six months to complete.

The same can be said for Daytona International Speedway. Demolition of this iconic structure begins in earnest in April 2020 and will take roughly three months to complete. Once the final steel beam is in place, construction will begin on a new $80 million, state-of-the-art speedway. This new Daytona is expected to open in July 2022.

Talladega Superspeedway may not see the same level of action or excitement as its older counterparts. That’s mainly because this track will be completely torn down and rebuilt before the next NASCAR season in 2024. Once the construction process is finished, the track will open for business in October 2024.

These are truly exciting times for NASCAR fans as more and more of its historic tracks are set to be torn down and replaced with state-of-the-art facilities.

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