Rumors are swirling that the chicagoland speedway might be closed soon. If you’re looking to make some weekend plans, you might want to consider a different track. Here’s the scoop.
Rumors Of Its Closing
The rumors of the chicagoland speedway’s closing first sprung up before the 2018 racing season. NASCAR fans were abuzz with talk of the legendary track possibly closing its doors after nearly 90 years in operation. Jim Ayre, president of the Kansas Speedway, where the speedway is located, brushed off these rumors, assuring fans that the track was in good hands.
“I don’t know where that came from, but it’s not true,” Ayre told the media. “The speedway is not closed.”
Fans may have bought Ayre’s confidence briefly, but the rumors continued to circulate. NASCAR stalwart Rick Hendrick, owner of the famed crew chief and race team, confirmed the rumors in an interview with the media. He said the track had lost money for several years and would likely close if someone didn’t step up to save it.
“I think the speedway will close if something doesn’t happen,” said Hendrick. “I would hate to see that happen. I think it’s a great racetrack.”
While Ayre and Hendrick were trying to assure fans that the track wasn’t closing, they were simultaneously trying to find a suitable replacement. The rumors came to a head before the start of the 2018 season, when NASCAR postponed the first two races due to the pandemic. The postponements gave Hendrick and Ayre a chance to reevaluate their plans for the track. While they wanted to find a way to keep the speedway open, they also knew that it needed an overhaul if they were going to save it.
The year before, the speedway had laid off most of its employees and reduced its operating hours due to declining ticket sales and sponsorship dollars. The layoffs and closing of the speedway’s gift shop left behind a wealth of merchandise that could find a new owner, opening the possibility of new revenue streams for the iconic track.
Is Reopening Worth The Effort?
Keeping a legendary sports venue open during these times is a difficult task, especially when you’re operating on a shoestring budget. But is reopening worth the effort? That depends on you, the taxpayer. If you’re looking to spend less than $10, you might want to consider whether or not to reopen the track.
The cost of renting a luxury box at the speedway is $25,000 per year. That same box would cost you $12,500 at a NASCAR regular stop. While this might not seem like a big difference, consider that you’re getting a lot more for your money at the speedway. You’re getting an experience, a sense of nostalgia, and a feeling of being part of something special.
These are all things that money can’t buy. If this kind of investment appeals to you, then by all means, reopen the track. You might just find that it’s worth the effort.
If you’re looking for a more traditional NASCAR experience, then perhaps a different track is more your speed. There are still a few dates left on the 2019 season schedule, so you can make your own decision after that. In the meantime, check out these other NASCAR venues:
The Glen Helen Raceway
The Glen Helen Raceway in California was once home to motorsport fans and the legendary actor John Goodman. The raceway closed several years ago, but it recently reopened its doors after receiving a face-lift. Today, the track is on par with the likes of most other speedways in the sport. While the track itself is appealing, the biggest draw is John Goodman’s incredible collection of vintage cars and trucks.
The cars and trucks at the Glen Helen aren’t on display, but they’re all there in the dirt, racing each other every weekend. The collection is one of the largest in the world, and it’s all available for the taking. If you’ve ever been tempted by a classic sports car, this is the place to be. The only downside is that public transportation to the track is rather limited, so if you don’t have a car, it can be a little tricky to get there.
The Riverside International Raceway
The Riverside International Raceway in California is located just a few miles from the Mexican border. The track is one of the most historic in the state, having hosted some of the biggest names in motorsport. In 2009, President Obama even stopped by to watch a race on the presidential trail.
Today, the track is most famous for hosting the Riverside Grand Prix, an event that draws in fans from around the world. Like many other tracks owned by NASCAR, the seating at the Riverside is terrace style, putting you right on top of the action. In addition to the terrace seating, the track also boasts an outdoor amphitheater, making it suitable for concerts and other large-scale events. The only downside to the track is that it’s rather far from most of the population centers in the United States.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The most luxurious of the various venues mentioned thus far is Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Much like the Glen Helen and Riverside tracks, Las Vegas is home to a collection of vintage cars and trucks. The track itself is another wonderful addition, featuring some amazing artwork by local artist Guy Davis.
In addition to providing a glimpse into the bygone era of racing, Las Vegas is also the site of the biggest name in American racing. Not only does the track host the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but it also has the prestigious Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Team. This means that when the puck drops, you’ll hear the roar of engines from the terrace, adding an extra touch of authenticity to your racing experience. You can’t deny that this place is full of surprises!
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Last but not least, we have New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Located just a few miles outside of Boston, this is a classic oval track that hosts the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Due to its close proximity to Boston, the track often serves as a training ground for aspiring drivers looking to make it big in the sport. This year, the track will play host to a pair of prestigious races, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Invitational and the New Hampshire 200. These two races will draw in the biggest names in the sport, with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Invitational being known as the “Holy Grail of race venues” for its suitability to the sport’s top drivers.
If you can’t make it to one of the above tracks, then perhaps a road course is the answer. There’s lots to choose from, and you can bet that there will always be a place for you at a NASCAR track.
Above all else, make sure that whoever you choose has good customer service. It’s always nice to deal with a company that provides excellent after-sales service, understanding that this is something that you may need help with.