Work to dismantle the NASCAR street race course began minutes after the race ended Sunday night, as the city planned to reopen several surrounding streets over the next hours.
In a news release late Sunday, the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said selected roads would begin to open overnight Monday, but would go about a phased reopening. Officials said northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive would begin to reopen on Sunday, while southbound Michigan Avenue would not welcome drivers until Monday.
Meanwhile, southbound DuSable LSD and Roosevelt Roads will reopen Tuesday morning.
Most of the roads are expected to reopen by July 5. However, some “inner perimeter road closures” will remain in effect until July 13 so that crews can remove the track wall, fence and viewing structures.
While weather-related problems caused NASCAR officials to declare Cole Custer the winner of the inaugural Loop 121 race on Sunday, the Cup Series race, the most anticipated event of the weekend, began after much uncertainty.
The Cup Series race was scheduled to start at 4 p.m., but did not, as another band of heavy rain flooded the course, prompting officials to say that the race was in a “holding pattern”.
Drivers were asked to return to their vehicles no later than 5:15 p.m., with the goal of starting the race at 5:15 p.m. The race began at approximately 5:30 p.m.
These developments come hours after officials opted to cancel the remaining races of the Xfinity Series, which were postponed on Saturday due to lightning.
According to a statement, the difficult decision to cancel the race was taken due to heavy rain in the area on Sunday morning and flooding on the track.
“As accumulated water and flooding is a significant problem at the race track and throughout the city, there was no option to return to racing prior to relocating NASCAR Cup Series race operations,” officials said in a statement. “Based on a number of unprecedented circumstances, NASCAR has decided to declare Cole Custer the winner of the race.”
NASCAR officials say the Xfinity Series race could have continued on Monday, but they opted not to do so after consulting with Chicago officials.
“Throughout the entire planning process for the Chicago Street Race, our relationship with the City of Chicago has been strong and has been one of our most valuable assets in leading up to this historic weekend,” said officials. “In the spirit of that partnership, returning two laps short of the halfway point to complete the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule on Monday was an option we chose not to employ.”
The event’s gates did not open on time on Sunday morning due to “threats of severe weather” and after the scheduled start time of 10:45 am, rain intensified, delaying the race.
In addition, scheduled concerts by country star Miranda Lambert and blues artist Charlie Crockett have been canceled due to flooding at Lower Hutchinson Field, according to officials.
Stay tuned with the latest updates as they become available.