The NASCAR Cup Series cars of Bubba Wallace (No. 23), Chase Briscoe (No. 14) and Ross Chastain (No. 1) lined up in Chicago ahead of Tuesday's announcement.
CNN  — 

Downtown Chicago will host the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street-circuit race next July, NASCAR officials, drivers and Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday.

“Really excited about announcing that for the first time with our national series that we’ll be bringing it to a street course, and what better place to do it than downtown Chicago, such an iconic city,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy, said in a news release.

As NASCAR’s 75th anniversary approaches, Kennedy said there has never been a street course in the top-level series. “This is a monumental day, in the history of our sport,” he said.

The 2.2-mile course will include Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. It was first part of online racing in the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series last year.

Lightfoot, who attended a panel with NASCAR officials Tuesday in downtown Chicago, said it is a unique opportunity to bring the auto-racing series to the city and that it could be “the most iconic race course ever.”

“I think the excitement is now going to be off the charts. People are really going to be looking forward to July of 2023 when the cars hit the streets here,” she said.

The race has been set for July 2, 2023. It replaces a race at the Road America course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, though Kennedy said racing might return to that track one day.

The Chicago metro used to host a NASCAR race each year – from 2001 until 2019 – at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. There was also a Cup race at Soldier Field in 1956.

Two lower level NASCAR circuits ran a few street races before. The Southwest Tour hosted events in Los Angeles in 1998-2000 and Spokane and Tacoma, Washington, each saw two races in the 1980s.