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Local News

Chicagoland Race weekend a hit for NASCAR fans

Kyle Bush signs autographs Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
Kyle Bush signs autographs Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

Summer in Will County means a big event: NASCAR Summer Festival racing at Joliet’s Chicagoland Speedway.

The annual event brings everyone, from dedicated racing enthusiasts to families looking for an enjoyable weekend, into town.

“We haven’t missed a race yet,” said Jeff Franson, a race fan from Mokena. “We all love racing.”

This weekend was the NASCAR Summer Festival. NASCAR has been hosted at the speedway since 2001, featuring different events for fans to attend and watch.

The jam-packed weekend included large races, such as Friday’s ARCA Menards Series Bounty 150, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Camping World 300 and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 showdown.

These races brought multiple NASCAR stars racing against each other on Chicagoland Speedway’s track.

“I love the excitement, the fun, the thrills, the finishes and being here in person versus on TV,” Derek Schaefer, a fifth-year season ticket holder, said.

Fans also were able to stop at the box office on their way out for the day to secure their NASCAR 2020 weekend tickets.

But NASCAR weekend doesn’t only feature the big races. The festival is full of other events for attendees.

Other activities included events such as Rail Jam Exhibitions, musical entertainment, kids activities, NASCAR salutes and an RV show. 

“I love the bands, the music and having someone sing that’s from the area,” said Joyce Twait, a mother from Sherman, referring to recording artist Kelsey Hickman, who took the stage over the weekend.

Country music singer and songwriter Lee Brice also kicked off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 on Sunday.

In 2019, the summer festival brought some brand new events to the lineups, such as a BBQ SmokeDown, a carnival and Pit Bike National for all to attend.

The carnival had a variety of rides and interactive displays for families. The BBQ SmokeDown and Pit Bike National hosted famous BBQ and motocross stars.

The line-up of different events brings those of all ages, from younger kids for the Kids Club, all the way up to grandparents taking part and relaxing in the weekend fun.

“It’s a lot of families here. It’s a good time, that’s why we keep coming back,” Franson said.

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