The Route 66 Raceway dropped a bombshell today, announcing that it will not contest drag racing events in 2021, due to a range of factors, not the least of which is the long-term uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Joliet, Illinois facility, which has hosted the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series since 1998, has remained closed this season, foregoing its NHRA national event date, as well as the long-standing NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl, as it navigated the fallout of the pandemic. Its sister facility, the Chicagoland Speedway oval, was also left off revised NASCAR schedules, leaving the complex shuttered and staff out of work. With NASCAR again leaving Chicagoland off its schedules in 2021, the speedway would appear poised to limit its financial losses across both facilities by remaining closed until at least 2022.
Noted Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway President Scott Paddock in a prepared statement:
With the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule unveiling, came the unfortunate news that Chicagoland Speedway will not be part of that lineup. In addition, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Gander Trucks and ARCA will also not be returning to Chicagoland Speedway in 2021.
The move away from NASCAR racing at Chicagoland Speedway is one of many changes reflected in the 2021 schedule, and by no means a reflection of the support our fans have demonstrated. Rather, it is a desire and an important step for the industry to incorporate new markets and new courses into the schedule, and expand the variety of competition.
All of our fans have exhibited a tremendous amount of allegiance and patience over the past year, during which time we all have experienced significant challenges. While we share your disappointment around this news, we truly appreciate and value your commitment to the sport and to the track.
Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway has been a central member of the Joliet / Greater Chicagoland area for 20 years, and we will continue to operate as an integral part of our community.
As far as NASCAR racing at the Chicagoland Speedway, it’s difficult at this time to speculate on what 2022 might bring. We will continue to work with NASCAR on potential future opportunities beyond 2021 and will keep you updated.
Finally, due to the corresponding impact on the shared resources between Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, and the future uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Route 66 Raceway will unfortunately not be hosting drag racing events in 2021.
We hope you and your family continue to stay safe and healthy. Thank you for your continued support.