Quick, name the two (at least by my count) professional sports in this country that no longer regularly utilize the Chicago market.
If you answered the PGA Tour and IndyCar, you are at least partly right! And I think that both of them are crazy!
Hard to believe that any sport would bypass the third-largest television market -- not to mention one of the more rabid sports towns in the country -- but with Joliet no longer in the picture, it's true. And it's a shame, because I think with the right variables the people of Chicago can and do support racing.
So I was thinking, with the addition of a race in China and discussion of other street races (which I can live with so long as ovals are emphasized after 2012), how come no one has ever thought of running a street race here?
I'm biased, I'll admit it. I live here and I love the city, especially in the summertime. Yes, more often than not we have to deal with gridlock and bad baseball, but the downtown is vibrant in the summer time, and the Grant Park/Lake Michigan area is amazing. I think it would be a perfect backdrop for a race.
I can just picture the cars screaming down Lakeshore Drive around the east side of the park, making a couple of turns and coming back on Michigan Avenue, in front of all that amazing architecture. If they were to utilize Roosevelt Rd. they would have a neat little elevation change, and the museum campus would provide a couple of tight, tricky turns. Heck, they could even go Batman/Blues Brothers on us and use Lower Wacker Drive for a stretch (kidding! waayyyy too narrow!).
I would imagine it would draw fairly well, anything downtown during the summer does. When a million people show up to watch the Air and Water Show, I'm guessing a lot of people would love to watch the cars zoom around such a cool setting. And with so many companies calling Chicago home, it would probably be a big draw in terms of corporate sponsorship and support.
Yeah, I think it would be pretty freaking amazing. I know, it would probably cost a boatload of money, and some of the streets would need some pretty massive renovations to have it happen, but for this Chicago (area) guy, it would be a very, very cool thing. I can dream, can't I?