NASCAR Chicago

What happens if a car crashes in the NASCAR Chicago street race? What we know

Already in the city, fencing can be seen along the track that winds through busy city streets and major roadways

NBC Universal, Inc.

NASCAR races often experience crashes, many dramatic and dangerous, but what will happen if something like that occurs in bustling downtown Chicago during the street race?

In a matter of days thousands are expected in the city as NASCAR brings a street race course to downtown Chicago, sending drivers speeding past some of the most iconic landmarks and down some of the city's most notable streets, including Lake Shore Drive.

Already in the city, fencing can be seen along the track that winds through busy city streets and major roadways.

Both NASCAR drivers and experts have expressed concerns about tight turns along the course, which could lead to a rise in crashes.

"A lot of long straightaways and tight 90-degree corners," driver Ryan Blaney told NBC Chicago. "The racetrack is pretty narrow. I wouldn't say it's as narrow as I initially thought it was going to be, but it's still pretty narrow. Not a ton of runoffs. The only thing I would like to see different is some some runoffs in those 90-degree corners."

Dr. Ryan Stanton with the NASCAR medical safety team noted he's also monitoring those same turns.

"We're gonna have significant changes in speeds, a lot of braking, you're going to see a lot of backups and potentially bumper-to-bumper action going into these turns," Stanton said, adding that this is "new ground for NASCAR" and for Chicago.

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But there are precautions in place should anything happen.

Heavier barriers are installed along the route as part of a safety plan for the race. The barriers are linked together to make them stronger, should a 3,600-pound vehicle slam into them. A catch fence also lines the course to keep debris inside the track.

The 2.2-mile course will be "fully enclosed" by that "specialized" barrier and fence system, which is "widely used by street courses across the world," NASCAR said on its website.

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"It’s comprised of a series of concrete blocks with a fence attached to the top. This temporary barrier system is approved by the FIA, the worldwide governing body of motorsports," the website read.

"The construction of the fences and how everything links together, all designed to keep the vehicles on the track and away from fans to keep them safe," said Dr. Derek Robinson, vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

Since there isn't an in-field care center like those typically found at a speedway, officials are building one at Turn 12, located at Columbus and Jackson in Chicago.

"That's going to come in serve as our in-field care center, also supported by local fire EMS, as well as local hospital staff," Stanton said.

Chicago Street Race weekend will mark NASCAR's first Chicago-area event in years. It will also be the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race.

Here is a full map of the track

The NASCAR Cup Series street course race will take place on July 2 and will be preceded by an IMSA-sanctioned series race, which will run on July 1.

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