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Denny Hamlin: NASCAR should return to Chicagoland, get rid of Charlotte ROVAL

Nick Profile Picby:Nick Geddes05/08/24


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Following the success of this past Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway, Denny Hamlin believes it’s time for another 1.5-mile racetrack to make a return to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Speaking on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast, Hamlin argued for NASCAR to go back to Chicagoland Speedway.

“We should be going back to Chicagoland, for sure,” Hamlin said.

Opened in 2001, Chicagoland hosted NASCAR races up until the 2019 season. Races for the 2020 season were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then NASCAR decided to move on from both Chicagoland and Kentucky Speedway for 2021 and beyond.

“With 20 years of history racing at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR continues to explore opportunities to continue to drive economic impact at the Chicagoland Speedway property through its investments – both on and off the track,” NASCAR said in a statement, via Autoweek. “We genuinely appreciate the support and enthusiasm of our fans in the Chicagoland region.

“While we currently do not have details on a timeline or specific series, we do plan to bring NASCAR racing back to Chicagoland Speedway at some point in the future.”

Denny Hamlin speaks on why Chicagoland should return to NASCAR schedule

But with the much-maligned Next Gen car taking very well to intermediate racetracks, Hamlin is all for a Chicagoland return. As for the future of the Chicago Street Race, Hamlin believes there’s room for both on the schedule.

“I think there’s room for both,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin added that if Chicagoland is added to the schedule, the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be his first choice to go.

“Let’s start with the ROVAL. Let’s start there,” Hamlin said. “This car is made for mile-and-a-half tracks and we’re running through the parking lot at Charlotte Motor Speedway… Kentucky is still out there, Kentucky Speedway… You can’t just make a knee jerk reaction and say, ‘Oh, we gotta have more of this or more of that.’

“A lot of it plays into the facilities. Kentucky is definitely not top notch when it comes to facilties there. It would need some major work. Chicagoland, I can’t speak to the facilities. I think it’s probably comparable to Kansas. Doesn’t have a bunch of suites but it’s decent enough and clean enough to warrant going back there. Not really sure why we stopped going there.”