Joliet approves new agreement with Chicagoland Speedway

Joliet and Chicagoland Speedway have re-upped their commitment to each other for another 20 year span.

The city council amended its original 20-year annexation agreements with the race track which were first approved in 1997 and 1999.

Councilman Larry Hug said that the new agreement brings two separate facilities at the site, the NASCAR track and a drag race and clay track, under one agreement. He also said that the new agreement notes that staff at the venue plan to look for more entertainment uses for the facilities and that new ancillary venues near the site could be developed down the line.

Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock told the council that the partnership with the city has been productive.

“It’s amazing what has been accomplished,” said Paddock.

The NASCAR races, said Paddock, are the single largest events in the state and said that a recent economic impact analysis shows that the facility contributes about $140 million annually to the region’s economy. It’s charitable race foundation has provided about $2 million to local non-profits during the course of the agreement he said.

Paddock said that the July 1 NASCAR race this year will be broadcast to 175 countries which in turn is an opportunity to market Joliet to the world. He said that the plan is to find more, non-motor sport, uses for the facility in the coming years as well.

“We recognize the opportunity we have with a facility like ours to be able to do more than just motor sports programming,” said Paddock noting past uses have included concerts and endurance events.

Paddock said that the plan is to be “aggressive” and to “leverage every opportunity we have to be the economic engine we can for this community.”

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said that the speedway owners have “been great partners and you’re great for our city.”