10 Most Important NASCAR Cup Stories of 2023

Jackson Wheeler
3 Min Read

NASCAR and its corporate partners spent untold millions (tens of millions?) and countless thousands man-hours to prepare, promote, and stage three events that dominated much of the middle portion of the season.

In May, in a concession to aging fans who sought a return to “the good ol’ days of real racing,”

NASCAR sent its All-Star race to North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, which last hosted a Cup race in 1996. Speedway Motorsports Inc. spiffed up the 5/8ths-mile track, sold out the place, and enjoyed the feel-good story of the season. It didn’t take long for all parties to say they’ll be back for the ’24 All-Star race.

In June, while its teams were at Sonoma, NASCAR sent a tricked-up Chevrolet Camaro to the 24 Hours of LeMans. The Chevrolet/Hendrick Motorsports/NASCAR/Goodyear project was the Garage 56 entry, designed to showcase advanced automotive technological and mechanical developments to a worldwide audience.

Semi-retired Cup star Jimmie Johnson led the team, which included noted road racers Mike Rockenfeller and Jenson Button. The Camaro performed about as well as expected, but the overriding goal was simply to be there, make laps, and expose a small sample of stock car racing to European fans.

And several weeks later, during the July 4 holiday period, NASCAR promoted an official race through the streets of downtown Chicago. After 75 years on purpose-built road courses and ovals, the organization finally went racing in the middle of one of America’s most famous cities. Alas, foul weather impacted the event, but apparently didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

Officials said 80% of the available tickets were bought by people who’d never seen a stock car race in person. The much-hyped weekend got even better when Trackhouse Racing driver Van Gisbergen – unfamiliar to perhaps 90 percent of American fans – won in his first Cup start. It was NASCAR’s first debut victory since Johnny Rutherford in a 1963 Daytona 500 qualifier for Smokey Yunick.

The Grant Park 220 wasn’t especially entertaining: 27% was under caution and the average green-flag runs were only six laps. But no matter: NASCAR had proved it could successfully present a race on virtually any type course, even to the point of shutting down parts of a major city for several days.

No surprise here: despite a few complaints by city residents, officials quickly said the race would return in 2024.

Share This Article
Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
Leave a comment