Though there had been plans to build a superspeedway in Chicago for years, nothing much was actually done about it until 1995 when Tony George, the president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Bill France met informally to discuss the project. The two men, along with John Menard, later formed the Motorsports Alliance in 1996 and immediately began looking for suitable sites for the project. The challenge was to find an affordable piece of land that would not be too far from Chicago and which would be big enough to enable them to build a facility which would be able to host NASCAR and Indy Racing League events. Just as it seemed that they’d found the right spot, Illinois annexation laws prohibited the project from going ahead. Not long afterwards Menard withdrew from the Alliance.
By then it seemed that a Chicago would never have its own NASCAR track, but enthusiasm for the sport was increasing in the area. Fortunately Dale Coyne, who had successfully managed to build the Route 66 Raceway for drag racing in 1997-98, called and suggested that he meet with the Motorsports Alliance. He suggested that they discuss the possibility of building a 1.5-mile speedway right next to the Route 66 Raceway. In 1999, Coyne relinquished his position at the Route 66 Raceway to become partners with George and France in the newly formed Raceway Associates. The aim of the new alliance was to build a state-of-the-art, multipurpose motor sports complex. Finally everything was ready and earthmoving equipment arrived on site in August 1999. One year later, the public learned that this massive new construction would be called the Chicagoland Speedway. By 2001, the complex enjoyed an immensely successful opening season.
The Chicagoland Speedway is situated in Joliet, Illinois, not far from the great city. It features a 1.5 mile (2.414 km) track that takes the form of a D-Shaped tri-oval. The track is capable of seating 75 000 people and it currently hosts major events such as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the NASCAR Busch Series and the Indy Racing League, amongst others. The Chicagoland Speedway has proved to be such a great draw-card that major races are often sold-out months in advance. The track is currently owned by the Raceway Associates, LLC.