If ever need an excuse to dust off the RV and head somewhere exciting, then look to the Chicagoland Speedway. This 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway southwest of Chicago in Joliet, Illinois, has many hidden treasures waiting for you to discover.
The Speedway at 500 Speedway Boulevard, Joliet, first opened to the public in 2001 and has been host to both NASCAR and IndyCar series in the past, including the Camping World 400. It’s also well known for the closest finish in IndyCar history, something that people still talk about to this day.
While it’s a venue that promotes history in the making, it’s also a standout establishment for RV-goers. You can catch the latest automotive action while being a part of a joyous camping occasion with entertainment, full amenities, and all the conveniences of camping you could ever need.
Chicagoland boasts plenty of vendors, infield entertainment, various campgrounds, and transportation around the speedway site. It’s also mere minutes from Joliet and several tourist attractions such as the Des Plaines Dolomite Prairies Land and Water Reserve and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. During your stay in Illinois, you’ll never be short of things to do.
All that’s left to do now is pick an event at Chicagoland Speedway, buy your tickets, book a campsite, and hit the road.
Ticket availability and pricing can depend on what event you intend on being a part of at the Chicagoland Speedway. For significant national ones such as NASCAR, consider booking as soon as tickets become available to ensure you get a camping spot and your preferred viewing location.
Pricing can differ for groups, with or without RVs, and if you prefer general admission or VIP packages. When the time comes to plan your RV holiday, pay a visit to the organizer’s website to tick those final boxes.
Chicagoland Speedway is centrally located between Chicago, Illinois, and Indiana. Once you hit the road, the main highways are easy to navigate by way of GPS to Joliet, Illinois. However, while the roads make for a pleasurable driving experience, they will be busy.
Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, and consider arriving hours in advance. There will be parking assistants to help point you to the correct location printed on your ticket. RVs can enter from Route 52 onto Laraway Road. Remember to watch road and weather alerts for Chicago and Cook County via the Illinois Department of Transportation online or by phone.
For those who will be calling Chicagoland Speedway home for the entirety of the event, you’ll be parking in the campsite area. This spans much of the backstretch and into the infield as well. Have your tickets at the ready and make your way through Gate 6 from Laraway Road (Route 52).
From here, head to the RV check-in area off East Road onto Speedway Ridge Road. Once you’ve checked in, which may require a quick security screen, you can park your RV (with or without a tow vehicle) settle in, and check out your surroundings.
If you aren’t staying overnight, there is general day parking encompassing the speedway oval. Parking officials may direct you to specific RV parking areas. Alternatively, you can park at your chosen accommodation provider and make use of public transport to get you to the Speedway each day.
One of the great things about Chicagoland Speedway is its ease of access. While the roads are busy, there are many different ways you can make your way to the event. If you prefer to leave your RV at your campsite outside of Speedway, then you only need to take a taxi or private ride service to Joliet Train Station.
Chicago Speedway then arranges a shuttle to take you from the station to the event for a small fee. There are also at least two dozen different stops along the way if you prefer a different pick-up point. Alternatively, you can arrive by bus, taxi, or private ride services which all enter and exit through Gate 4A.
You are spoiled for choice when you decide to attend Chicagoland Speedway. Over 1,800 campsites span four different campgrounds. You can camp in the infield, by the lake, at the lower ridge, or by the speedway ridge. Each campsite offers something different, including entertainment along the backstretch with a party area.
Enjoy electric hookups at selected sites, camper-only parties, music, an on-call golf cart service, concessions and convenience store, and even dedicated guest parking.
Your furry friends have a break area too, and Chicago Speedway comes to the party with complimentary shower facilities and free tow vehicle parking. You’re also mere yards from the action, ticking the final box on what is surely going to be a vacation to remember.
Even though there are 101 reasons to camp at Chicagoland Speedway, some families may want to see what else the area has to offer during their stay. In that case, you will find there are plenty of other accommodation providers in the area just over the Des Plaines River.
These include RV resorts and parks within a 20-mile radius. You can then drive to the racing each day or make use of the provided public transportation from central points in Joliet.
When you look at the expansive Chicagoland Speedway, you may wish you had brought your running shoes. Fortunately, getting around the area is easier than you think.
There are many different shuttles running in different directions. You can get one from your campsite to where all the action is, or from one corner to the next. You can then head over to the grandstand and view the action from one place as well.
Temperatures in Illinois can change in a blink of an eye, with severe weather calling for the best clothing money can buy. Check the weather forecast for the week ahead and pack your suitcase accordingly.
While NASCAR, for example, is held at the hottest time of year, it has also been the wettest in the past as well. Bring your best sunny attire, but pop that rain jacket and weatherproof boots at the bottom of your bag just in case.
There are tens of thousands of visitors to any event at Chicagoland Speedway, which means the grandstands will be full. If you intend on venturing from your campsite for a spot in the stands, pack light. Take a light backpack with your wallet, any medical equipment you require, a water bottle, and a pair of binoculars. Remember to bring a radio and headphone set, so you don’t miss the action.
Leave umbrellas, seats, coolers, weapons, wheeled transport, thermos, flags, and anything else that could distract others back at your RV. If you arrive at the gates light, you can visit the express lane. Maybe pay a visit to the onsite ATM to ensure you have cash for purchases as well.
While the Chicagoland Speedway convenience store will have much of what you need to live in comfort during your stay, don’t forget to pack anything they won’t have. Medical supplies, prescriptions, personal first aid kits, and sun safety items are all paramount for your trip to Illinois. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen too.
Chicagoland Speedway officials allow the use of onboard RV gas appliances and generators with exhaust systems. You’ll have no problems cooking up a storm. You can even stock up on supplies at the nearby camping convenience store. While you may not be allowed open flames, you’re not short of options for other cooking methods.
The speedway venue boasts many different eating establishments to satisfy those hunger pangs, but a trip into Joliet won’t do you any harm. Take a break from all the engine revving and head into Joliet, which is sure to be alive with visitors.
Even along Route 53 into Preston Heights, there are plenty of offerings, but sit-down dining opportunities are plentiful in the heart of Joliet. Best of all, much of what you need is within a five-mile radius of the racetrack.
Let your nose lead you to the vendors who will be taking up residence to feed the hungry masses that come their way. Enjoy traditional speedway fair of fries and burgers, or tantalize your tastebuds with something more substantial to tide you over until dinner. Feel like a snack? The onsite convenience store can deliver on that front too. Some vendors take only cash, so visit the ATM before you join the queue.
There is a heavy security presence at Chicagoland Speedway for all events. Upon arriving in your RV, you may be subjected to screening at the RV check-in point. There will also be bag and gear checks at the grandstand gates. To speed up the process, have your bags open and leave any prohibited items at home.
Weather conditions in Illinois are generally quite pleasant, especially during summer. However, thunderstorms, rain, and adverse weather conditions can rear their heads when you least expect it. Plan for any eventuality and pay attention to weather apps during your travels. Even beautiful sunny weather in summer can turn to storm clouds in the blink of an eye.
There are first aid sites at central locations throughout the speedway, as well as plenty of ADA-compliant seating areas and medication storage facilities. If you require emergency care, dial 911. The nearest hospital and pharmacy are under nine miles away in the nearby center of Joliet.