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Chicagoland Speedway moves 2018 NASCAR racing date to July

Matt Kenseth drives during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. | Warren Wimmer/Associated Press

For the first time since 2010, Chicagoland Speedway is shaking up its schedule for 2018, moving one of its signature event back to July rather than later in the year.

Chicagoland Speedway announced its 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, which features some of the world’s greatest stock car drivers, will take place July 1 on the Joliet racetrack rather than in September like it had been for the last seven years.

“We always listen to our fans, and this is something they’ve asked for,” said Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock. “A time when the weather in Chicago is perfect, kids are on summer break and families look to enjoy memorable experiences together.”

The three-day racing series will begin on June 29, 2018 with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR XFINITY Series will be the following day and the weekend will be capped off with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on July 1.

The move comes after NASCAR ratings have continued to sink over the past few years.

Most recently, the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20 received a 1.5 overnight ranking — lower than the previous year, which received a 1.7 rating.

Last year, the NASCAR racing series at Chicagoland Speedway earned a 1.5 overnight rating on NBCSN, which was down 15 percent from 2015 and 32 percent from 2014 when the race was held on ESPN.

This year’s Monster Energy Cup Series race from the Chicagoland Speedway is on September 17 at 3 p.m. and will air on NBCSN. This is Monster Energy’s first season as the entitlement sponsor for the race series after Sprint Corporation decided not to renew its contract after 12 years.