NASCAR returns to 'new' Gateway Motorsports Park

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The new and improved Gateway Motorsports Park (©Gateway Motorsports Park)
The new and improved Gateway Motorsports Park (©Gateway Motorsports Park).

It’s not the same Gateway that fans may remember from years past! The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes its return to the "new" Gateway Motorsports Park with the running of the Drivin’ for Lineman 200 on June 14, 2014.

The facility has been transformed into a gear head and race fan paradise! Gateway is now home to not only NASCAR but also the NHRA, SCCA, drift racing, car shows, driving schools, and many other events that fill a calendar for almost every week of the year.

Several years ago Gateway International Speedway was shuttered. All racing stopped at the facility including several dates with both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A couple of years have passed and the track has been cleaned up, improved upon, updated, and become host to several racing series including the NHRA. Now it’s time for the drivers of NASCAR to take the green flag at Gateway.

It was a shuffling of tracks during and after the 2010 NASCAR season that took Gateway off the schedule. Other tracks that went offline that season include both Memphis and the almost brand new facility in the Music City – Nashville Superspeedway. Parent company Dover Motorsports Inc. decided that its focus would be on their main facility in Dover Delaware commonly referred to as the Monster Mile. Suddenly, after the 2010 season, NASCAR was missing from several smaller markets that included the hotbed of motorsports in and around St. Louis, Missouri.

Shortly after the closing of Gateway, which is actually located just outside of the St. Louis area in Madison, Illinois, a local figure stepped up to save the facility from being mothballed. Less than a year after the closing of the track in September 2011 a retired race car driver and real estate developer named Curtis Francois announced his plans of re-opening of the 160-acre facility for the 2012 season.

There was only one difference in the tracks old look and what Francois had in mind. He planned on supercharging Gateway into the region's premier motorsports destination. Francois knew that his improved Gateway would have to appeal to more than just stock car oval track race fans.

With that in mind, and a love for racing of all types, Francois set out to upgrade and revitalize the facility so that it would be more than just an oval track. The name was changed from Gateway International Raceway to Gateway Motorsports Park to better reflect the wide range of options available to the motorsports businesses, teams, and fans.

Gateway still sports a 1.25 mile oval track but it also includes a state of the art quarter mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip. There is also a challenging 1.6 mile road course as well as a newly built karting facility. Improvements were made for the fans as well including updated grandstands, a new fan pavilion, and plenty more to make sure motorsports fans enjoy their visit.

So far Gateway has undergone an extensive $11.5 million revitalization. The facility now covers over 200 acres and is considered one of the largest outdoor entertainment facilities in the region.

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