July 7, 2017, St. Louis Region – Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois has launched a major capital improvement project designed to improve the race day experience for fans and provide an enhanced competition environment for race teams. This is the third phase of a plan implemented in 2012 to completely update and upgrade the venue. The primary focus of this phase is to replace the track’s 20-year-old asphalt and dramatically improve GMP’s parking capacity.
“This project demonstrates our commitment to the future of motorsports in the St. Louis region,” said Gateway Motorsports Park owner and CEO Curtis Francois. “We want to ensure that our fans, the teams and the sanctioning bodies have the best experience possible when they visit Gateway Motorsports Park. This is another major investment in not only our venue, but also in the ability of the St. Louis region to host additional major league sporting events.”
Fans attending the ARCA Midwest Tour and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in June witnessed incredible racing action, lots of passing and relatively caution-free events. The venue is being rejuvenated to ensure that Gateway can maintain the high quality of racing that fans come to expect. With a busy schedule of more than 300 event days per year, the optimal timing and conditions for paving placed the project in late June.
“We’ve been in conversations with the top asphalt consultants who have worked closely with INDYCAR and NASCAR and their host venues,” said Chris Blair, GMP’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The asphalt blends, the polymers used and the application process were crafted specifically for Gateway and the types of racing that will take place on the track. All of the stakeholders in the sport, from tire companies to team owners, were included in the decision-making process. Both sanctioning bodies (NASCAR and INDYCAR) fully supported the resurfacing project.”
June 27: The 20-year-old asphalt is completely removed from the 1.25-mile oval. (John Bisci photo)
The project began immediately following the completion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 on June 17. The track will be undergo a race conditioning process used at other venues in mid-July. This process will condition the track to be race-ready. The new surface will be used for an INDYCAR test in early August and an Indy Lights test on August 10.
“The resurfacing has been planned for some time but we wanted to make sure the timing was right and we had the support of everyone involved in the sport,” Francois said. “We had a great NASCAR event on the old surface and we will have a great race on the new one with INDYCAR on August 26.”
In addition to the new pavement, GMP also upgraded catch fences, paved a substantial part of the inside track and added additional SAFER Barrier. All of the on-track improvements are part of a continued process of positioning the venue for additional major events for 2018 and beyond.
GMP also has reached a long-term agreement with the ownership group that owns the adjacent property. This additional property, slated for development of parking and a year-round campground, will triple GMP’s parking capacity. Two lots, known as the “North 40s,” will be utilized at the INDYCAR event as well as the upcoming AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 PRESENTED BY VALVOLINE AND ST. LOUIS SPEED FESTIVAL
In addition to America’s best drivers, the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline also will draw competitors from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
Tickets for the inaugural Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline may be purchased online at www.wwtraceway.com/indycar/ or by calling the GMP ticket office at (618) 215-8888. Tickets start at just $35. Kids 15 and under are free (general admission) with a paid adult.
St. Louis Speed Festival calendar:
Saturday, August 19 — The Speed Festival begins at Gateway Motorsports Park with the GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway. Events include a 5k run/walk, one-mile fun run and beer relay. The Run is expected to attract several thousand runners.
Sunday, August 20 — Cycle the Raceway with Big Shark Bicycle and Cars & Coffee St. Louis. GMP will host several hundred cyclists for the Big Shark race as well as a special edition of Cars & Coffee St. Louis that regularly attracts more than 700 cars and thousands of spectators.
Monday, August 21 — Karting for Kids. The Gateway Kartplex will host a corporate karting challenge in which area businesses participate in team competition as a charity fundraiser.
Tuesday, August 22 — The St. Louis Cardinals are hosting an INDYCAR Theme Night presented by Gateway Motorsports at Busch Stadium on August 22. Includes fan giveaways, driver appearances and on-field racing activity between innings.
Wednesday, August 23 — The long-standing American Cancer Society Golf Tournament. Conducted on two courses, including Gateway National, which is adjacent to the speedway.
Thursday, August 24 — INDYCAR Fan Fest will feature driver appearances, a pit stop competition and hauler parade.
Friday, August 25 — Coors Light Pole Night Showdown. Practice and qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Series as well as a post-race concert at the track and nearby Ballpark Village.
Saturday, August 26 — The St. Louis Speed Festival concludes with the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline. Support races include the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Series.
July 7: Paving is under way. (John Bisci photo)
For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.