Sports + business: Seven events = 15,716 passes down the drag strip by 5,793 entries in one month

World Wide Technology Raceway’s drag strip racked up huge numbers from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8 and fueled the local economy

 

October 11, 2023 – World Wide Technology Raceway’s drag strip and its employees took a well-deserved breather on Monday. What could arguably be billed as America’s busiest drag strip, WWTR racked up huge numbers over the space of just one month. And that 30-day period included a five-day break when the drag strip pit area was repurposed for a road racing event.

It all began on Friday, September 8 with a weekend designed to combat illegal street racing while showcasing the strong car scene of St. Louis and the Metro East. Ranken Technical College presents Midnight Madness fueled by NOS Energy Drink attracted 350 street-legal drag racing entries who made more than 500 passes down the quarter mile. On Saturday, September 9 Import Face-Off Street Legends logged 486 passes down the strip from a total of 200 vehicles. Both nights also featured a large turnout of nearly 100 drift participants, car show registrants and event-record spectator attendance for each.

The Million, a high-dollar bracket racing event, held September 11-16, contributed mightily to the monthlong  total: 8,082 passes over five days. Daily entries: 584 cars on Tuesday, 680 on Wednesday, 774 Thursday, 471 on Friday and 626 on Saturday. The Million is regarded as the premier big dollar grassroots racing event with a 25-year history at other venues. The first appearance at WWTR shattered all previous participant numbers. Due to the overwhelming support of the racing community, The Million will return to WWTR in 2024.

The strip was quiet from September 19 to 23 for the Gateway SpeedTour Trans Am event. During that down time from racing, the operations team began the process of setting up corporate hospitality tents,  moving in food and souvenir vendors, building catering compounds and performed a complete makeover of signage and painting for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Midwest Nationals.

The annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, held September 29 to October 1, drew 400 entrants who generated 1,844 runs to the finish line. The race once again sold out on Saturday – with strong crowd counts on Friday and Sunday — and fans were treated to round after round of exciting, nitro-burning action.

After just one day of changeover from the biggest spectator event of the season at the drag strip, the facility was prepared for a weeklong showcase of  sportsman racing. The Class Racer Reunion, a high-dollar shootout for  Stock, Super Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas on Tuesday, October 3, featured 361 cars and 1,100 passes down the quarter mile.

And finally, the last major Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events east of the Rockies took place Wednesday through Sunday, October 4-8. The NHRA Regional-Divisional doubleheader boasted 697 entries for the Regional, and 650 entrants for the Divisional, for a combined total of 3,704 runs.

“This was a tremendous month with a diverse offering of racing on so many levels,” said Chris Blair, WWTR’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “To accomplish so much in such a brief period of time demonstrates what World Wide Technology Raceway and its dedicated staff is capable of. Once again, we have proven to the motorsports industry that WWTR is the place to host important events.

“We attracted thousands of racers from across the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico and Russia. This generated a huge contribution to the local economy. These racers stayed, ate, shopped and were entertained in this area – on both sides of the river – and we are proud of the positive economic impact our events produced.

“Thanks to the efforts of our team and the hospitality shown to our attendees by our community partners, we are now receiving more interest in new events coming to WWTR. Those new events, along with our strong existing line-up, have us optimistic that 2024 will see our growth continue.“

The drag strip will be back in action Friday night with the Halloween-themed edition of Ranken Technical College presents Midnight Madness fueled by NOS Energy Drink street-legal dragging and drifting event.

For tickets and information, please call WWTR at (618) 215-8888 or visit www.WWTRaceway.com. Follow WWTRaceway on social media.

About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) is the home of NASCAR, INDYCAR, and NHRA racing in St. Louis’ Metro East region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering nearly 700 acres, WWTR is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. WWTR’s facilities include a 1.25-mile oval for NASCAR and INDYCAR, a 1/4-mile drag strip; 1.6 and 2.0-mile road course; the Gateway Kartplex state-of-the-art karting facility; and the adjacent Gateway National Golf Links. WWTR and Owner Curtis Francois have been recognized with several awards, including: 2023 St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame induction; 2023 Innovation in Philanthropy Award by the St. Louis Business Journal; 2022 Explore St. Louis Hospitality Hero Recognition; 2022 Best in Show and Best Event & Festival from the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism; 2021 Comcast Community Champion of the Year; 2021 Jack Buck Award; 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Track Award; 2018 Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission; 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference; and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from the St. Louis Attractions Association.

Our mission: We are committed to making a difference in our community, while providing first-class entertainment and memories that last a lifetime.

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