November 25, 2013, St. Louis, MO and Madison, IL – The legends, rising stars and top brass of National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) joined Gateway Motorsports Owner and CEO Curtis Francois today to celebrate motorsports fans for helping to bring NASCAR to the St. Louis region. “Enthusiasm for motorsports is reaching a fever pitch in the St. Louis region, and the good folks at NASCAR, have taken notice,” said Francois. Today, Gateway Motorsports Park and NASCAR officials held a press conference at Gateway Motorsports Park to share their thoughts and answer media questions regarding the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on June 14, 2014 on the 1.25 mile NASCAR oval track.
Today’s line up of NASCAR greats, area elected officials and NASCAR brass included:
· Kenny Wallace – Arnold, Missouri – NASCAR Driver, Fox Sports TV Analyst
· Mike Wallace – Fenton, Missouri – NASCAR Driver, Nationwide Series
· Ken Schrader – Fenton, Missouri – NASCAR Driver (retiring in 2013) – Camping World Truck Series Team Owner
· Darrell Wallace Jr. – Mobile, Alabama – NASCAR Driver, Camping World Truck Series
· Mike Mittler –St. Louis, Missouri – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner, St. Louis businessman
· Jim Cassidy – Fredonia, New York – NASCAR Vice President, Racing Operations
· James Clayborne Jr. – St. Louis, Missouri –Illinois State Senator, 57th District, Senate Majority Leader
· Curtis Francois – St. Louis, Missouri – Gateway Motorsports Park Owner and President, former race car driver
“It’s not often that you can get these greats in one room promoting a race track,” said Francois. “So when we decided to announce the NASCAR race for the 2014 season, we were thrilled all these great folks wanted to be here to celebrate with us. That says so much about their enthusiasm for this track and this community.”
Francois noted that rarely a day goes by that he’s not asked about the future of NASCAR in St. Louis. Over the past two years, he has been in conversations with various national sanctioning bodies, including NASCAR, to ensure Gateway MSP has the most exciting racing schedule possible.
Francois also announced today that 2014 NASCAR tickets will go on sale Black Friday, November 29, 2013 for all past season ticket holders. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, December 6, 2013. There will be special pricing for individual tickets and “Family Value Pricing” for family tickets. Pre-event individual ticket prices start at $36.00 each and Father’s Day Weekend Family Friendly 4-Pack pre-event will be offered for $74.00. The track will also offer a variety of premium and specialty tickets for fans who want to take advantage of various “fan experiences” at all levels.
“We are here to make sure this track is successful. That’s important to our family,” Mike Wallace, NASCAR Driver, Nationwide Series and native St. Louisian.
“It’s very rare for someone like Curtis Francois to come around,” Kenny Wallace, NASCAR Driver and Fox Sports TV Analyst. “When I said I thought NASCAR would never come back to St. Louis, I didn’t know someone like Curtis would step up and revitalize this track. We are lucky he is at the helm of this great facility.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is one of three national divisions of NASCAR including the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. NASCAR debuted the popular truck series in 1995 involving full-bodied, powerful American-made trucks. The intensely competitive series has grown in popularity and in 2009 welcomed a new sponsor and name: the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR race at Gateway MSP will be the 7th of 22 national truck series races on the calendar for 2014.
Senator James Clayborne, Jr. was on hand to discuss what the reopening of this track means to the people of Illinois. “We appreciate the investment Curtis has made in this facility and we will do whatever we can to support it. This track is creating jobs and it’s good for the economy.”
“This is a place where we can bring in great racing and show the world what St. Louis has to offer,” Ken Schrader, St. Louisan and 2013 retired NASCAR Driver and team owner.
The NASCAR “lifestyle” has become a national phenomenon over the last 20 years, with at-track attendance for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series averaging 30,000 fans at each event held at nearly 20 tracks across the country. The 10-month season is one of the longest of all major sports events.
“I’ve never been to St. Louis before. I just took a ride around the oval, and I’m excited to race here this summer,” Darrell Wallace Jr., NASCAR Driver, Camping World Truck Series. “NASCAR is like one big family. I’m honored to be a part of this and I really just want to go out and win.”
The NASCAR drivers are some of the most competitive athletes of any sport, and this series is largely popular due to the driver and team personalities that fuel much of the excitement of NASCAR.
“The excitement of this track to NASCAR is evidence by what you see here,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR VP of Racing Operations. “We understand what St. Louis means to racing and to the history of this sport.”
“I’ve been impressed with the changes you’ve made out here already,” said Mike Mittler, St. Louis native, local business owner and NASCAR team owner. “It was a sad day to see all of the graffiti on the walls out here when the track closed. It’s so great to see that this track has reopened with a leader like Curtis leading the way.”
This prime-time NASCAR series, which debuts under the lights at Gateway MSP over the Father’s Day weekend, will highlight to the entire nation the incredible support we have in this region for both top-tier professional racing and grassroots motorsport.
Francois expressed his appreciation to the fans of the region for their support. “It’s important that fans see how differently we are running this track. We are working to create the new glory years in racing. I appreciate the fact that NASCAR has witnessed the fan enthusiasm and we will do everything we can to make this a great event for the entire family. If we can create some wonderful memories for families and a new generation of racing fans, they we will have done our job right.”
Since the track reopened in March 2012, Francois has invested more than $11.5 million into the track including the construction of a new Gateway Karting facility and a new 14-acre off road course that will opened next spring.
This fall, in addition to new state-of-the-art corporate and private meeting space facilities, Gateway MSP launched the Gateway Challenge program. The Gateway Challenge puts individuals, corporate groups and families behind the wheel of a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS with the race- track oriented 1LE option and provides instruction on how to compete as a racer on the ¼-mile drag strip or drive on the world-class road course. Participants who have traveled from as far as England, have already enjoyed the bracket-racing experience including practice runs, qualifying and competitive racing with a winners circle! No experience is necessary to participate.
NASCAR ticket on-sale dates and other event details will be announced in mid-November. Special event packages will be offered during the holiday season.
The 1.25 mile oval track at Gateway Motorsports Park produces a tremendous challenge for drivers with its long straightaways, tight configuration through turns 1 and 2 and sweeping high banks through turns 3 and 4. The high-speed trucks and cars will be capable of circling the track at over 180 miles per hour.
At Gateway Motorsports Park our mission is to provide our fans, racers and sponsors with a first-class, up close and personal racing experience. This includes unprecedented access to the drag strip, the oval, the road-racing track and a nationally-sanctioned karting track as well as special events such as concert and corporate functions for year-round activity at Gateway Motorsports Park. www.gatewaymsp.com
Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering 180 acres of prime real-estate, Gateways MSP is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the region, encompassing a ¼ mile NHRA-sectioned drag strip, 1.25 mile NASCAR oval track, 1.6 mile road course, a new Gateway Karting facility and a new 14-acre off road course. Over the next five years, $20 million will be invested with the goal of attracting grass roots and major motorsports events, entertainment acts, and special public, corporate and private events.