Saturday, 18 January 2020

NASCAR: New track eyeing future Cup Series race? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: New track eyeing future Cup Series race? – Beyond the Flag
06 Jan

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway already hosts a NASCAR Truck Series race. Track management would like to add a Cup Series race to schedule.

With NASCAR Cup Series track contracts slated to expire after the 2020 season comes to an end, there is the underlying belief that the 2021 schedule could see quite a lot of changes as far as new tracks are concerned.

Such speculation was further fueled when NASCAR made several changes to the 2020 schedule even though the same venues that have been on the last several schedules are slated to host the same number of races as they recently have, as these changes could pave the way for future alterations.

One track, one that has never previously hosted a Cup Series race, wants to enter that discussion. That track is World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

The four-turn, 1.25-mile (2.012-kilometer) World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway oval in Madison, Illinois has hosted a Truck Series race each season going back to 2014 after hosting one race each season from 1998 to 2010.

The track also hosted one Xfinity Series race per season from 1997 to 2009 before hosting two in the 2010 season, but it hasn’t been back on the schedule since then. It has also hosted K&N Pro Series East and West races in each of the last two years. After hosting six ARCA races from 1997 to 2007, it has also hosted ARCA races in each of the last two years.

Here is what track general manager and executive vice president Chris Blair had to say about the desire to land a date for a future Cup Series race, according to Fox2now St. Louis.

“Every day I wake up, my goal, when I get out of bed, is to move the ball farther in trying to get us a NASCAR Cup race…We’re really close. We have to show NASCAR and the racing industry that St. Louis is a racing town. Everybody wins when a race comes to town.”

It is also well worth noting that IndyCar and Indy Lights races have been contested at the track since 2017 after returning for the first time since 2003, and they have been off the charts as far as attendance, entertainment value and overall popularity.

In fact, a big part of the reason why this potential Cup Series race is in the realm of possibility is because of the success that America’s premier open-wheel racing series has had at the track. The 2019 race at the track was ranked in the top five as far as its competitiveness and entertainment value for the fans in Race magazine, and for good reason.

Blair added the following.

“Working with Maryville University and other groups focusing on economic impact studies, our IndyCar race weekend has an impact of $50 million.”

The 2020 Truck Series race and the 2020 IndyCar race are scheduled to take place on the same weekend, with the Truck Series race scheduled to take place on Friday, August 21 and the IndyCar race scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 22.

Blair believes that the economic impact of a NASCAR race weekend at the track could be upwards of $75 million, possibly even $100 million.

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Will NASCAR Cup Series racing ever come to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway? If so, when will the inaugural top-level NASCAR event be contested at the track?



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