MADISON, Ill. — Curtis Francois has finalized the local purchase of Gateway Motorsports Park.
“This is a great day for local sports fans and for the St. Louis region,” said Francois, a real estate developer, retired race car driver and owner of Gateway Motorsports Park. “Our region needs significant sporting, entertainment and cultural venues to remain relevant, and Gateway MSP is among the finest in the country.”
Francois has big plans for the future of the facility that includes a 1.25-mile superspeedway and a quarter-mile drag strip. He has put in place a five-year, multi-million dollar capital improvement campaign that will put Gateway Motorsports Park in a position to succeed.
The drag strip has been completely rebuilt and is now among the top drag strips in the country. Plans are underway for development of a nationally sanctioned karting track scheduled for a summer 2013 opening.
The Gateway Challenge program, which is launching this year, allows just about anyone to experience the thrill of racing on an awesome track. The oval track will host the premier Silver Crown event in June for the first time since 2001 at Gateway. 2014 will bring more activity to the oval track than ever before and 2015 plans are moving toward attracting more major motorsport-sanctioned events throughout the facility.
Efforts are underway to schedule outdoor concerts in the 20,000 seat amphitheater-style stands.
In September of 2011, Francois reached an agreement to operate Gateway for the 2012 racing season while plans were underway for the revitalization and purchase. An important key to reopening Gateway was the commitment to drag racing and the partnership with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Francois inked a long-term deal with the NHRA starting with a signature event in September 2012.
“Thanks to the grassroots motorsports fans across the country, this event was the most successful NHRA event in track history, setting attendance and track speed records,” said Francois.