Gateway Brings IndyCar Back to Illinois

Located in the heartland of automobile racing is a little known track called Gateway Motorsports Park. Gateway is located in Madison, IL and a hop jump and a skip away from St. Louis, MO.  In fact, you can see the Gateway Arch monument from the track.

As one might recall, there was a long time span that open wheel racing was split into two very different sanctioning bodies. On one side, you had the IRL, which was based out of Indianapolis and on the other side, you had CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams).

This split was detrimental to the open wheel racing scene in the United States of America as it not only split up the teams, but split the fan base between the two bodies. Ultimately, the IRL wanted to run strictly on ovals and CART wanted to run on street and road courses.

Gateway Motorsports Park back when it was Gateway Internal Raceway. (photo credit: http://wikimapia.org/ )

Gateway Motorsports Park back when it was Gateway Internal Raceway. (photo credit: http://wikimapia.org/ )

Shortly after Gatway open, CART was having their first race there on May 24th, 1997, and it was the first major event at the speedway as CART’s memorial day weekend race, but eventually the track management grew tired and dissatisfied with CART, believing that this was a political statement. It is worth mentioning that there was a lack of fan turn out as many opted to travel to the Indianapolis 500 over CART’s Gateway race.

Gateway would switch alliances to IRL, but ultimately dropped the race after 2003 due to lack of attendance. After 13 years, Gateway has been re-added to the 2017 schedule with the now unified Verizon IndyCar Series.

2003 IRL IndyCar Gateway International Raceway, Madision, Illinois 8/9-8/10/03 USA Kenny Brack leads early World (photo credit: Walt Kuhn)

2003 IRL IndyCar Gateway International Raceway, Madision, Illinois (photo credit: Walt Kuhn)

The first winner of the CART sanctioned event was Penske’s very own Paul Tracy with Juan Pablo Montoya being the last winner before Gateway switched alliances returning to IRL. Out of all seven races held at Gateway, Penske has won three of them with Paul Tracy, Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves being the most recent winner of the event held at Gateway.

It has been over a decade since the return of the Verizon IndyCar series to this track. As stated, Helio Castroneves was the last one to win the race and Penske dominates this track every time they come out. We could see something very similar to Scott Dixon’s amazing win at Watkins Glen after years of never racing on that track. It is amazing to see the schedule expand and bring racing back to the Midwest to engage fans who live in the area.

Mandy Winslow

Birthday: May 3rd, 1992 (24)
Hometown: Montgomery, IL

I am Mandy and I am a huge indycar fan with interest in F1 as well. If it is open wheeled chances are I am a fan. My first race every was and Indy 500 back in my freshman year of high school. I was a band kid and we got to go to march the race. Needless to say, I caught the racing bug and have been watching ever since. I enjoy tracks I can camp at as I enjoy hanging out with other fans and waking up trackside.

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