This coming Saturday, not only will another winner snag points in the IndyCar series, but Gateway Motorsports Park will make its public mark as a viable, safe high-speed banked oval in the United States. Owner Curtis Francois doled out a bundle to repair and resurface the track to attract the series. It is money well spent.
The once derelict facility has risen to first class prominence with the ability to host a NHRA Drag Racing National event, NASCAR Truck Racing and now the IndyCar Series – all in little over 5 years.
As a motorsports photojournalist for the past 30 years it is very rare in the USA to see this level of competence. There have been plenty of new tracks that burst onto the scene with big boastful claims, yet few blossom while burning through wads of investors cash and begging concessions for the local governments. Francois has kept his head down and worked diligently to shape this facility into a first-class facility. All the pros I talk to privately are impressed with the place, its operation and the evocative community vibe that resonates.
Hello Castroneves has told me where he expects to see a lot of lead-changing passing for Saturday’s race and since he won the last Indy race at Gateway 14 years ago, I’m inclined to think he is not pulling my leg.
Here’s a look at what I saw, what turned my head and I expect more to come. Click on an image for a bigger look. Soak it up. – LandSpeed Louise
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