MADISON — Curtis Francois continues to shift into high gear, giving fans what they asked for as he approaches midway through his third year as owner and CEO of Gateway Motorsports Park (MSP) in Madison.
Metro-East NASCAR fans cringed in 2010 when they heard the Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now called XFINITY, would no longer lay down their tread on the 1.25-mile oval track.
On Sept. 8, 2011, retired race car driver and real estate developer Curtis Francois announced the re-opening of the 200-acre facility for the 2012 season. An important key to reopening Gateway MSP was Francois’ commitment to drag racing and the partnership with the National Hot Rod Association to expand beyond the oval.
“It’s great to see the grass-roots motorsports fans come back to Gateway,” Francois said. “We certainly take pride in our facility and it’s fantastic to see the families and fans come out. They see we’re trying hard and we appreciate it. We’re looking at every possible avenue of racing coming to this track. We’re concentrating on doing every event well and looking at every opportunity out there to build this track bigger and better.”
Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the region, encompassing a quarter-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, 1.25-mile NASCAR oval track, 1.6-mile road course, a world class karting facility, improved grandstands and a fan pavilion.
Increasing its presence in the world of motorsports, Gateway is in the design phase for a multi-use dirt facility that will feature off-road, sand drag and tractor-pulling events.
“We are looking at every avenue of racing,” Francois said. “We are going to talk to anyone on every level of racing that we feel the fans will enjoy.”
Ultimately the goal to bring higher levels of NASCAR competition back to Gateway is a priority for Francois and his team at Gateway MSP.
“We want the fans to understand that we are really trying to bring NASCAR back to our region,” Francois said. “We want to do it in a way that is sustainable. We’re working hard to build a base of our grass-roots fans as well as the casual fan to come out and give Gateway a try.”
Improving the quality of the fans’ experience has been at the forefront of Francois’ mission in revitalizing Gateway MSP.
“We are trying to make improvements that directly touch the fans,” Francois said. “We also want to make this a great facility for our participants, the drivers, sponsors and teams at every level. We want them to know that we are listening to what they have to say, we are watching and we are trying to make sure we make the difference.”
Meritor Champtruck World Series is next up at Gateway MSP July 17-19. On Friday there is free admission to limited grandstand area, adult general admission and pit pass $10 for Friday only, and $35 combo three-day general admission ticket and pit pass. Children younger than 16 will be admitted free with a paid adult, with a maximum of three children per adult. On Saturday $20 adult one-day grandstand general admission and pit pass or $30 adult two-day grandstand general admission and pit pass. Children under 16 admitted free with paid adult, with a maximum of three kids per adult.
For information on approaching events or event schedules, visit www.gatewaymsp.com.