The original St. Louis Raceway Park was a 1/8-mile drag strip built in 1967 by Wayne Meinert. In1971 Meinert acquired additional land, extended the strip to a quarter mile, and renamed it St. Louis International Speedway.
The first road course was constructed in 1985. The 2.6 mile circuit was largely flat, with only a few small elevation changes, but the layout was unique; parts of the drag strip served as straights in two separate sections of the road course. The road course also crossed the drag strip deceleration zone at two points. The new circuit hosted a Trans Am Series race in 1985, Can-Am races in 1985 and 1986 and assorted Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) regional and national events.
A 1/20 mile dirt oval also began operation in 1985. The name was changed to Gateway International Raceway in 1988. In 1995 Chris Pook, promoter of the Formula 1 and CART races at Long Beach, purchased the facility. He demolished the old tracks, and began construction of the new oval, a new infield road course and a new drag strip.
The first major event held at the facility was a CART series held on Saturday, May 24, 1997; the day before the Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500. Rather than scheduling a race directly opposite the Indy 500 (as they had done in 1996 with the U.S. 500), CART scheduled Gateway the day before to serve as their Memorial Day weekend open-wheel alternative without direct conflict. After a few years the race was moved to the fall. In 2001, it was dropped from the CART series schedule.
The 1.25-mile oval is a favorite of many of the drivers who race at Gateway due to the unique shape and different degrees of banking in each corner. Turns one and two have characteristics similar to New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Turns three and four are similar to Phoenix International Raceway and the track’s egg shape mimics the legendary Darlington Raceway. The 1.6-mile infield road course has traditionally been used by sports-car clubs and motorcycle organizations. The road course hosted a round of the AMA Superbike Championship in 1995. Canadian Miguel Duhamel won the superbike class.
In early January 2008, it was announced that the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers would move their sponsorship from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The race would later be called the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. At the 2008 event, Carl Edwards became the fourth driver to win two NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Gateway.
2008 was a big year for the NHRA at Gateway. Legendary 14-time Funny Car champion John Force earned his 1,000th career victory on his 59th birthday. Making the win more emotional was the fact it happened one week after his daughter Ashley beat him. Another storyline in the day’s event was Rod Fuller beating his arch rival Tony Schumacher in the finals.
At the 2008 Camping World 200, Gateway introduced its brand-new victory lane, a throwback to the one used at Rockingham. In 2009, two new events were added to the season schedule: The American Drag Racing League; a sanctioning body headquartered in nearby O’Fallon, Missouri, and the USAC .25 Midget Series, the racing league’s new quarter midget tour.
In 2010 Gateway received a second NASCAR Nationwide Series race due to the closure of Memphis Motorsports Park. On November 3, 2010, Dover Motorsports announced that Gateway was officially closing and ceasing all racing operations at the track. On Sept. 8, 2011, the official announcement was made that Gateway would re-open in 2012 as Gateway Motorsports Park and host the 15th Annual NHRA Midwest Nationals September 28 – 30, 2012.
In 2012 NHRA returned to Gateway Motorsports Park and the announcement was made NHRA would return again in 2013. The six-race 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs, will kick off in the fall with four consecutive weeks of racing: the NHRA Nationals in Charlotte (Sept. 13-15), the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas (Sept. 19-22), the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis (Sept. 27-29), and the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals in Reading (Oct. 3-6).
Cart and IRL/INDYCAR Series History
CART World Series History
Season Date Race Name Winning Driver
1997 May 24 Motorola 300 Paul Tracy
1998 May 23 Motorola 300 Alex Zanardi
1999 May 29 Motorola 300 Michael Andretti
2000 Sept 17 Motorola 300 Juan Pablo Montoya
IRL IndyCar Series History
Season Date Race Name Winning Driver
2001 August 26 Gateway Indy 250 Al Unser Jr.
2002 August 25 Gateway Indy 250 Gil de Ferran
2003 August 10 Emerson Indy 250 Helio Castroneves
Season Date Winning Driver
1997 May 24 Lee Bentham
1998 May 23 Shigeaki Hattori
1999 Not held
2000 September 17 Townsend Bell
2001 August 26 Dan Wheldon
2002 August 25 Ryan Hampton
2003 August 9 Jeff Simmons
Season Date Winning Driver
1998 May 23 Memo Gidley
1999 May 28 Anthony Lazzaro
2000 September 17 Case Montgomery
NHRA Full Throttle Series history
1997 1998 1999
Joe Amato (TF) Gary Scelzi (TF) Gary Scelzi (TF)
Ron Capps (FC) Frank Pedregon (FC) John Force (FC)
Warren Johnson (PS) Kurt Johnson (PS) Jim Yates (PS)
Jon Smith (PSB) Matt Hines (PSB) Angelle Sampey (PSB)
Tim Freeman (PST) Bob Panella (PST)
2000 2001 2002
Gary Scelzi (TF) Doug Kalitta (TF) Kenny Bernstein (TF)
Jerry Toliver (FC) Tony Pedregon (FC) John Force (FC)
Ron Krisher (PS) Warren Johnson (PS) Jeg Coughlin (PS)
Matt Hines (PSB) GT Tonglet (PSB) Angelle Sampey (PSB)
John Coughlin (PST) Taylor Lastor (PST)
2003 2004 2005
Doug Kalitta (TF) Doug Kalitta (TF) Brandon Bernstein (TF)
Del Worsham (FC) Gary Scelzi (FC) Ron Capps (FC)
Ron Krisher (PS) Greg Anderson (PS) Kurt Johnson (PS)
Geno Scali (PSB) Steve Johnson (PSB) Angelle Sampey (PSB)
2006 2007 2008
Tony Schumacher (TF) Melanie Troxel (TF) Rod Fuller (TF)
Tony Pedregon (FC) Ron Capps (FC) Tim Wilkerson (FC)
Mike Edwards (PS) Dave Connolly (PS) Kurt Johnson (PS)
Chip Ellis (PSB) Matt Smith (PSB) Andrew Hines (PSM)
2009 2010 2012
Antron Brown (TF) Tony Schumacher (TF) Antron Brown (TF)
Del Worsham (FC) Robert Hight (FC) Mike Beckman (FC)
Jeg Coughlin, Jr. (PS) Warren Johnson (PS) Erica Enders (PS)
Eddie Krawiec (PSM) Michael Phillips (PSM) Eddie Krawiec (PSM)
NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Brad Keselowski & Reed Sorenson*, 33.158 sec. (135.714 mph), July 18, 2009
NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Carl Edwards, 2 hr. 5 min. 54 sec. (119.142 mph), July 29, 2006
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Ted Musgrave, 33.294 sec. (135.159 mph), 2005
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race: Jack Sprague, 1 hr. 45 min. 31 sec.
* Keselowski and Sorenson tied for the fastest laptime in qualifying, both setting a new identical track record. By virtue of being higher in owner’s points, Keselowski was given the tiebreaker and credited with the pole.
Metallica’s Summer Sanitarium Tour made a stop at Gateway on July 3, 2000.
The Summer Sanitarium Tour took place in stadiums, arenas, and yes, even speedways. The tour was reportedly one of the top grossing tours of the summer. It was also the final tour for long-time bassist Jason Newsted who quit the band in January 2001.
Other artists featured at the concert were Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000 & System of a Down.