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St Louis Speed Festival to lead into IndyCar’s return to Gateway

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St Louis Speed Festival to lead into IndyCar’s return to Gateway
By:
May 10, 2017, 9:13 PM

This year’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline, which marks the return of IndyCar to the 1.25-mile oval for the first time since 2003, will be preceded by the inaugural St. Louis Speed Festival.

Gateway Motorsports Park 500 logo
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Sam Hornish Jr.

Gateway Motorsports Park owner Curtis Francois and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda driver James Hinchcliffe today formally announced the week-long Festival, beginning on August 19.

“The people of the St. Louis region do an incredible job of hosting first-class national events,” said Francois, who purchased Gateway MP in 2012. “With the Speed Festival, we want to capture the magic of the playoff atmosphere we see with the Blues and Cardinals and events such as the Winter Classic and NCAA games that take place here each season.”

The Speed Festival will comprise seven separate and unique events leading up to the race and is modeled on the annual Indy 500 Festival.

“The timing of the IndyCar race is perfect because it fell in line with several non-racing events with which we had already been involved," said Gateway’s executive VP and general manager Chris Blair. “We have worked closely as a sponsor of the Collinsville American Cancer Society golf tournament and we recently began hosting events with Big Shark Bicycle company, the producers of the Go! St. Louis Marathon and our local Cars & Coffee St. Louis group.  In addition, our great relationship with the St. Louis Cardinals and Ballpark Village made it very easy for all of us to work closely together, and this approach will allow for a solid foundation to grow the event year after year.”

GMP officials have enlisted former Anheuser-Busch sports marketing director Larry Albus to assemble a steering committee of community leaders from both Illinois and Missouri. 

Francois expects more events will be added over the next several months, as details are being finalized, but the list so far includes:

Aug. 19: The GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway. Events include a 5k run/walk, one-mile fun run and beer relay. 
Aug. 20: Cycle the Raceway with Big Shark Bicycle and Cars & Coffee St. Louis.
Aug. 21: Karting for Kids at the Gateway Kartplex, a corporate karting challenge in which area businesses participate in team competition as a charity fundraiser.
Aug. 22: The St. Louis Cardinals are hosting an IndyCar Theme Night at Busch Stadium, including driver appearances and on-field racing activity between innings.
Aug. 23: American Cancer Society Golf Tournament on two courses, including Gateway National, adjacent to the speedway.
Aug. 24: IndyCar Fan Fest will feature driver appearances, a pit stop competition and hauler parade.
Aug. 25: Miller Lite Pole Day. Practice and qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Series as well as post-race festivities at the track and nearby Ballpark Village.
Aug. 26: The Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline.

Tickets for the race start at $35. Kids 15 and under are free (general admission) with a paid adult.

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Gateway
Location Gateway Motorsports Park
Author David Malsher-Lopez