Photo: Don Figler
St. Louis region NASCAR race continues to grow annually
June 26, 2018, St. Louis Region – Near-perfect weather conditions on Saturday, coupled with a favorable forecast, enabled Gateway Motorsports Park to realize an increase in spectator attendance for its annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event for the second consecutive year. More than 1,000 additional fans attended Saturday’s Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 presented by CK Power than the 2017 edition of the event. The live event attendance numbers are a dramatic increase over both 2015 and 2016 which were impacted by rain. In addition, the national viewing audience on FS1 tallied 571,000 viewers, up 14% over last year’s 502,000. The event also generated a tremendous following on non-traditional broadcast devices as the Fox Sports Go and Fox Now platforms had an average per-minute audience of 2,593.
“In the five years of hosting this event, Saturday’s race was the first time we had a great forecast rolling into race day,” said GMP Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Blair. “We had a great 2014 event, but we suffered rain at 5 p.m. on race day in both 2015 and 2016. Then, in 2017, we had severe weather forecasts that plagued us until 4 p.m. on the day of the race. Despite those weather challenges, we continue to build on what is arguably one of the biggest events on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. It’s not too often that we hear about live events showing tremendous growth and we want to thank the fans who continue to keep coming back, year after year. We were also excited to hear that our digital and broadcast consumption numbers were up as well. This event is a great showcase of our sport, our facility and the St. Louis region to an impressive national viewing audience.”
Saturday night’s race temperatures were near ideal and a crowd of approximately 17,000 spectators witnessed Justin Hayley capture his first Truck Series win. The newly-repaved 1.25-mile oval, which is part of the track’s more than $25 million in improvements since 2012, produced incredible racing throughout the field.
“Going into race day we didn’t know exactly what to expect,” continued Blair. “Our advance sales were on par with last year, but we had a tremendous walk-up. Once again more than 75 percent of our crowd arrived in the hour prior to the green flag our staff did a tremendous job to get everyone parked quickly. We are working on additional programming in 2019 to get our fans to the venue earlier so that we don’t have the last-minute congestion. Events like the one we had Saturday proves that St Louis is a racing town and our fans are hungry for NASCAR racing action.”
GMP also debuted its new Rumble Before the Roar pre-race party zone that entertained more than 500 fans from 3-7 p.m. For just $20, fans were treated to bar Olympics, a DJ, mechanical bull riding, a cornhole tournament and complementary refills of soda and beer.
“While attending this year’s Phoenix Open golf tournament, track owner Curtis Francois challenged us to come up with a huge pre-race party,” Blair explained. “Curtis gave us the concept and the resources to assemble this new and exciting venture. For its first time out of the box we are ecstatic with the results and we think it will be massive during our INDYCAR race in August. His vision for The Rumble was to attract a younger, college-age crowd to the track in hopes of exposing them to the sport. It also serves the purpose of giving the die-hard race fans a place to mix and mingle with friends before the event without breaking the bank. When all was said and done we had great reviews and Curtis was happy, so we accomplished our goal of bringing his idea to life.”
For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888. Follow GM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Gateway Motorsports Park
Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. Gateway Motorsports Park was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association.