Gateway Motorsports Park has been locally owned and operated since 2012. With that local ownership comes a commitment to the community. Over the past year, the speedway and its employees have been involved in a number of community outreach programs.
On June 25, 2016, Gateway Motorsports Park owner and president Curtis Francois, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver German Quiroga and local officials broke ground on a $100,000 revitalization of Kinder Park in Fairmont City, Illinois.
“When I learned about Kinder Park, I called a few business associates and asked for their support,” said Francois. “They jumped in willing and ready to assist with this need to get the playground rebuilt.”
“We are proud to see Gateway Motorsports Park continue to play a leading role in their community and in motorsports with this important project,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. “The people in the St. Louis region are incredible motorsports fans, and this initiative is a win for the entire community.”
Prior to GMP’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 NASCAR race, driver Ben Rhodes visited Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital to spend time with sick youngsters.
On September 8, 2016, three-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Dragster champion Antron Brown visited Madison, Illinois Jr./Sr. High School and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in East St. Louis, Illinois.
“I take great pride in speaking with, and interacting with, the students,” Brown explained. “It stresses the importance of pushing themselves to achieve greatness. What I’ve found is that today’s youth sometimes settle for a lot of things in life. Like, ‘This is good. I’m good.’ They tell themselves it’s okay to be status quo. They stay inside their shells instead of reaching their potential. I’m trying to be that little shot in the arm that says, ‘Hey, let’s take it to the next level. Let’s make this step up.’ Let’s get there and let’s think about ways how to get there. Let’s get the motivation going so they say, ‘I’m not going to settle.’ That’s why I really enjoy talking to the youth, to help motivate them. I’m here to say, ‘Hey, I’ve done it and I’m still in that fight.’ ”
While at the high school, Brown presented a car load of school supplies to the students to be shared with Madison’s elementary school. The donations were collected during GMP’s school supplies drive, aided greatly by the efforts of Eileen Waters of the St. Louis Auto Racing Fan Club and local SCCA sports car drivers.
GMP also participates in the Madison School District’s Community Youth Employment Program (CYEP). CYEP is a year-round opportunity that requires a holistic approach to unsubsidized employment for transition-age youth (16-24). The goal is to help them secure and sustain employment and/or achieve higher education to ensure a greater likelihood of success and self-sufficiency.
On November 3, 2016, GMP hosted the Community Rally at the Raceway fundraiser for local unemployed steelworkers. The event, which drew more than 250 attendees, raised more than $50,000 for 1,600 local steelworkers idled by the United States Steel Corporation at the end of 2015. Many of the displaced workers and their families had run out of unemployment and healthcare benefits and struggled to make ends meet.
“Historically, the steelworkers have been the backbone of the community,” said Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer. “It was time to join forces as a sign of solidarity and support the steelworkers. With the support of the community, a difference was made in the lives of those who have supported the community for years.”
The Rally at the Raceway proceeds were presented to the Tri Cities Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis and were disbursed solely to assist qualified displaced workers and their families.
In the days leading up to the holiday season, GMP’s employees hosted a toy drive for the local Toys for Tots campaign.