Demise of GIR – Emergence of New Road Course?

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Racing

There is been a lot of speculation regarding the status of GIR (Gateway International Raceway) – please note the “International” should not be mentioned as there have been no truly international series I know of has ever raced there.  GIR is a roval – a NASCAR styled short oval with a small road course in the infield for drivers who like to make right turns as well as left ones.  GIR also has a drag race track that is quite popular.  The Roval is a fun track if you learn to overcome the fear of cement walls close to the track (though for most motorcyclists its far to dangerous if they have a mistake or mechanical failure).  Whether you love it, can put up with it or simply hate it – it gave St. Louisiannes an outlet for their high speed thrills.

However in 2010 – GIR (who is owned by Dover Motorsports) cancelled its Craftsman World Truck (really “World”?) series race.  To add the next hard hit, NHRA canceled its annual event leaving GIR without its two largest (by far) events.  This has called into question its solvency meaning that GIR maybe closed or sold next year.  This doubt then automatically eliminates it from most organizations 2011 calendars as they are planning next season as we speak and will have final schedules set by 1/2011.  The news gets worse as GIR’s owners were supposed to merge with another company but that has been called off, and for 2010 Dover has reported a $1.7M loss as they have written off GIR.  It seems the only option left is to sell GIR and likely be closed indefinitely.

With this revelation, a new road course to be located 30 mins south of St. Louis in Festus, MO maybe in the plans.  I’ve included the text of an email sent to local ST Louis track rats to provide more information.

Dear fellow motorsport enthusiasts,
You are receiving this email because you have expressed interest in an exciting new road course and motorsport facility in the St. Louis area. With Gateway International Raceway widely expected to be sold or closed before next year’s season, the timing of this new facility couldn’t be better.

The track’s developer, Dan Govero (aka “Viper Dan” in SCCA circles), is a motorsport enthusiast and land surveyor who is well known in the St. Louis community. He and other members of the RHR planning committee have been working hard to bring this great facility to fruition, and to put St. Louis back on the map of motorsports destinations with the likes of Mid-Ohio and Road America.

Basic information:
The future site of the facility; 380 acres of land just outside of Festus, Missouri (only 26 South of St. Louis) has been chosen, and negotiations with the bank to purchase the land are well under way. The site has excellent topography for an exciting track layout with significant elevation changes and challenging, technical corners. The area is easy to access from I-55, and has all the necessary utilities and infrastructure needed for a successful track. Regional car clubs and event organizers have been supporting us in our negotiations by writing letters of intent to use the track. Please see below for information on how to lend your group’s voice.

Local government and permits
Rolling Hills LLC members have met with the Jefferson County planning and zoning staff, and they were very positive about the concept and are on board with helping us move into the next steps of final approval and development.

Facility planning:
A preliminary 3.3 mile track map has been shown to race sanctioning bodies and local clubs and has been very well received. The preliminary layout includes a North, South, and Full course configuration similar to Autobahn’s allowing great flexibility for track days, member events, and races to be run side by side, or to have the full course available to a single group. Additional planned facilities include a conference center, banquet facility, country club, go-kart track and more.

Current status & planning:
Given our current status, construction on the facility is due to begin in Summer 2011. The RHR planning committee will be meeting again in the next month, finalizing various details for investment/membership opportunities, specific time-lines, and construction details so that we can be prepared to move as soon as negotiations to purchase the land are complete.

What can you do and how can you get involved?
At this stage the best thing you can do to help is to work with your local car clubs and organizations to send letters of support for the project indicating how often your group would make use of the facility once it is built. This helps with all levels of planning and investment. We have a form letter your club can fill out to save you the leg work, just let us know and we’ll be happy to forward it on.

We’ve had a lot of questions about investing opportunities and memberships and we’re very excited to see so much interest. Please bear with us for a little longer while we get the land procured and some other procedural points taken care of. Trust us, as soon as everything is ready we’ll be putting the word out there!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact:
Dan Govero

Contact information removed

  1. Palmer says:

    CART was pretty international when it raced there for 5 years or so.

    It was a CART track before anything else. Was designed by Chris Pook and ran by LBGP long beach grand prix before being sold to dover downs.

  2. Palmer says:

    Also its the Nascar Camping World Truck Series, not craftsman world. Camping world is a store, so it doesn’t mean international.

  3. I forgot they changed sponsors – it was Craftsman for a long time IIRC.

  4. Palmer says:

    Either way, I wonder how much they are selling it for possibly? Memphis :

    I still think it is a shame these places are going under. I know Gateway wasn’t in the best part of town, but atleast it was a modern facility. I think the mismanagement by Dover and its Casino board is very prevalent now, with two facilities being for sale in less than two years.

    To bad someone can’t buy it and keep it going; but I think the future of racing for road courses will be the country club route and it seem to fit.

    Wait till Kansas City gets their road course in the oval then there will be some options for the state.

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