Fans Having A Day At Gateway

Susan
By Susan Phillips

This is our final IndyCar race for the 2017 season, the Bommarito 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. Before I get into the sights and sounds, a word from our sponsor. If your not from the Missouri area, Bommarito Automotive Group is the largest retail network in Missouri and the 54th largest in the United States. They sell every automobile brand from Audi to Volkswagen—in case you were wondering.

A little history about IndyCar, CART, and the the track:

The first major event held at the facility was a CART series held on Saturday May 24, 1997, which was the day before the Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500. In 1996 CART scheduled the U.S. 500 directly opposite the Indianapolis 500. After that, CART scheduled Gateway the day before to serve as their Memorial Day weekend open-wheel race without direct conflict. Most fans chose the traditional Indy 500, so this race was poorly attended. For 2000, the race was moved to the fall. In 2001, it was dropped from the CART series schedule, and switched alliances to the Indy Racing League. After mediocre attendance, the event was dropped altogether after 2003. This is the first race held here since then. The facility was closed in 2010 and re-opened in 2012 by Curtis Francois.

Today was a bit warm to walk around on concrete, but it is a nice temperate day when the breeze blows. I no longer have the stamina I used to since I spend most of my days on my feet at work. I miss the golf cart! There were a surprisingly large number of fans here at 11:00 this morning when the spectator gates opened and there was a long line for credentials before the paddock opened at 3:00. George met up with one of his readers, Frank Roales and his son Scott, under the main grandstand, and posed for a photo.

There are shuttles available to take fans from the parking lot to the stands, there was seemingly lots of parking, but we will know how the logistics were tomorrow. I hear that there is a line of cars to get into the track, and the people guiding you where you need to go maybe need a little more training, but these things are to be expected for a race that has not been held here since 2003.

The mood here is pretty easygoing, as the drivers seem to be more relaxed to stop and take photos with fans—or they certainly were last night after qualifying. The autograph line was particularly long at 3:30.

There are the usual fan spots that are at every race, lots of food and drink (even tenderloins!), and stages for bands to keep fans entertained. Here are some shots I took from the day (and one borrowed from Lynn Weinberg from last night).

Let’s hope for a successful race and great fan attendance. We are in within driving distance from several major cities including Indianapolis. It’s always good to see the people who read the blog at races. Once again, thanks for reading our posts, when there are so many other things you could be reading about the race on race day (or mowing the lawn so you can have all your chores done before the race). I’m sad this will be my last post from a track until Barber Motorsports Park in the spring—it’s been a fun race season for us.

autograph line

bouncy house

food trailers

geofans

Pace Cars

simon

soap box derby

souvenirs

tenderloins

One Response to “Fans Having A Day At Gateway”

  1. Chris Lukens Says:

    Thanks for explaining what a Bommarito is. I thought it might be what I get for lunch down at Jose’s food truck.
    And I always enjoy reading your and George’s posts.
    And I am pumped up for this race.

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