Gateway Raceway Shutting Down

click to enlarge The Gateway Raceway in happier days. - image via
The Gateway Raceway in happier days.

It's not just a sad day for Democrats, it's a sad day for St. Louis NASCAR fans, too. Dover Motorsports, which owns the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, announced this morning that it was shutting down the racetrack for good.

Like the results of the election, the writing had been on the wall for months. Last July, Dover announced that it wasn't planning to ask NASCAR for any race dates in the 2011 season. Around the same time, the National Hot-Rod Association said it wouldn't be returning to Gateway in 2011, either.

Dover had originally planned to keep the racetrack open for a weekly drag-racing series, but a $2.5 million tax bill about to come due made it change its mind.

"You're starting right there with something that has to be overcome before you add any operational costs," Denis McGlynn, Dover's chief executive, told the Post-Dispatch. "It's a big-time expensive operation. As long as we felt that there would be a day when we could recover our investments here, we hung on.

"But it's just at a point with a perfect storm between the economy, with what's going on in NASCAR and with some of these local tax situations. We just had to regrettably throw in the towel."

The track, which opened in 1997, is currently for sale, though buyers haven't exactly been clamoring to take over. For more on Gateway's disappointing history, check out Ken Roberts' comprehensive story in the P-D.

Now if you want to see NASCAR, you'll have to drive to Kansas City, Indianapolis or Joliet, Illinois. The nearest NHRA action is a little closer, in Charleston, Illinois.

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