The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Not A Nascar Fan Yet-But Saturday, Maybe

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

October 20, 2010

Well, I have never been one of the thousands of people who watch NASCAR racing on television each week, nor have I ever attended a NASCAR race, but this Saturday at GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY in Madison, IL just east of St. Louis has me curious.

"In the shadow of the Arch" this weekend, the racetrack will likely hold its final race, the "5-Hour Energy 250".

According to reports, the track was forced to turn down 2011 NASCAR sanctions, and I am not sure why.

It had been a favorite racetrack for many of the drivers due to the unique shape and different degrees of banking in each corner on a 1.25 mile oval. The current oval and infield road course were built in 1969 on the site of a drag strip and road course facility which had been in operation for 30 years.

I found it interesting that the original track was built on swampland which emerged from the Mississippi River bottom in The Great Earthquake of 1811.

They are now owned by Dover Motorsports, a group that own Memphis Motorsports Park, Dover International Speedway and the Nashville Superspeedway among others.

The experienced Lenny Batycki took over in late 2006 as VP and General Manager who worked with the late 7 times champion Dale Earnhardt his last years.

In early January of 2008, Batycki annouced the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers moved their sponsorship to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race called the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. Also in 2008 was when 14 time Funny Car Champ John Force earned his 1,000th career win against Ron Capps on his 59th birthday and a week before he lost to his daughter Ashley Force in the finals at Atlanta for her first career Funny Car win.

In 2010, Gateway received a second NASCAR Nationwide Series race due to the closure of Memphis Motorsports Park.

What has gotten me a bit curious is that the Illinois Corn Farmers have announced that NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace has agreed to be a promotional partner and will share the story of their families and their crop this Saturday, October 23 at the "5-HOUR ENERGY 250" series.

The press release says, "Organization to Promote Family Corn Farmers in Final Race at Gateway".

In it Wallace, one of St. Louis' favorite sons, says "the partnership with Illinois corn farmers provides a bright spot in the weekend's events.

He said, "It's definitely sad to see Gateway close; the race fans in Illinois and Missouri are really great.

"At the same time though, it's going to be a very exciting weekend for me. Illinois is one of America's top corn-producing states and I'm extremely proud to be repreenting all of its hard-working corn farmers.

"We're putting a big effort into the weekend to have a good run and help share the story of the family farmers in Illlinois and what corn, their biggest crop, can do for this country."

I guess, I would like to see Wallace race, but I really want to hear what he will say about corn and our country.

The ones in rural America, have always been there to get American back on their feet, and I'm curious about what he will say. It might be a good time to take in my first NASCAR race on Saturday.

We'll see....