Gateway Motorsports Park NHRA Fanfest set for Thursday
Monday, September 24, 2012

On Thursday, Sept. 27, NHRA and Gateway Motorsports Park will host the first Gateway Motorsports Park NHRA Fanfest. This free, adrenaline-focused, fan-centered event will be held on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis. Festivities begin at noon with a press conference and run until 7 p.m. to celebrate the return of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series to the Gateway to the West.

Demonstrating unprecedented enthusiasm for motorsports fans and the newly reopened Gateway Motorsports Park, the city of St. Louis will close Washington Avenue between Tucker and 14th Street for this multifaceted, high-energy event. “The NHRA is one of the biggest motorsports events to come to St. Louis,” said Curtis Francois, Gateway Motorsports Park owner, real estate developer, and former race car driver. “We are very excited to have the unbelievable support of both the city of Madison and the city of St. Louis for the rebirth of Gateway Motorsports Park. Whether you’re a motorsports fan or you just love fast cars, the NHRA and Fanfest have something for everyone!”

The noon press conference will be hosted by Bob Frey, the voice of the NHRA. Drivers scheduled to appear include Antron Brown, Robert Hight, Allen Johnson, and Springfield, Ill., native Tim Wilkerson.

During the day, fans can get up close and personal with Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race cars, interactive displays, the Spencer Massey FRAM Top Fuel dragster, the Hight Auto Club Funny Car, the U.S. Army Top Fuel car, and some of the baddest hot rods from the St. Louis area. Music, live radio broadcasts, ticket giveaways, and games will fill the streets as NHRA fans from across the country pour into St. Louis for three days of racing action.

Hot Rod Happy Hour will entertain the after-work crowd from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will conclude with an exclusive opportunity to meet the stars of the NHRA with an autograph session at 6 p.m. Among the drivers scheduled to appear are Tequila Patron Funny Car racer Alexis DeJoria; Top Fuel pilots Terry McMillen and Lincolnshire, Ill., native TJ Zizzo; Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Hector Arana Jr. and Hector Arana Sr.; and Al-Anabi drivers Khalid alBalooshi and Shawn Langdon.

The thundering excitement of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing gets ready to shake things up at Gateway Motorsports Park for the inaugural AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Sept. 28-30. The event will feature all four Professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. This is the 20th stop on NHRA’s action-packed 23-event schedule this season and the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship.

• SCHEDULE: Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Qualifying continues at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30.

• TICKETS: For tickets for the inaugural AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, call 855-RACETIK (722-3845) or log on to

* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 30, preceded by a 90-minute version at 2:30 a.m., and three hours of eliminations coverage at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 30. A 90-minute re-air of final eliminations will be broadcast Oct. 9 at 2:30 a.m. ET.