Missouri state officials believe that NASCAR’s June Cup Series race at the World Wide Technology Raceway will fetch around $60 million for the city of St. Louis. Regional leaders expect over 80,000 patrons for the race and all of the festivities associated with NASCAR. No major league professional racing circuit has ever competed at this raceway in the past, so it will also provide a compelling angle in terms of novelty.
The track’s owner certainly feels the energy leading up to his new event.
“This track breeds excitement,” said World Wide Technology Raceway owner Curtis Francois. “It’s going to be an amazing race, like a Super Bowl and a World Series happening at the same time in the same place.”
The NASCAR Race Is in St. Louis, but Is Named for Illinois
During a visit to the track on Monday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the NASCAR race provides a unique opportunity to bolster tourism for both his state and St. Louis, especially in Metro East communities. The Illinois tourism bureau is sponsoring the race, aptly named the Enjoy Illinois 300.
“We’re showing the world that one of the best places to enjoy Illinois is right here in the Metro East,” Pritzker said.
About a decade ago, track owner Francois, a racer himself, bought the dilapidated track and invested many years and many dollars into its rehabilitation. He even repaved the entire facility ahead of the big event.
“It’s something that is new to our area but has a long track record of success all throughout the country,” Francois said. “It really is an opportunity for St. Louis to have something brand new.”
Francois and his team hope that this first NASCAR race paves the way for future events in the St. Louis area.
“This one race, if done well, can trigger more years of economic change for the Metro East,” Francois said. “The long-term impact on the community around us will be our lasting legacy.”
If the race is a success, expect massive developmental investments in the coming years around the racetrack
Madison city Mayor John Hamm III echoed that sentiment, noting that real estate along the highway is popping because of the news.
“We’ve had numerous people want to know what does the city own, what kind of deal they can do,” he said. “They’re really shopping up and down IL-203 right now.”
Hamm also said he expects developers to invest in city-owned land next to the racetrack. Gov. Pritzker agreed, saying he wants all municipalities to share in the regional wealth that a city like St. Louis provides.
“We need to think about these kinds of projects as regional and whether there’s benefit to another side of the river along with ours that’s OK,” he said.