Though it too suffered an electrical outage and wind damage, Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois played a part in helping to restore power to its neighbors in the Metro East following Thursday evening’s devastating storm.
It was a dire situation: The storm ripped through the St. Louis and Metro East areas and knocked out power to more than 100,000 homes while an excessive heat warning was in effect for the entire weekend.
At 12:05 a.m. on Friday, Gateway Motorsports Park CEO and Owner Curtis Francois received a call that the track’s neighbors in the Metro East needed help following a storm that caused severe damage in the area on Thursday evening. Hundreds of Ameren Illinois electrical linemen were heading to the area to help restore power and needed a large staging area for workers and equipment. Without hesitation, Francois opened the doors to GMP so that Ameren Illinois could help the thousands of households without power.
“I once told Ameren Illinois officials that if there was ever anything we could do to help in this kind of situation that our doors were open,” said Francois. “When I received the call I knew we had to mobilize our team to help. One of our missions here is to be a good neighbor to everyone in the St. Louis area and do whatever we can do to help in a time of need.”
Within a few hours Ameren Illinois had taken over the drag strip pit areas as a staging area for supplies and equipment. A dispatch area was established, and the track’s meeting rooms and suites were pressed into service to feed the emergency workers. All of this was taking place while the track’s operations and facilities workers were busy cleaning up from wind damage.
“We lost ticket booths, trees, fences and lots of signage around the facility. We suffered roof and water damage as well,” Francois explained. “We are thankful that the storm picked a week in which we had already postponed a weekend drag racing event due to an excessive heat advisory and most of our set-up from the NASCAR weekend was secured.”
By Monday morning, electrical power had been restored to the area and the emergency workers were on their way home. The staff at GMP now is returning to life as usual and preparing for a drag racing event on Tuesday night.
For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888 or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.