Hometown hero and NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace will give the command to start engines at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, on Friday, August 24, for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Monaco Cocktails Gateway Classic presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame 150-lap race.
It was only natural to select Wallace, a native of St. Louis, as the race’s grand marshal. His father, Russell, was a three-time stock car champion in the area, racing at Granite City, Illinois, Rolla, Missouri and Valley Park, Missouri. With that background, Rusty (a.k.a. Russell Jr.) and his brothers Mike and Kenny, all wound up as successful drivers.
In Wallace’s era, the American Speed Association (ASA) served as the launching pad to the big time for Midwest drivers and he won the 1983 championship against the likes of fellow future Winston Cup stars Mark Martin and Alan Kulwicki.
Wallace won the 1989 NASCAR championship when it still was referred to as the Winston Cup Series and earned 55 wins and more than $50 million in winnings over his colorful career. In 1998, during NASCAR’s 50th anniversary year, Wallace was named one of its 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time. He retired from racing in 2004 at age 47.
Wallace, who recently turned 62, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013.
Gateway Motorsports Park is bringing more NASCAR to the Saint Louis region by introducing the popular NASCAR K&N Pro Series to the Metro East this year. This rare East-versus-West combo race will be only one of two contested in the United States in 2018 and is part of GMP’s August 24-25 INDYCAR Weekend.
The K&N Pro Series has been a launching pad for young racers to showcase their talent in front of large audiences, important team owners and sponsors. Now in its 31st year, the K&N Pro Series evolved from the NASCAR North Series that competed in New England and Canada in the 1980s and the famed Winston West Series that ruled the western states for decades.
The K&N Pro Series features America’s best short track drivers as well as racers from Mexico and from as far away as Japan. Some of the drivers who recently graduated from the K&N Pro Series into NASCAR’s major ranks include: Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Cole Custer.
Please note: An official entry list has not been filed for this event, but the following drivers are among the top 10 in their division and many are expected to compete in the St. Louis-Metro East region race.
Top K&N Pro Series East drivers
04 Ronnie Bassett Jr. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
2 Ryan Vargas La Mirada, California
4 Chase Cabre Tampa, Florida
6 Ruben Garcia Jr. Mexico City, Mexico
17 Tyler Ankrum San Bernardino, California
18 Colin Garrett Elmo, Virginia
30 Tyler Dippel Wallkill, New York
40 Anthony Alfredo Ridgefield, Connecticut
44 Dillon Bassett Winston-Salem, North Carolina
82 Spencer Davis Dawsonville, Georgia
Top K&N Pro Series West drivers
6 Derek Thorn Lakeport, California
7 Will Rodgers Solvang, California
9 Ryan Partridge Rancho Cucamonga, California
10 Matt Levin Tucson, Arizona
11 Takuma Koga Nagoya, Japan
16 Derek Kraus Stratford, Wisconsin
19 Hailie Deegan Temecula, California
22 Trevor Huddleston Agoura Hills, California
34 Cody Vanderwal LaSalle. Colorado
99 Cole Rouse Fort Smith, Arkansas
INDYCAR truly is an international event. In addition to America’s best drivers, the second annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline also draws competitors from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
Tickets for the second annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline may be purchased online at www.gatewaymsp.com or by calling the GMP ticket office at (618) 215-8888.
Tickets start at just $35. Kids 15 and under are free (general admission) with a paid adult. A limited number of Gold Level premium seats remain at just $75.
Support races include Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Series. New this year is the addition of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Monaco Cocktails Gateway Classic presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame on Friday.
Friday, August 24
8 a.m. — Parking lots open.
9 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
9:15 a.m. — INDYCAR garage open.
9-10 a.m. – Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons practice.
10:15-11:15 a.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series practice.
11:30 a.m.-Noon — Pro Mazda practice.
Noon – Kartplex opens.
12:15-1:15 p.m. — Verizon IndyCar Series practice.
1:30-3 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series final practice.
3:15-4 p.m. — Indy Lights practice.
4 p.m. — Coors Light Pole Night opening ceremonies.
4:15-5:15 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 qualifying.
5:30-6 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series qualifying.
6:15-7 p.m. — Pro Mazda qualifying.
7:15-7:45 p.m. — Indy Lights qualifying.
8-9 p.m. — Final INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 practice.
9 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver introductions.
9:15 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Monaco Cocktails Gateway Classic presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
10 p.m. – Kartplex closed.
Midnight — INDYCAR garage closed.
Saturday, August 25
10 a.m. — Parking lots open.
11 a.m. — Spectator gates open; Kartplex open.
Noon-1 p.m. – Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons.
2 p.m. — Verizon IndyCar Series garage opens.
2:45-3:30 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons.
3-7 p.m. — Rumble Before the Roar pre-race party.
3-4 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 driver autograph session.
3:45 p.m. — Pro Mazda Championship Presented By Cooper Tires race (55 laps).
4:45 p.m. — Indy Lights Presented By Cooper Tires Series race (60 laps).
6 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 warm-ups.
7 p.m. – The show starts at 7 p.m.! Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (248 laps, 310 miles, 500k).
9:40 p.m. — Post-race fan invasion and track scavenger hunt.
10 p.m. – Kartplex closed.
Schedule is subject to change.
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.