Gateway Revises 2009 Midweek Event Schedule!

Bret Kepner

New Member

In an attempt to maintain a weekly drag racing series as a viable option, Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, has restructured its Tuesday and Wednesday midweek programs for the 2009 racing season. Beginning on Tuesday, March 24, GIR’s Tuesday Street Tires Test-and-Tune and Wednesday Slick Tires and Motorcycles Test-and-Tune programs will be combined into one program held each week on Tuesday. Starting with the Tuesday, March 31 event, the weekly series will include the Street Car Shootout Series, the Doc’s Harley-Davidson Street Bike Shootout and, on previously scheduled dates, High School Eliminator.

Using a new format to ensure an equal number of run attempts for all competitors, a “punch card” distributed to and carried by each entered driver will allow up to three official passes, (not counting elimination rounds in the Shootout programs). As in past Tuesday and Wednesday events, however, early arrivals and those who stay later in the program can expect up to five runs, (discounting unforeseen delays), during each Tuesday night program.

An important aspect of the new Tuesday night format is the fact that Wednesdays will be retained as rain dates for each weekly program. If a scheduled Tuesday event is rained out under GIR guidelines, (the cancellation of all activity within two hours of the first car running down the track), the same program, (including Shootouts and High School Eliminator), will be contested the next night using the same schedule and format.

In addition, the new Tuesday events will include more employees in technical inspection, staging, starting line and race control to increase the efficiency of the event. The technical inspection process will be streamlined to include the sale of technical inspection cards, the signing of releases and the distribution of armbands in one specific area at the rear of the staging area.

Strict staging lane assignments will ensure that timed trials and qualifying runs will be orderly and consistent. The misuse or transfer of “punch cards” during an event will, obviously, be considered a capital offense. There will be no changes in the format of the Street Car Shootout Series or the Street Bike Shootout Series; each will involve the four quickest qualifiers in eliminations. “Fastest Street Car” qualifier decals will still be awarded to the sixteen quickest drivers in the SCSS and the Sport Tuner Showdown and Super Truck Showdown programs will still be contested.

Spectator admission will remain at $10 for adults with children under 12 years admitted free. Contestant entry fees will remain as posted for the 2009 season.

For cars with Street Tires, Contestant Admission for 2009 is $20 or $15 for all drivers with two or more passengers purchasing a spectator admission. The $15 contestant admission is also available to all current High School or College Students possessing valid school identification.

For cars with Slick Tires, Contestant Admission for 2009 is $25. Contestant admission for all motorcycle riders and Junior Dragster racers is $20. Contestant Admission of $20 for all drivers with two or more passengers purchasing a spectator admission.

The following is the Tuesday Event Timetable which will be followed under the new format. Events which include High School Eliminator will utilize a slightly modified schedule which will not affect the number of runs afforded to other competitors. Note that, in situations in which fewer delays are experienced, more runs may be afforded to each participant:

Gates Open at 5 PM

First call to staging at 5:30 PM

Staging lane assignments:

Lanes 1-2-3-4: Street Tire cars
Lanes 5-6: Slick Tire Cars
Lane 7: High School Eliminator Times Trials/Pro Tree Tests/Junior Dragsters
Lane 0: Motorcycles

Free Open Timed Trials (No Card Punches) from 6:00 PM until 6:30 PM.
(One car from each lane for thirty minutes).

6:30 PM: Street Tire Timed Trials/SCSS Qualifying Session #1

7:00 PM: Motorcycle Timed Trials/SBSS Qualifying Session #1

7:30 PM: Slick Tire Timed Trials Session #1

8:00 PM: Street Tire Timed Trials/SCSS Qualifying Session #2

8:30PM: Motorcycle Timed Trials/SBSS Qualifying Session #2

9:00 PM: Slick Tire Timed Trials Session #2

9:30 PM: Street Tire Timed Trials/SCSS Qualifying Session #3 (Cards with less than two Punches)

9:45 PM: Motorcycle Timed Trials/SBSS Qualifying Session #3 (Cards with less than two Punches)

10:00 PM: SCSS Top Four Qualifiers will report in front of main grandstands; SBSS Top Four Qualifiers will report to “short ‘chute”.

10:00 PM: Slick Tire Timed Trials (Cards with less than two Punches)

10:15 PM: Semi-finals of SBSS and SCSS

10:20 PM: Street Tire Timed Trials (Cards with less than two Punches)

10:45 PM: Slick Tire Timed Trials (Cards with less than two Punches)

11:00 PM: All SCSS and SBSS Finals in the following order:

Super Truck Showdown

Sport Tuner Showdown

Street Bike Shootout

Street Car Shootout

11:10 PM: Winner’s Circle photos in front of main grandstands.

The staff of Gateway International Raceway apologizes for any inconvenience presented by this revision but, in the current economic climate, everything possible was done to preserve the programs currently offered. Please note that, other than the cancellation of the twenty-four scheduled Wednesday events, no other 2009 programs, racing series or major event has been affected or changed at GIR.
Brett, I know you and the track are trying to make this work, but this really stinks. The track is going to be mess with cars every where. In reality I think you can expect to get 2 passes prior to the elimination runs. The punch cards will help make things more equal for time runs. The volume of cars and 2 to maybe 3 runs will make it really hard to try and tune anything.

Brett - I really think the track need to move the tech line away from the staging lanes. The arm booth and turning in tech cards should be over in the same area. There is always a mess of cars around the staging lanes and parked around the tower getting arm bands. Please suggest to move this to the other side of the parking lot. It should free up the staging lanes for cars ready to race due to the increase in volume. We could use all the staging lanes and not have cars backed up past the fuel pit. Maybe 4 staging lanes could be for street tire cars, ect. There should also be a track person at the end of the staging lanes to help direct cars. People are always getting in the wrong lanes and trying to jockey for position - street guys in slick lanes ect. Use of all staging lanes and more organization by track workers within the staging lanes would help greatly with the volume of street cars, race cars, and motorcycles get more runs & quicker.

I don't mean to be a big complainer but would like racing to be fun and not a disaster or major hassel. I & all the local Buick guys really appreciate all you do to make Gateway a great place to race.

I hope you will consider my suggestions and review them with Gateway Management.

Thanks, Craig (aka Rodney's helper)
87 Regal T - grey

In some ways, this is Not Good, and is bound to cause Major Chaos.

In other ways, it could be good for the program. (Don't shoot me yet...) The street tire guys will get to see the slick cars, and visa-versa. Many have never seen the other program. The fans may get the most out of this. But...most of us want seat time...

I agree with Craig here: A little planning will avoid mucho disaster. This is strictly "thinking out loud" and not whining. Our club appreciates having a national-event level track in town, and wants to make it work best for everyone. A few ideas:

- Have an open presentation/meeting at the track to present all of this. Make sure everyone understands it. Perhaps require drivers to get a copy of the general parameters and the locations of everything, plus sign that they've received it, in order to be able to run.

- Insure that all spectators park away from the pits. Maybe even the other side of the track. Spectator cars in pit spots are a constant annoyance, and in this scenario will be intolerable. Things will just be too packed.

- I agree with Craig's tech idea. Or at least the assessment that its a problem area. If it needs to come up the lanes or that area, the "booth" should just be another stop in the process - like at Subway. The tower makes for good connection with the staff and facility, but it slows the process. More than the gate. Perhaps it would be best to organize it over on the south side of the lanes, in front of the stands...dunno. You have every driver having to go through that station...and would move fastest if were closest to the drivers and cars.

This just gave me some ideas about how this process could really be improved. But it would take a little work. I'll hold on this last idea for now...