By Lee Montgomery
Dover Motorsports Inc. surprised no one Thursday when it announced it was "ceasing all operations" at Gateway International Raceway.
The 1.25-mile track in Madison, Ill., held its final race on Oct. 23, the 5-Hour Energy 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series event. Earlier this year, Dover Motorsports said it didn't want to host Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series races at Gateway.
"Gateway is a tremendous facility in a great racing community, but we are simply unable to operate it with an acceptable return," Dover Motorsports President and CEO Denis McGlynn said in a press release. "We truly appreciate the many years of dedication shown by our Gateway employees and their efforts to make Gateway such a great destination for all those passionate about our sport - from racing fans and drivers to sponsors, team owners and sanctioning bodies."
Dover Motorsports officials said the majority of the track is leased from third parties, and that the company owns approximately 150 acres of the facility and has been in discussions with several interested purchasers. One rumored purchaser is the owner of a local track.
Gateway is the second Dover Motorsports track to be shut down, joining Memphis Motorsports Park, which was sidelined last year. Gateway, interestingly, replaced Memphis on the Nationwide Series schedule this year.
Dover Motorsports also operates Dover International Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway.
Attendance at Nashville for its Nationwide races has been down the last couple of seasons, though that track is among the newer race tracks in the United States.