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Illinois tourism to sponsor NASCAR race in Metro East area

The state of Illinois is now officially a NASCAR sponsor.  

State officials announced Monday that the Illinois Office of Tourism will sponsor the “Enjoy Illinois 300” race at the World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, near St. Louis, this summer.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity reports the state is paying $700,000 for naming rights for the race, but raceway owner Curtis Francois says Illinois is making a good investment.

“Maryville University conducted an impact study for us recently, and they predict an impact of $60 million,” Francois said. “That comes from hundreds of new jobs, thousands of hotel nights, and thousands of more meals and beverages enjoyed in nearby hotels and restaurants.”

The former Gateway Motorsports Park has seen its ups and downs. The facility was shuttered in November 2010. It was later reopened by Francois, a St. Louis real estate developer and former Indy car driver.

Race week will feature several other events, such as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series at nearby Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach on Friday, June 3, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota 200 on Saturday, June 4. The week concludes with the Enjoy Illinois 300 on Sunday, June 5.  

Francois said the racing events may lead to bigger and better things for downstate Illinois.

“This one NASCAR Cup series race, if done well, can lead to many more and years of transformational economic change for the Metro East,” Francois said.

For more information about the Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR Cup Series Race at World Wide Technology Raceway, visit WWTRaceway.com.

This article was originally posted on Illinois tourism to sponsor NASCAR race in Metro East area

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