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It's official: NASCAR Cup series race heading to WWT Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway will be the site of a NASCAR Cup race for the first time in 2022 after years spent pursuing the top series in American auto racing, officials announced this morning at a press conference.

The inaugural race, scheduled for Sunday, June 5, marks the final and biggest link in building WWTR’s national prestige in the racing world.

“I set some ambitious goals when I took over the racetrack, and to see them come to fruition is a dream come true,” WWTR owner Curtis Francois said in a statement.

He added, “Housing the premier series from each of the major motorsports sanctioning bodies is a tremendous honor. And earning a NASCAR Cup series race is like having the All-Star game, Stanley Cup Finals and World Series here every year.”

Francois said last month that he was still working to land the event that WWTR always has coveted after hosting races in the NASCAR truck series and what is now known as the Xfinity series over the last two decades.

Francois made several trips to Daytona in recent years to foster and maintain a relationship with NASCAR. The race at the 78,000-seat racetrack was announced at a press conference at Ballpark Village.

“The dedication Curtis has shown to the sport of auto racing is one of the many factors that led to bringing an event to the Gateway City,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of strategy and innovation.

Brad Keselowski, who has don onto Cup Series prominence, hoists the trophy alongside his pit crew after winning the 5-Hour Energy 250, a Nationwide Series race on Oct 23, 2010 at Gateway International Raceway. The track is now known as World Wide Technology Raceway.

Francois purchased the track 10 years ago after it briefly sat dormant. The previous owner was Dover Motorsports. The presence of a local owner has allowed for greater growth during Francois’ time at the helm.

In addition to the NASCAR trucks and NHRA drag racing events, WWTR added an IndyCar race in 2017 for the first time under Francois. That race has drawn as many as 50,000 fans in 2019.

Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania reportedly will have one race in 2022 after hosting two every year since 1982. That was one move that opened a spot for WWTR to move onto the schedule.

NASCAR added new tracks in 2021 for the Cup series with three road courses joining the mix. Nashville became the new site of an oval race. WWTR will bring another oval at 1 ¼ miles.

The track was re-surfaced in 2017 after 20 years soon after IndyCar drivers reported their tires were being cut in practice for that year’s race. The original asphalt was torn out and a three-inch-thick track put in place.

The Cup series is the top brand of stock car driving in the United States. The circuit generated stars such as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott and Darrell Waltrip, as well as St. Louis native Rusty Wallace.

A new era of stars includes current points leader Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney. Among those still competing in the Cup series who have won races at WWTR in the last 25 years are Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell and Brad Keselowski.