During the NASCAR Cup Series race in St. Louis, flames ignite around the track.

World Wide Technology Raceway Puts the Pedal to the Metal

Tuesday February 6, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

Racing enthusiasts, we’ve got a bucket list item for you. Whether you want to watch professional drivers tear up the track or you personally want to get behind the wheel of a race car, plan a trip to World Wide Technology Raceway.

Located just 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis in Madison, Illinois, World Wide Technology Raceway hosts a wide range of motorsport events to satisfy your need for speed. In fact, it’s the only racetrack in the country to welcome the NASCAR Cup Series, the NTT IndyCar Series and the NHRA Midwest Nationals.

“We’re in a unique position to offer racing events from March through November every year,” owner Curtis Francois says. “We also operate other events, from Tough Mudder to WonderLight’s Christmas, so there’s always something happening at the racetrack.”

If you’re coming from out of town, World Wide Technology Raceway also features more than 700 camping spaces so that you can sleep among the action. “The St. Louis region has fantastic hotels, but if you want to bring your camper, we’ve got you covered,” Francois says. “Camping at the racetrack is its own cultural experience.”

World Wide Technology Raceway hosts major events that appeal to a wide range of racing interests.
Photo courtesy of World Wide Technology Raceway

Francois, a St. Louis native who began racing when he was a teenager, recognized long ago that the Gateway City has a tremendous motorsports following, and so, he set out to create a superior experience for the fans.

“People who have always loved motorsports were among our first visitors, but we’ve also made fans out of people who had never showed an interest in racing before coming to World Wide Technology Raceway,” Francois says. “We’re really proud of that.”

Unlike any other sport, racing engages all five senses, and you have to be there in person to get the full experience. From the rev of the car engines to the flavor of the iconic eats to the flyovers of the military aircraft, you won’t want to forget a single sensation.

On top of the sheer memorability of events at World Wide Technology Raceway, it’s also a family-friendly venue. “We value family,” Francois explains, “and we aim to make our experiences affordable for all.”

The 2024 season at World Wide Technology Raceway begins with Drift STL on March 2, followed by the first event in the Ranken Technical College Midnight Madness program, which offers a safer alternative to illegal street racing. Organized yet informal, the latter will take place on the confines of an NHRA-sanctioned ¼-mile drag strip on select Fridays throughout the season.

Major events kick off with Enjoy Illinois 300, which will bring the cars and stars of the NASCAR Cup Series to World Wide Technology Raceway on June 2. In addition to the highly anticipated race, NASCAR weekend includes the Confluence Music Festival, the JJK 5K to benefit the Jackie-Joyner Kersee Foundation and other spectacular fan enhancements. Insider tip: Splurge on the infield experience to get access to the Gateway Garage where you can interact with the cars and drivers as they prepare to compete on the 1¼-mile oval.

Next up, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 attracts NTT IndyCar drivers from across the globe. On Aug. 16 and 17, ticketholders can enjoy a pre-race party, an autograph session and the highest class of regional North American open-wheel racing in the U.S.

Later in the season, World Wide Technology Raceway will prepare for the top two drag racing events of the year: the Million Dollar Drag Race from Sept. 9 to 14 and the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Midwest Nationals from Sept. 27 to 29.

From a fan perspective, drag racing is the best sport on earth because of the sights, sounds and smells – not to mention, the burnouts. Imagine brightly colored cars emerging from a plume of smoke – Top Fuel dragsters go from 0 to 100 miles per hour in less than a second, and they can reach speeds upwards of 300 miles per hour. It’s not difficult to understand how NHRA came up with its badass slogan: Speed for All.

“After every major event, we send out customer satisfaction surveys, and approximately 90 percent of responses have been resoundingly positive,” Francois says. “The reactions of event attendees enable us to continually evolve and improve to give fans exactly what they want on event days.”

A diverse group of people attend a race at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Photo courtesy of World Wide Technology Raceway

Some people want to be a part of the racetrack in every way – including driving on it! So, World Wide Technology Raceway offers adventures such as the Xtreme Xperience and the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience that allow you to speed around the oval in exotic cars. The best part? You don’t need any experience – professional instructors will teach you how to drive the racing line.

“If you want to start smaller, head to the Gateway Kartplex, a premier racing facility for go-karts,” Francois says. “It’s a wonderful introduction to the world of motorsports.

“World Wide Technology Raceway encompasses approximately 720 acres of space,” he continues, “and it’s all designed for fun.”

Will we see you there this year?