On Friday night, the NASCAR trucks were covered for the day. But that doesn’t matter to race fans like Rusty Caldwell, whose name only sounds like he ought to be behind the wheel of a race car.
“We just like the racing atmosphere,” he said. “Nancy and I have both been to Bristol before, camping, and it’s just always a good time.”
At the Kartplex Track on the infield, NASCAR truck driver Spencer Boyd is not far from home.
“I grew up in Creve Coeur,” said Boyd. “So it’s really special growing up here and driving by this track.”
John Anderson will be driving the number 66 car.
“This place has a lot of character,” Anderson said. “I’m from South Carolina and this place is a lot like Darlington. The first cut race I ever saw was at Darlington Speedway. And Gateway has a different turn 1 and 2, than 3 and 4. And that little difference in the track makes for close racing.”
The race Saturday at Gateway is designed to call attention to the work done by electrical repair personnel known as linemen. David Freeman of Sacramento lost his arm in an electrical accident three years ago.
“We are really, actually, first-responders,” said Freeman. “We are the first guys out there. What’s the firemen thing—they’re the guys running toward the burning building while everybody’s running away? Well, they don’t run to the burning building until linemen tell them it’s okay to go in.”
Gateway General Manager Chris Blair said events like this bode well for the future of Gateway.
“I think we’ll still stay in the 300-330 events per year range,” said Blair. “But I think what you’re going to see is a bigger level of event coming to Gateway.”