Bommarito 500 kicks-off weekend with a host of events

ST. LOUIS - We're just days away from the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, but there's a whole lot of fun planned before the race takes off at the Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend starting with a Fanfest at Ballpark Village Thursday night.

There, fans will be able to meet and greet with drivers, get autographs, see Fred Bird, along with a lot of other stuff, but that's just the start of race weekend.

“Organizer say whether it’s on or off the track they want you to have a unique experience Bommarito Automotive Group 500.”

“It's a great show. Obviously, a great city to host Indy cars. I’m just so happy they’re back and just keep growing the venue, it deserves it,” says Mario Andretti.

The Gateway Motorsports Park is speeding into its 2nd Bommarito Automotive Group 500 with a jammed packed weekend of events.

“This year we've added Friday night, the 'Cars of Indy', so that’s all the history and historical vehicles and cars and drivers are going to be there Friday night. You’ll get a chance to see them. Saturday we’ve added the 'Rumble Before the Roar' or so during those three races Saturday there will be a party going on," explains John Bommarito.

Friday night is also the first time NASCAR K&N Series 150 will race on a track that's longer than 1 mile and it will be the first time they’ve ever been to Gateway Motorsports Park.

“Think about it. If you go to a baseball game or hockey game, and those are great venues too, but they go through the tunnel, they walk out, they do their game and they go through the tunnel and go home. You can bring your grandkids, your kids out here and you can go right into the pits and you can literally interact with the drivers, the owners, the pit people, and you can touch them and it’s just a great experience and it’s not a lot of money,” says Chuck Wallis, Vice President of Bommarito Automotive Group.

Kids 15 and under get free general admission on Friday and Saturday.

"Things were working on this year, that we didn’t have last year, is Kidzone activities. We’re focused on more kid-friendly displays in the midway," explains Chris Blair, Vice President of Gateway Motorsports Park.

And if you decide to head out to the track, this year it should be easier to navigate.

“We made tremendous upgrades based on suggestions from last year. We completely revamped our parking, added 6,000 parking spaces, brand new road to get in and out of the racetrack, so when people come back this year they’re going to see they were continuing to move forward,” says Curtis Francois, owner of Gateway Motorsports Park.

If you’re looking for a place to stay on race weekend, you may want to rent a tiny house. It doesn’t get any closer to the track since they're set up in the infield.

Fanfest kicks off Ballpark Village Thursday night. It goes from 5 pm – 7 pm and admission is free.