Local group won’t buy Gateway

All the rumors about Gateway International Raceway being sold can now be put to rest.

The local group that had inquired about purchasing GIR from Dover Downs Entertainment, the company that owns Gateway among its four tracks, has broken off talks.

"I wished that I had better news to report," said Kenny Nowling, president and chief executive officer of the American Drag Racing League, the company that had been in talks with Dover. "My investors kind of soured a little bit after finding out … we weren't aware that Gateway doesn't own this property. Dover owns a very small portion of this property.

"It got very convoluted. We're talking about having to lease a section … turn three is owned by someone and this adjoining property (the marsh land that runs parallel to the dragstrip). My group wants to buy a facility, they want to be able to expand that facility, they wanted to put race shops there. Unfortunately it just wasn't the right fit."

Gateway general manager Lenny Batycki declined comment, deferring to Dover. Executive Vice President Michael Tatoian, who was at GIR in May for a National Hot Rod Association event, said at the time Gateway "wasn't for sale." But he said Dover would listen to anybody who called.

Nowling, whose offices are in O'Fallon, Mo., was at Gateway on Friday to announce that Hardee's would sponsor his drag racing event at GIR on Aug. 7-8.

One of Nowling's investors is Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar. The sheikh is an avid drag racing fan and is a drag racer himself. He also owns Al-Anabi Racing, which races in the NHRA with Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon and in Funny Car with Del Worsham as the pilot. Worsham won the Funny Car race here May 3.

"We were very serious," Nowling added. "I would never waste anyone's time going through the due diligence process. The folks at Dover were very generous and we didn't want to create a buzz. I desperately wanted (buying Gateway) to be the next step for the ADRL."

But that won't happen. STLtoday.com

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