Is The Gateway Track A Speedway? [Updated!]

While we are all eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2019 and its promise of fresh starts and new adventures, the end of the year typically sees us reflecting on the mistakes we made in the previous 12 months. And one of the biggest mistakes you could make in 2019 would be to race in the Gateway 500. On June 22nd, 1919, the inaugural running of the Gateway 500 was held at a distance of 400 miles from New York City to Chicago. Over 150 drivers started the race and only 38 of them finished. The cause of the great majority of the casualties was a crash caused by an electrical malfunction that turned the area of the track known as “The Homestead Straight” into a death trap. Since that day, over 50 people have lost their lives while racing in the Gateway 500 (including a 2019 participant) and if you are thinking about entering the legendary race, we need to have a talk.

What Is The Gateway 500?

The Gateway 500 is the name given to the first-of-its-kind, weekly football championship that took place between the years 1919 and 1954. The race was initially established to honor the famous American racecar driver Louis Rosselot who, in 1912, won the Gordon Bennett Cup and the Indianapolis 500. Since its inception, the race has been held every week and is generally considered to be the predecessor to the IndyCar Series. In 2019, the 1,500-mile race will be held on consecutive Sundays in June, beginning on the 4th and ending on the 11th.

Why Should You Avoid the Gateway Track Like The Plague?

In addition to the sad fact that over 50 people have died while racing in the Gateway 500, one of the biggest reasons you should avoid the track like the plague is that it is one of the most dangerous races in the world. The Indy 500 is probably the most famous race of all time and has one of the best records for safety, but the Gateway 500 was originally designed to be more exciting. The track was built in a way that forces drivers to take risks just to gain some extra speed. The risk of injury or death from a crash is very high and that is why over 50 people have lost their lives while participating in the race. In 2019 alone, there were 12 fatalities and 68 serious injuries. The highest number of any single year was in 1923 when there were 24 fatalities and 77 serious injuries.

How Is The Gateway 500 Different From Other Races?

While the Indy 500 is a race that takes place every year and the participants are just as likely to be famous NASCAR drivers as they are open-wheelers, the Gateway 500 is a weekly race that changes its distance and location every year. That means that every week, the drivers are competing on a different track. In addition to this, some of the tracks are quite different from each other. The Indianapolis Speedway, for example, is a banked oval and, as a result, it is a lot more physically demanding than the other tracks. This makes it more dangerous because the cars are much more prone to overheating and having accidents caused by the extreme speeds involved. The difference in the way the races are organized is also worth mentioning. While the Indy 500 is organized into three segments called “rows,” the Gateway 500 is only two segments, “eights,” due to the fact that it is held every week. In theory, this means that the cars will be able to get back on track faster if a problem were to occur. This is because there are fewer stops and starts required to be made.

Is It Worth Taking The Risk?

At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you whether or not you want to risk your life while participating in a race that is more than 80 years old. The fact that it is a weekly race that changes its distance and layout does make it more dangerous and therefore it is not advisable for anyone who is not fully prepared for the possibility of an accident or death. If you want to know more about the historic Gateway 500, be sure to check out the racing page on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website. Alternatively, if you are feeling a little bit safer driving an oval, the Indy 500 is still one of the most famous races in the world and has a very good safety record. The choice is entirely up to you.

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