This year, Sargent will host his first superspeedway event at Gateway Motorsports Park in the St. Louis, Missouri area, giving him well over 20 different race tracks in eight states that he has owned or leased for events.
Sargent has previously claimed the ARCA “John Marcum Award”, USAC Racing Promoter Of The Year, RPM Promoters Workshop Promoter Of The Year, and UMP Promoter Of The Year.
With a résumé that includes more than 25 years of successful motorsports promotion – including running the largest sports and entertainment facility in New England – well-respected racing executive Jerry Gappens has reached an agreement with track owner Jack Himelick to lease and promote Gas City I-69 Speedway effective immediately.
Located just off Interstate 69 between Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, the semi-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval opened in the mid-1980s.
Known for his creative and effective marketing and promotional skills, Jerry enjoyed a 23-year career with Speedway Motorsports, Inc., owner and operator of eight major NASCAR venues, working for NASCAR Hall of Fame track owner O. Bruton Smith.
A native of Kokomo, Indiana, Jerry most recently served as executive vice-president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway for eight years. He developed marketing strategies that helped sell more than 1 million tickets to NASCAR, motorcycle and road course events during his tenure. In addition, he helped create new revenue streams, increased brand awareness of the multi-use facility and its events and implemented exciting pre-race entertainment, including concerts, game shows with prizes totaling $300,000 and a $1 million New Hampshire Educational Lottery promotional giveaway.
Before his promotion to oversee NHMS, Gappens spent 15 years in executive management at Charlotte Motor Speedway, working under the “P.T. Barnum” of motorsports promotion, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. His various roles included publicity, promotion and marketing events for the 1.5-mile superspeedway, quarter-mile and fifth-mile asphalt ovals and a four-tenths-mile dirt track. Gappens was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Most Outstanding PR/Marketing executive in the NASCAR industry during his time at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Additionally, Gappens worked as an on-air talent for ABC Sports’ coverage of major motorsports events, including the Indianapolis 500, Monaco Grand Prix and various NASCAR races.
“Jerry brings a wealth of experience in motorsports promotion and event management,” said Himelick. “I look forward to us working together in making Gas City I-69 Speedway one of the premier short tracks in the Midwest. “
Himelick purchased the facility, which was dormant at the time, in 1996 and has made significant upgrades during his ownership. He brought in Jiggs Thomason in 1997 to promote the track and the two enjoyed a successful 17-year run until Thomason’s retirement. In recent years, various promoters have rented the facility for special events only. Gappens plans to restore a full schedule of events this season.
“This is a great opportunity,” said Gappens. “I appreciate Jack’s faith in me and allowing me to come on board and usher in a new era of racing and entertainment for this little gem of a facility. I think the fans, competitors and community are going to like what we have in store for them.”
Justin spent his early career racing Midgets in California. At the age of 16, he was crowned the 2007 Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) Midget champion.
Jerry was tapped to drive the #39BC for Clauson-Marshall Racing in the 2017 Chili Bowl. He won his preliminary qualifying night and started on the pole of the Saturday night feature, where he ultimately finished third behind Christopher Bell and Daryn Pittman.
Jerry moved to Indiana in 2009 at the age of 18, initially living and working in sprint car owner Jeff Walker’s shop. In 2010, he was named USAC National Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, driving for car owner Kenny Baldwin. Over the next several years, he spent time driving for owners Walker, Baldwin, Mark Hery, Rick Pollock, Andrew Elson, Tony Epperson, and Steve & Carla Phillips.
At the tail end of the 2016 season, Grant joined Sam McGhee Motorsports and entered the most successful period of his USAC career, recording 18 top-five finishes in his first 21 USAC races with the team.
In 2017, Grant‘s car owner Chris Carli teamed up with Hemelgarn Racing in the USAC Silver Crown series. After becoming the first driver in USAC history to win the midget and sprint car openers in the same year, Grant had a chance to become the only driver to win the opener for all three series, but engine trouble in the Sumar Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track left that honor unclaimed.
Justin just captured the two night West Coast/Southwest Sprints in Las Vegas. His season is off to a super start.