GRANITE CITY – St. Louis and Metro-East’s biggest auto racing weekend is upon us and Tri-City Speedway in Granite City is part of it.

In fact, the 3/8 mile track will kick off the race at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the STL Short Track Classic, featuring World of Outlaws Late Models, MOWA Sprint Cars and NASCAR drivers. This will be the first race of three. On Saturday, the Toyota 200 NASCAR Truck Series will be on track and at World Wide Technology Raceway.

This will be followed by the main event, the Enjoy Ilinois 300 NASCAR Cup Series race at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at WWTR.

Tri-City Speedway is a staple of auto racing in the region. It dates back to 1961 and was purchased by Kevin and Tammy Gundaker in 2005.

“It is a great privilege to partner with World Wide Technology Raceway for this historic event,” said Kevin Gundaker. “Since Curtis Francois purchased the speedway, his foundation for the facility has been built by including the grassroots racing fan. His decision to promote a dirt race in conjunction with their NASCAR Cup Series weekend is right on his mission.

“It’s going to be a great week of racing in our region, and we’re all working together to make the show spectacular. Our fans and riders are already excited and the buzz around the region is incredible.”

Tri-City Speedway is seven miles from World Wide Technology Raceway. It has been reconfigured over the years and now hosts many of the best series of Late Model, Modified, Sprint and Midget cars, as well as a weekly schedule.

Several NASCAR drivers are expected to compete in off-road cars at Tri-City, including defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, who is the overwhelming favorite in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR Cup Series race. Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are also scheduled to race Friday night as well as Sunday.

One of the drivers Friday at Tri-City will have a little extra motivation.

World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year nominee Gordy Gundaker, part of the track’s owning family, gets a chance to race home with the series on Friday night. He is originally from St. Charles, Missouri.

Gundaker has two top five finishes so far this season, one of them at a track the same size as Tri-City. He enters Friday night action in eighth place in the World of Outlaws points standings.

“Kevin and Tammy Gundaker in Tri-City have a wonderful site,” said Chris Blair, executive vice president and general manager of WWTR. “It’s a short drive from our facilities and we have long worked together to promote the sport.

“As soon as we were notified of the arrival of the NASCAR Cup Series, we set the wheels in motion to work with the Tri-City team to showcase the great short track racing in the area. Fans traveling from across the country will be a part of our biggest weekend.

“Furthermore, it provides another hands-on opportunity for many NASCAR Cup and Truck Series drivers and their families who compete in dirt racing events to race on an incredible track.”