You might never own your own race park like Tony George or play chicken on the track like Lewis Hamilton, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge your raceway fantasies at some of the most famous raceways in the country. From professional classes to family outings, each of these parks has something unique to offer.
1. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
It might be a cliché, but most clichés developed that reputation for a reason. If you've never traveled to Speedway, Indiana, now is definitely the time to realize that dream. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is arguably the most well-known venue of its kind, offering a museum and a racing experience two-seat ride. Don't forget to visit the top of the Pagoda so you can really appreciate the entire facility.
2. Road Atlanta
Most modern raceways are your traditional oval shape, but Road Atlanta breaks convention in an exciting way. The turkey leg-shaped course includes dips and blind turns that draw motorists from every corner of the globe. As a bonus, it's situated in gorgeous Georgia hill country, which makes the road trip to the park an adventure all to itself.
3. Daytona International Speedway
It's been around for more than 50 years, but it's now getting a facelift as the governing body approves a redesign of the front stretch that will commence in summer 2013. Daytona International Speedway is the perfect destination for your next vacation, especially since you can enjoy a few days at the beach between visits to the raceway. There are several driving experiences available to the general public, too, so don't miss an opportunity to get behind the wheel.
4. Talladega Superspeedway
If you're going to attend a race and purchase a pit pass, you can't go wrong with a trip to Talladega. Schedule a tour of the track, then consider joining the Dega Club if you don't live far away, or if you plan to visit on a regular basis. This part of Alabama is particularly scenic, so make sure you schedule some time for a joy ride in the country during your visit.
5. Auto Club Speedway
Not only has the Auto Club Speedway hosted plenty of exciting races over the years, but it has also played host to enormous car shows and even a few film crews (it's located in Southern California). This is one of the best raceways for family guys who want to bond with their kids over IndyCars and racetrack food, as the park offers a special kids club for children under 12.
6. Darlington Raceway
Who wouldn't want to visit a track "too tough to tame"? Considered one of the more difficult raceways in the U.S., Darlington has been visited by plenty of greats in the racing industry, from Dale Earnhardt to Richard Petty. It is considered special because of its length and unusual configuration, both of which present exciting challenges on race day, and it is widely known as a favorite of Ryan Newman.
7. Pocono Raceway
This is another one that flies in the face of convention. The triangular Pocono track is definitely a must-see if you are interested in the Sports Car Club of America or if you'd like to take a turn behind the wheel. The solar-powered facility is one of the nicest venues in North America, and its miraculous recovery from the brink of bankruptcy has made it a favorite among fans and drivers alike.
Content by Steve Thompson.
Photo: southernfried via morguefile.com/southernfried
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Daytona International Speedway