These Are the Race Tracks You Wish Were Still Around
Racing series have journeyed to and abandoned venues everywhere over the decades. Circuits have been left for a multitude of reasons, from the land itself becoming more profitable for other purposes to making schedule space for new tracks in more lucrative markets. However, fond memories of those races remained with competitors, volunteers and fans. So, we asked you earlier this week, which race tracks shouldn’t have died?
The responses were impressively varied, ranging from a 1960s Long Island road course turned golf course to an Australian speedway that fell into disuse at the start of the 21st century. Here’s your list of race tracks that you thought shouldn’t have died.
Caesars Palace - Las Vegas, NV
Born too late to even have a shot at driving on this beauty.
Submitted by: Milky
Before the upcoming race on the Las Vegas Strip, Formula 1 visited the parking lot of Caesars Palace twice in the early 1980s. The temporary circuit was derided by drivers for being a characterless, “Mickey Mouse” course. I guess someone had to miss this place. Today, the Caesar Palace Forum occupies the space.
Riverside International Raceway - Moreno Valley, CA
Riverside had it all. Road course could be configured different ways. 1/4 or 1/2 mile drag strip. Oval that was 3/8 of a mile I think. I saw pavement sprint cars on it once. Pretty boring compared to watching them on dirt. Speaking of dirt it also hosted Mickey Thompson’s Off-Road World Championships. I raced in it twice in front of 80,000 fans in the stands. Normally at desert races the only things we saw were cactuses.
Submitted by: germancarsonly
Calder Park Thunderdome - Melbourne, Australia
Calder Park Thunderdome! Here in Melbourne Australia. 1.8km (1.119mi) quad oval that was a shrunken copy of Charlotte. They could also combine it with the national circuit. Now it’s pretty run down, stands are missing chairs and overgrown, part of the oval is used for drifting.
Submitted by: fuddbutter
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, OH
Temporary road course - but I loved turn 1 at the Cleveland Indy at Lakefront Airport.
Submitted by: thisismyid2
The Cleveland Grand Prix was one of the favorite events on the CART calendar. Seeing IndyCars hurdle around the wide, sweeping airport runway and taxiway corners was incredible to watch as a fan. Things were taken to another level during the Champ Car World Series era when temporary floodlights were brought in and the race was run at night.
Nazareth Speedway - Nazareth, PA
Pour one out for Nazareth Speedway (PA), closest home track to the Andretti’s and one of the few in the Northeast. I had the privilege to be an SCCA worker (gates and infield) for the very last race there (IRL before the merger). Was great to see Michael and Mario leaving after the event. I’m not sure I’m sad as it didn’t have a lot going for it, at least at Pocono there’s several infields to be used for other track events, but always sad to lose a venue especially close to home.
Submitted by: ThunderCloud08
The Alpine Slide at Action Park - Vernon Township, NJ
Does the Alpine Slide at Action Park count?
Submitted by Modusoperandi
The half-mile-long slide might not have featured the stars of NASCAR or CART, but the infamous park attraction had an incident record that easily rivaled any speedway of the 1980s. Motorless carts were flung off of the concrete course, fracturing bones by the dozen and even killing attendees.
Bridgehampton Race Circuit - Bridgehampton, NY
Bridgehampton is my first thought, followed by Ontario Motor Speedway
Submitted by: Slow Joe Crow
It seems surreal that Richard Petty and David Pearson recorded NASCAR victories in the Hamptons. The race course on Long Island, three hours east of New York City, was often referred to simply as the Bridge. The nickname was so common that the golf course that replaced the track is named the Bridge Golf Club. Also, there’s another golf club in the area named the Bridgehampton Golf Club.
Paramount Ranch Racetrack - Agoura Hills, CA
Yep, Riverside—like we needed another shopping mall.
Yep, Bridgehampton— like we needed another golf course.
My pick is Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, NW of LA. Yeah, it was dangerous, but so’s the Nurburgring, Indy, the Isle of Man, etc. and it looks like it would have been a great drivers’ course.
Submitted by: bwwoster
Texas World Speedway - College Station, TX
It was, unfortunately, built in the wrong part of Texas with no sweetheart deal to give it the kind of road access and infrastructure it needed. It being out in the middle of nowhere kept it from closing even after it lost all of it’s major series events, and made it a mecca for amateur racers and hobbyists. Unfortunately, COTA being built relatively close combined with the growth of Bryan-College Station spelled the end of the line for a beloved road course (not to mention the two mile oval that once had the names Petty and Andretti flying around it).
Submitted by: Mustang2Matt
Ontario Motor Speedway - Ontario, CA
Ontario was a great facility. Seeing Indycars lap at 240 was spectacular. I only went to the California 500 once but spent many weekends there club racing on the road course.
Never drove the road course but had many laps in the right seat. Most memorable was a session with John Thomas in his 1974 Porsche RSR.
Went to a concert there once, too.
Submitted by: Clay_T
Ontario Motor Speedway was ahead of its time, and today, remains a relic of a bygone era. The Southern California superspeedway was created in the image of Indianapolis and built to host IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula One during the 1970s. It sounds like it would have been a money printing machine in today’s culture landscape. Though, Auto Club Speedway is being converted into a short track, so maybe Ontario was destined to fail.
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