What race track has delivered the best memories?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jan 6, 2023 | race track, Discussion, Favorite, Circuit

Photography Credit: Dave Green

This country is dotted with a huge number of race tracks, from little club circuits to internationally renowned ribbons of asphalt. 

Just a simple question: Which ones are your favorites? And is that as a participant, spectator or both?

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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/5/23 3:08 p.m.

I'd have to say Daytona has become one of my favorites for the sole reason that going to the Rolex 24 was a tradition for quite a few years.

Granted, my brother lives in L.A. now, but at least I'm able to hang out with my dad at the race for a few when I'm not needed for GRM duties.

Ranger50 MegaDork
1/5/23 3:19 p.m.

It's kind of hard to just choose one.

I mean South Georgia Motorsports Park holds some of the fastest radial tire records in the country. It's tough to beat Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk for the $1/# ice cream in the middle of summer....

frenchyd MegaDork
1/5/23 3:21 p.m.

Elkhart Lake. Since 1950  it has had some of the best eating,  friendliest people,  most exciting racing of any track I've raced at. 
  The track is long enough (4 miles)  that you could pass and be Re-passed a couple of times a lap. 
  Very much a chess track in that you always had to think several corners and straights ahead. 
    The big Start - Finish straight with its uphill start  really teaches a person how to plan a start.   You don't just wait for the green flag to drop, you need to understand where those around you are going to be when it drops.  Torquey engines will want a slow start while high winding engines will want a fast start. If I see my opponent studying his mirrors I know he's trying to figure out how to get around the guy in front.  So I'll tend to rule out the middle and see who's behind me.  
     Only big long tracks can do that!   

Tom1200 UberDork
1/5/23 3:52 p.m.

I've not run a whole lot of tracks: LVMS inside and outside road courses, Willow Springs, Buttonwillow, Spring Mtn Motorsports, Firebird Raceway and Riverside. 

As a competitor my favorite memory is Riverside. I raced my motorcycle there once and they used the NASCAR course with the mile long back straight. I went 130mph on my Honda 125 GP bike. Going that fast on something the size of a BMX bike was super cool.

Spring Mountain Motorsports is my favorite course to drive, not because I run there the most, but because it has so many great medium speed corners  (75-80mph). They are fast enough to be fun but slow enough so newer drivers aren't intimidated. My best car race ever was there.

As a spectator Riverside was pretty good but I've only been a total spectator at maybe 4 tracks (Long Beach, LVMS, Willow Springs & Riverside).

buzzboy SuperDork
1/5/23 3:52 p.m.


I've played it plenty in Forza. Learned the order of the corners. Then we went to the 2014 Lemons race there. 28 cars entered. It was more like a 2 day open track day. I was blown away how fun it was already kinda knowing what was around the corner. And turn 17/17a with the uneven concrete squares was quite the pucker in the wet. 


Doesn't hurt that I got to take checker on a class win!

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
1/5/23 3:58 p.m.
frenchyd said:

Elkhart Lake.

Great question- I've been to the Indy 500 x 22 times and I've been to Road America maybe 60-70x?  

Can I really pick one over the other?

Like trying to pick a favorite child...  Based on where I have raced:

1. Road Atlanta, 2. Road America, 3. WatkinsGlen, 4. Barber. 5. Mosport, 6. VIR, 7. Sebring, 8. Daytona, 9. Lime Rock, 10. Mid-Ohio, 11. Roebling Road,  12. Summit Point

If I get to race at Pitt Race it might well move up in the top 3.

If only allowed one pick... Road Atlanta every time.    I like elevation change (notice the top 6).

It would take a totally paid for ride to get me back to CMP, or NJMP.

racerfink UberDork
1/5/23 7:26 p.m.

Well, that's quite the open ended question...  the most for me, or for racing in general?

I've been going to Sebring for 35 years, and racing there for 32.  It's where I began racing, and my dad re-started his racing, so it has, by far more memories for me.  

L5wolvesf Dork
1/5/23 7:44 p.m.

I've been lucky to race at a bunch of road courses: Carlsbad (gone now), Firebird Raceway (soon to be gone), Hallett, Holtville (effectively gone), LVIS (under LVMS), Phoenix Int’l (gone), Sears Point, Second Creek (gone), Pueblo, Riverside (gone), Road Atlanta, and Willow Springs. The ones that were most fun were Sears (ITB Pinto) and Hallett (HP Fiat 850).

Spectator wise Riverside was always fun because we could see a lot of the track and it was always a party atmosphere.

As a course worker Long Beach F1 weekend, even though the bologna sandwiches were blah access to the garage area was XLNT.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UberDork
1/5/23 8:47 p.m.

Waterford Hills, the twisty little club track in Clarkston, MI. As a kid my favorite weekends were spent hanging out at the track, watching my uncles race Fiestas and Hondas. Spaceship-looking spec racer Fords were the coolest thing ever. C4 Corvettes were the top dog door slammer racecars until somebody brought their Escort Cosworth out to play. It started at the back of the field and blew everything else out of the water, popping fireballs and turbo noises along the way. That made quite an impression.

It's still there, and not much has changed. Pulling into the paddock kinda feels like stepping back in time.

I'm sure that place is why I've always loved playing with cars.

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