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My Favorite Tracks: #11-15

Updated: 2 days ago

Previously we reviewed #16-20 - here are the next 5.

REMEMBER - Even a day at a bad track is better than a good day at work.


#15 High Plains, Deer Trail CO

TrackPAX: 100.4

https://www.highplainsraceway.com/

There is nothing anyone ever told me about High Plains Raceway that would have caused me to travel over 1,000 miles to race there. But in 2018, when I joined the B-Spec class late in the season, a trip to High Plains was required to qualify for the Runoffs. And boy was it fun. One of the better technical AND racing tracks in the country, I would imagine you could race there 2-3 times a year and still need 5 years to master the track. I've made no secret that I love elevation changes in a track and High Plains may have the most this side of a Hillclimb. 11 of 15 corners contain serious elevation changes, with many of them blind. And while yellow flags are usually the key indicator a car is off, seeing a dirt plum over a hill is racing's version of smoke signals. Unfortunately, the track is located in the middle of nowhere and hotel accommodations and decent places to eat are few and far between. The paddock is spacious but be forewarned, there is no shade, and at over 5,000 feet in elevation, UV and the breeze will sap your body of moisture faster than a day at the beach. At least the "locals" are friendly and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. In fact, one of my favorite picture of one of my cars was taken on the road outside the track with the "high plain" wildflowers a perfect contrast to the Scirocco's Teutonic simplicity.


FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

4

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

3

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

1

GRAND TOTAL

17/30 = 57%

#14 Hallet, Jennings OK

TrackPAX: 98.7 CCW, 98.4 CW

https://www.hallettracing.net/


This may be one of the most unpopular ratings on my whole list, but I love driving Hallett. It is one of only a handful of tracks on my list that gets a 5 in the Fun to Drive category. Its also fairly technical, earning a 4 in that category and putting it near the top of my tracks I would most like to race at, if on-track was the only criteria. There is just enough elevation change to make it interesting, and the combination of corners gives just about one of every type imaginable. But the paddock is no fun and its another track that suffers from a paddock inside the track, which means waiting till in between sessions to leave and return, meaning parts runs must be perfectly timed. Jennings Oklahoma is also nothing to write home about, so either a drive to Stillwater or Tulsa is in the cards if you wish to race here. All in all a great track built within a poor facility made worse by the limited infrastructure in the area. But yeah, love the track.


FUN TO DRIVE

5

TECHNICAL DESIGN

4

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3.5

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

2

GRAND TOTAL

17.5/30 = 58%

#13 Indianapolis, Indianapolis IN

TrackPAX: 100.6

https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/

Indianapolis was a tough one. First, there is no track I can think of this side of LeMans or the Nurburgring, that hits you in the feels like Indy. In 2017, on my first day of practice for the Runoffs, driving across the bricks brought tears to my eyes. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a race car driver, but my family was of limited means and I was constantly reminded there was no way that would ever be possible. As I grew older I finally found a way to make it happen, but it took 30+ years of racing before that day at Indy when it finally all sunk in. Second, I have now been back to Indy and the down side of the track is still there. At the end of the day the course itself just isn't that interesting or inspiring (or technical). In fact, there are two turns I would rank among the worst in my racing experience. Turn 1 is just a disaster in design and contributes to a high contact rate on starts, and Turn 12 coming off the banking into the pit entrance area before Turn 13 and 14 leading back on the front straight is just plain stupid tight. Its probably a result of the low horsepower cars I tend to race, which let's face it, has an impact on every track rating I give. So remember, your results may be different. Finally, as the picture above attests, the competitor atmosphere at the Indy Runoffs was quite nice, although most competitors use the opportunity to stay off site since there are so many nearby hotels. So for a track absolutely delivers in terms of aura, is somewhat of a letdown in other areas, leading to a top half rating, but barely.


FUN TO DRIVE

2

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

4

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

2

AURA/MYSTIQUE

5

GRAND TOTAL

18/30 = 60%

#12 Pittsburgh, Wampum PA

TrackPAX: 99.97

https://www.pittrace.com/


I am not sure I have seen any other facility improve over the past few years as much as Pitt Race. My girlfriend always said it had the nicest bathroom facilities of any track we have attended, and then we found the bathrooms in the new building constructed since our last visit and just wow. There's a lot to be said for an ownership group that has nice facilities but adds better ones regardless. The track itself is also very nice. Remember the part where I said I like elevation changes? This track has them in several places including a 100 foot drop over two corners followed immediately by a climb on the long course. And the high speed esses are among my favorite turns in all of racing. The paddock is well constructed, with remote paddocks for those who do not prefer to be trackside. In fact, the paddock area is large enough to hold an autocross and road race at the same time - and they do. A plus to the paddock is the best on-site pulled pork food trailer at any track. On the downside there is really only one spectator area, and while the view from the hill is nice, it is limited to Turn 1 and the esses. There is a reasonable bare bones hotel within 5 minutes of the track and several small towns with local pub-style eating establishments, which makes staying offsite a breeze, if not fancy.


FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

4

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

4

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

2

AURA/MYSTIQUE

3

GRAND TOTAL

19/30 = 63%

#11 Waterford Hills, Waterford MI

TrackPAX: 92.0

https://www.whrri.com/


Waterford would be considered my home track, as I have lived only about 15 minutes from the track for the past 30 years. It could also be considered a bull ring, as the 1.5 mile course has 12 turns which means you never have a chance to breath or catch your breath. The most handling oriented track in the country with a TrakPAX rating of 92.0, it is famous for a visit by Stirling Moss in the 50s who famously said, if you can be fast here, you can be fast anywhere. The track is unassuming but very technical, one of the most complex in the country, with on camber, off camber and yes, even a little bit of elevation changes. So why did this awesome track not finish top 5? The paddock, for lack of a better term, just plain blows. There just is not any room, which is complicated by the amount of people who bring big rigs to the track these days and made worse by the clubs dumb reserved paddock policy where locals can claim one of the limited spots and have until 8am on Saturday before relinquishing it to the outsiders. Then there is the issue that once again, it is a track design where the paddock is located inside the track, which is why I typically paddock outside where you can't hear any announcements (and yes, i missed a race before because of that).

FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

5

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

4

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

1

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

19/30 = 63%

Come back later for the Top 5

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-top-5


Of, if you are reading from Top to Bottom

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-11-15


And if you want to review the rating criteria

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-your-mileage-may-vary


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