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My Favorite Tracks: #16-20

Updated: 2 days ago

Yesterday we reviewed #21-26 - here are the next 5.

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


#20 Rockingham, Rockingham NC

TrackPAX: NOT RATED

https://rockingham-speedway.com/

Rockingham Motor Speedway, April 1989, was the site of my first race, and it ruined me for life. Even finishing 7th in a field of 12-or-so ITC cars did not discourage me and family said I didn't stop smiling for a week afterwards. Now that I have run a few more rovals, I miss this track more than I probably should. I would offer it is the most interesting oval based road course I have run (old Charlotte, Daytona, Homestead, Fontana and Indianapolis), but that does not necessarily mean it was the most fun. While the majority of the infield is quite entertaining, it has the absolutely most awful transition back onto the banking of any track I have seen. The problem is twofold, first Rockingham is a small oval clocking in at a trim 1.017 miles. This means the banking is steep enough at 25 degrees, you cannot climb it without putting your hands down to steady yourself. Heck, even the straights are 8 degrees. Second, whomever designed the infield was having a great time and then just ran out of room. Resulting in the infield course joining the oval perpindicular to the middle of NASCAR 3 and 4. So imagine driving straight to a 25 degree banking, which looks like a wall, and having to turn 90 degrees left. Every lap felt like you were folding the right front McPherson Strut under the car. Add to this the fact that in 35+ years of racing, this was the absolute most abrasive track surface I have even used. 1980s tire tech was no match for the sharpened oyster shells they must have used in the concrete - a brand new set of tires rarely lasted the weekend. Facilities were so so, back then NASCAR did not even have garages, a lean-to was the only thing between you and the Carolina sun. By the way, this is central North Carolina which means sand hills and unless you like to play golf there is not much in the way of entertainment. But this is still the most old-school NASCAR track in the country and I hope they find a way to bring sports car racing back. I will certainly be there, this time with 3 sets of tires.

FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

3

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

15/30 = 50%

#19 Charlotte, Concord NC

TrackPAX: 104.6

https://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/

I did not realize it till writing this list, but my first three tracks were Summit Point, Charlotte and Rockingham, and here they are all right together in my list. Maybe their scores are lower than the should be because I have forgotton more than I remember. Of course, it could just as easily go the other way. Back in the 80s SCCA required two driver's schools at different tracks to get your permit. And since my car wasn't ready for Roebling in February, I ended up at Summit and Charlotte just a few weeks apart. Much like Rockingham, the NASCAR aura was pretty prevalent. The facilities were better but the paddock situation was fairly remote for those who did not pay to rent a garage, so it gets low points there. The course I ran was the old Charlotte and turn 1 off the oval was pretty much in the middle of the pits, which is why I saw a GT1 car center punch a safety truck. The infield was interesting enough. Like Rockingham, but to a lesser degree, joining the over in the middle of NASCAR 1 and 2 was a bit uncomfortable. At least the track was bigger and the apron was big enough you did not have the huge impact to the suspension. I have not yet run the new design where you enter at the beginning of T1, so maybe its better now. The lack of a chicane on the back stretch made the oval rather boring for low HP cars like I drover. The facilities were nicer than Rockingham, even back then. But the off track attractions were just as lacking. Still, I hope to get back one day soon.

FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2.5

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

2

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

15.5/30 = 52%


#18 CMP (Carolina Motorsports Park), Kershaw SC

TrackPAX: 99.1 CW, 98.4 CCW

https://carolinamotorsportspark.com/


We seem to be in a Central Atlantic time warp as the tracks rated 17-20 are all in close proximity. Like the North Carolina Tracks, there really isnt anything to do in Kershaw South Carolina, so the rating for off-track is pretty low. But I do find much of this track interesting and technical to drive with a great range of corners. Unfortunately the track actually feels like two different tracks combined in the middle, like it had two different designers, or the second half is like the answers you give on a test when you are running out of time. The first half is way more interesting and exciting, and if that would have continued the track would have earned a 5. But the second half is boring and seems more like a big autocross than a race track. Makes me curious how this happened. There is plenty of room in the paddock and its nice and flat so that is great, but its mixed grass and sand and there are not many onsite facilities. In the end this track finished 18th out of my 33, so lets just call it average.


FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2.5

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

2

GRAND TOTAL

15.5/30 = 52%

#17 Roebling Road, Bloomingdale GA

TrackPAX: 100.7

http://www.roeblingroad.com/

Roebling Road may be the best track to take a Driver's School at in the country. Why? Because every corner is predictable, has great sight lines and flows from the corner before it. So for a novice it is easy to learn and easy to spot your mistakes, all the while giving you a great opportunity to improve over the course of a weekend at your own pace. A second benefit is thet do school Friday and Satruday and a regional race on Sunday so you leave the weekend with your first sign off towards a full competition license. The Paddock, however, suffers like a few other tracks of being encapsulated inside the track, so the only access is between sessions. Another downside is like CMP, its sand and pine straw with one extra bonus - fire ants. I always take an extra tarp to place under the cars so i have advance warning when they come looking for a feast. On the upside, Roebling Road is 15 minutes from Savannah, which in my opinion, is the absolute best walking city in the country. And with two corgis, we like to walk. I often take an extra week of vacation when I race at Roebling just to enjoy the parts and riverfront from a bed and breakfast or air bnb.

FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

1

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

5

AURA/MYSTIQUE

2

GRAND TOTAL

16/30 = 55%


#16 Mid Ohio, Lexington OH

TrackPAX: no chicane 100.0, Chicane 98.2

https://midohio.com/


Living in the midwest I always was asked why I did not race at Mid Ohio. To be honest looking back, I wish I had started there earlier. My first race there wasn't until 2017 while I was qualifying for Indy, and now I go several times a year. Bu t the weather and paddock facilities gives the track a curious nickname.... Mud Ohio. So I probably let the reputation keep me away when I should't have, because the track itself is quite pleasurable and fun to drive, near the top of my list. And the ability to run with or without the chicane gives each a different flavor. My favorite events are the regionals where they run one configuration on Saturday and the other on Sunday. Back to the paddock thing, it is mildly enfuriating when you realize what this track offered in its heyday. But the new owners neither invest in the facility, nor do they even cut the grass in the paddock. Yes, a weed eater is on my list of extra items to take when we race here as half the paved parking is usually being used for some teen driving classroom with skid cars. The aura and mystique are still palpable, but dont extra to spend any quality time away from the track. Like most tracks there is nothing much to do other than hang out at your hotel or eat at a chain restaurant.

FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2.5

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFFSITE ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

16.5/30 = 55%

Come back for the next ones on the list

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


Or if you are reading the list top to bottom

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-21-25


If you want to see the grading criteria

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

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