Search

My Favorite Tracks: #21-25

Updated: 2 days ago

Yesterday we reviewed the bottom 26-30: here are the next 5. Please remember, even a day at a bad track is better than a good day at work.

#25 Homestead-Miami, Homestead FL

TrackPAX: 103.3

https://www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com/

Its probably a good time to explain a little more about my ranking process. You will see the next three tracks tied from a scoring point-of-view. What I did in those cases is make a decision based on which track I would race at if all the tied tracks were equal distance, cost weather and on the same weekend. In this case, while Homestead Miami scores the same as Willow Springs and Grattan, it would be my last choice of the three. Of course in the real world the weather is almost always better in Miami and California than it is in Michigan but I digress. Homestead is a nice enough facility, and the party in the club room overlooking the track is a really nice touch, but as far as driving goes it is still a roval which means driving skill takes a back seat to horsepower. For a professional NASCAR and INDYCAR track it didn't strike me with the same level of mystique and aura as say Daytona for example. The infield is fairly tight, and with the exception of T4, its rather like a paper clip, at least there are several places to pass. The paddock is kind of split up, and there are some really nice spots but space is at a premium, so if you arrive late you will be remote from the rest of the racers. At least the track is near pretty much any kind of restaurant or store you might want and Key Largo is a 45 minute drive away. In the end, the main reason I return over and over is that the Majors race is the week before Sebring, and this gives a perfect chance to take a vacation away from Michigan January weather in the days in between. The rest of the year would not likely see me race there often if I was local.

FUN TO DRIVE

2

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

3

AURA/MYSTIQUE

2

GRAND TOTAL

13/30 = 43%


#24 Willow Springs, Rosemund CA

TrackPAX: 102.4

https://www.willowspringsraceway.com/

If you have never been to Willow Springs, you have probably seen it as they used the track in the Ford versus Ferrari movie as a stand in for Riverside. Now there is a track I am sad I didn't ever get to see, much less race at. Willow Springs is at the edge of a desert, and my one visit there I was treated to the massive winds that get stirred up from the combination of hot flat land right next to some mountains, like a soup bowl. I literally lost a windshield on grid from small rocks that were whipping across the pavement while waiting for the pace lap to start, certainly not a place I would erect my canopy. The track is quite fun, and simila in feel to Nelson Ledges in the midwest, with a combination of fast sweepers, high speed turns and an occasional slow tight corner to keep you honest. To be honest, I never got into a rhythm the whole weekend and found myself well off the pace, so either the winds were having that effect or the track was more difficult than it seemed. At least the paddock had plenty of space, even though the facilities were lacking. And parking in a dessert is not what I would consider a plus. The track is also fairly remote and thus my time there just felt post apocalyptic, which tempers what would otherwise be a really fun track to drive.


FUN TO DRIVE

2

TECHNICAL DESIGN

2

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

2

AURA/MYSTIQUE

3

GRAND TOTAL

13/30 = 43%


#23 Grattan, Belding MI

TrackPAX: 93.9

http://grattanracewaypark-mx.com/

Unlike Gingerman, which is only a short drive away, Grattan does not really offer anything special in the surrounding countryside besides a few fruit stands. At the same time, are there any other tracks with the number of people fishing as what I have seen at Grattan? The track also features what I would say is my Top 3 combination of corners coming right after the "yump" on the back side of the track, which is to the right of this picture. T5-T8 literally bring a smail to my face every lap, just be careful of the negative camber in turns 3 and 10. I actually watched a car roll over unhelped in T10, the level is so bad. The track design is also misleading, you would think with a front straight long enough for small airplace to land, it would favor horsepower. But its TrakPAX rating is among the most handling track around. Grattan also suffers the unfortunate design where the paddock is inside the track, so access only occurs during the few minutes between sessions. There are some nice viewing hills on the outside where those who are late to arrive usually end up. It just changes the whole complexion of the weekend though if you are remote from the people you are racing against. Then there are the facilities, which are some of the worst I have visited. Better then Nelson Ledges, mind you, but still quite rundown. The track makes up for this by having the absolute best Saturday evening food parties by the track entrance and on really hot days the pool is open and available for racers. Still, since the closest decent hotels are more than 40 miniutes away, Saturday evening is typically spent watching traffic file out of the track as soon as racing is done. While tied with Willow and Homestead, Grattan wins based on the yump and esses alone.


FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

1

GRAND TOTAL

13/30 = 43%

#22 AMP (Atlanta Motorsports Park), Dawsonville GA

TrackPAX: UNRATED

https://www.atlantamotorsportspark.com/

My visit to AMP was not for a true wheel-2-wheel race event, it was my first experience with participating with GridLife in their SundaeCup series. And while the paddock is as small and tight as any I have ever seen, I think the lack of space combined with the participants, made this the most awesome weekend track experience in terms of Competitor Atmosphere. The sheer pressure to put everyone together in such a small space led to a camaraderie and closeness I have not experienced anywhere else. That said, the track itself is too tight to be much fun at all racing, even in our low powered cars, but it was plenty of fun in a non passing session. I know other sanctioning bodies do actual races here, as does GridLife, I just don't really see how it can be considered safe. SundaeCup is HPDE/Time Trials yet every session I was in was cut short because someone went off course and it wasn't safe to get them while cars were racing. So while the track gets a 5 for competitors, it scored pretty low in every other category, including being remote. And no, I never did run into Awesome Bill, that would have added a point or two.

FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

5

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

1

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

1

GRAND TOTAL

14/30 = 47%


#21 Summit Point, Summit Point WV

TrackPAX: 100.9

https://summitpointmotorsportspark.com/


I haven't been back to Summit Point since my first Driver's School some 30 years ago. I intend to fix that this coming year as the track is one of my favorites in iracing. What sticks out in my mind from my singular visit is the remoteness of the track, the condition of the paddock and the "you are not from here, are you?" attitude of the racers. After some initial distance, the crowd quickly warmed up to this outsider and even helped me wrench on the car a bit. In this way it is very similar to my home track of Waterford Hills. So I wonder if that has to do with the way the competitors band together when they race 6-7 weekends a year with pretty much exactly the same people. The track itself seems to be a fun combination of tight and medium tight corners, with the singular sweeper leading onto the front straight the real test of your lap times. There are several corners that make you hold your breath for a second, so that is either good or bad depending on your particular preferences. For me it was an exciting weekend and I fully expect to raise the scores after my next visit.

FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

3

GRAND TOTAL

Come back tomorrow for #16-20.

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-16-20


Or, if you are reading this top to bottom, go here

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-26-30


Or, if you want to see the grading criteria

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

61 views0 comments