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My Favorite Tracks: #6-10

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

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

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


#10 Gingerman, South Haven MI

TrackPAX: 99.7

https://www.gingermanraceway.com/


I am starting off my review of Gingerman with this image of the Paddock, because it sets the mood for Gingerman perfectly. Gingerman was easily the best paddock of all the tracks I visited until this year when another eclipsed it (more on that in the top 5). Still, Gingerman gets a 5 from the paddock if for no other reason it is the one track where you can see more than 50% of the racing FROM YOUR PADDOCK without leaving your chair.


The other thing thats awesome about Gingerman is the mood with the best after sunset atmosphere in the country. The track also scores high marks from a technical point-of-view, and is easily the hardest track to get right in my experience. I am not sure how it happens though, that it is one of the least fun to drive - probably because there is no "flow" to the design. In a way the track has no soul, and for that reason it scores really low on aura. To round out a love/hate realtionship with the track, its 15 minutes from South Haven, one of the best off-track options to spend time with family. The resort town features beaches, small shops and eclectic restaurants and pubs. In the end it comes in at number 10.


FUN TO DRIVE

2

TECHNICAL DESIGN

5

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

4

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

5

AURA/MYSTIQUE

1

GRAND TOTAL

20/30 = 67%

#9 Sonoma, Sonoma CA

TrackPAX: 98.2

https://www.sonomaraceway.com/



I have only been to Sonoma once, but it comes in at #9 because it does everything well even though it does not stand out in any area. I will start with the worst thing about the track is that because it is built on the side of a big hill, paddock space is split up into many smaller areas. The end result is its impossible to create any real competitor atmosphere when everyone has to take a truck to go visit friends.


Otherwise the track scores a 4 in its technicality, track aura and mystique and off track options, being on the edge of California wine country. The track itself is fun to drive but not enough you'd write home about it. Some of the corners are blind due to elevation changes and others due to sunlight depending on the time of day. The biggest part parts of the track that spoil the circuit are the huge and massive expanse of asphault that is Turn 11, which just seems like an autocross, and the downhill Turn 6 that seems like it will never end. If those turns were better this would be a top 5 destination


FUN TO DRIVE

3

TECHNICAL DESIGN

4

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

3

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

4

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

20/30 = 67%

#8 Daytona, Daytona Beach FL

TrackPAX: 104.2

https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/


Talk about mystique, Daytona finishes second on the list behind Indy. Something about being on the high bank crossing start/finish under the starters stand that just works for me. It can probably be traced back to reading about the 24 in Sports Car Graphic as a 9 year old and then was cemented with the infamous NASCAR fight some 9 years later. And then you add the beach being just 15 minutes away and you have another solid 5 points with the 3rd best off-track opportunities on my list.

The rest of the catagories range from average to meh. The paddock is spacious, but like Sonoma too spread out to have much fun with fellow competitors. There is an infield lake though, so it should probably get bonus points for that (but doesn't since it was off limits lol). The track itself is rather mundane to drive but the banking is cool. In truth, it is the most frustrating track on the list if you are fast in the corners and slow on the straights because other cars will hold you up until you want to throw bricks at them. Ive never seen a bigger gap between my theoretical and actual lap times for this reason. As fun as it was, everyone should do it once, but I wont go back until I have a faster car.

FUN TO DRIVE

3.5

TECHNICAL DESIGN

3

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

2

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

2

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

5

AURA/MYSTIQUE

5

GRAND TOTAL

20.5/30 = 68%


#7 Road Atlanta, Braselton GA

TrackPAX: 103.3

https://www.roadatlanta.com/


Sonoma, Gingerman and Daytona have one thing in common - awesome off-track adventure coupled with a middling on-track experience. Road Atlanta is the opposite. Off-track is a 1, but the on-track more than makes up for it with a huge level of technicality and a very high level of fun. It adds another element that isn't really on the score cars. You have to have balls to go fast here (not in the male testosterone way but in the you have to be full brave mode).

The end result is, for me at least, the most exhausting track to drive out of the 35+ I have visited. There is a short time to breath on the back straight but Turn 1, Turn 2, the downhill esses leading into T5, Turn 6 and 7 and the the final turn onto the front straight - there is not a easy turn in the bunch. And did I say this track was fast? Our TracPAX has it rated at a 103.3, which is up there with the rovals like Daytona. Just WOW! The paddock is nice enough, although when they get full the inside the track paddock is a long way from grid which is inconvenient. I have not had a chance to camp on the hill because I need to be closer to grid to take car of my clients, but it looks like a ton of fun - almost like having your own private campsite.

FUN TO DRIVE

4

TECHNICAL DESIGN

5

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

3

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

4

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

4

GRAND TOTAL

21/30 = 70%



#6 Blackhawk Farms, South Beloit IL

TrackPAX: 99.8

https://blackhawkfarms.com/


In my opinion, Blackhawk Farms is the most underrated track in the country. From a pure fun to drive pov, it is my top #1 favorite. Unlike most tracks these days, the atmosphere of driving is very similar to the feeling I get when hillclimbing, with the trees just close enough to cast a shadow on the surface and parts of the track, especially the esses, present a full tunnel of tress. This would mean nothing without the awesome design that includes fast and slow corners, sweepers, and places where you have to be brave to be fast, like Road Atlanta.


The on track experience compares favorably to Road Atlanta where Blackhawk is slightly more fun to drive, but Road Atlanta is slightly more technical and fun to race. The comparisons end there as Blackhawk also has one of my facorite paddocks, grassly, wide and with a canopy of trees. Not sure if the paddock causes the competitor atmosphere to be what it is, but it is also one of my favorite groups of people to hang around. It is so good I am willing to drive through Chicago to get there, which is bar none, the worst towing experience I have every year. One downside to the experience is once again the paddock is inside the track and requires stoppage to cross. Its not much of an issue as there really isnt anything to do in the manufacturing towns around it. If you havent raced Blackhawk I suggest you do it soon, as tracks like this are almost all gone. And once the insurance overage starts really looking, I think many of the trees will come down and the track will lose its mystique.


FUN TO DRIVE

5

TECHNICAL DESIGN

4

COMPETITOR ATMOSPHERE

4

PADDOCK/FACILITIES

4

OFF TRACK ATTRACTIONS

1

AURA/MYSTIQUE

3

GRAND TOTAL

21/30 = 70%

Come back for the next ones on the list

https://www.grasspaddock.com/post/my-favorite-tracks-6-10


Or if you are reading the list top to bottom

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


If you want to see the grading criteria

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

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