Our Top 5 All-American Racetracks
Motorsport is inherent in American culture. The speed, the passion, the drama all culminates into something that Americans find uniquely satisfying. It may be our rebellious spirits, or outlaw nature, but racing is deeply embedded in our DNA. That said, for this upcoming Fourth of July, we put together our Top 5 American racetracks. North Wilkesboro Speedway
If we’re going to talk all-American racetracks, North Wilkesboro Speedway needs to be on the list. The track broke ground in 1945 and opened two years later. It was one of the first NASCAR tracks ever built, and continued to be raced upon until 1996. It’s also one of the shortest tracks ever built, measuring just .625 of a mile. That said, without it, NASCAR might not be what it is today, and for that the North Wilkesboro Speedway deserves our reverence.
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Sebring International Raceway
If the North Wilkesboro Speedway is where stock cars truly took root as an American tradition, Sebring is where America began its love affair with road racing. Measuring 3.74 miles long, with grooves, ruts, pavement changes galore, and enough humidity to send drivers into cardiac arrest, Sebring has been changing drivers' lives since 1950. The raceway actually includes a portion of the Sebring Regional Airport, which is still in use. It is a hugely technical track, one that has a habit of biting racers hard, especially during the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race held each year.
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Circuit of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas is one of the newest tracks in the United States. Built in 2012 to host Formula 1, COTA has become a premier destination for auto and motorcycle racing. It’s combination of high speed corners, long straights and its infamous turn one that climbs 133 feet into a hairpin left hander has quickly made it one of the best tracks in the States. It’s a track that reinvigorated the US Formula 1 community and actually is partially responsible for starting my writing career. If you get a chance, go to COTA. You won’t be disappointed.
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Talladega Superspeedway is one of those tracks that you just have to experience once in your lifetime to “get it.” It consists of a tri-oval setup that seats up to 80,000 fans and hosts enough horsepower to send everyone into space a few times a year. Talladega also hosts one of the steepest banked turns in all of NASCAR. One interesting fact: the impetus of Talladega was to build a faster, longer track than Daytona, and only cost the builders $4 million to complete in 1969.
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway
You can’t have a list of great American tracks without Indianapolis. It’s been continuously operated since the gates opened in 1909, and has featured everything from Formula 1, to NASCAR, to IndyCar, and even MotoGP. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is the only race track ever to be included. In its current oval configuration of 2.5 miles, the lap record was set in 1996 by Arie Luyendyk at 37 seconds. That’s right, 37 seconds to get through the full 2.5 miles. That comes out to be an average speed of 237.498 mph. Based on that, it’s easy to see why it will forever remain the number one American racetrack.
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