Throughout my racing career there have been tracks that are my favorite ones to race. Tracks like Pipestone County Speedway in Pipestone, Minnesota, or Monett Speedway in Monett, Missouri. But one question arises whenever I start to reminisce: What are the best tracks in the country?
Let's look at a few of them. I've put together a list of 10 tracks that you must race on in your lifetime. A couple of notes first, though. Understand that I chose to leave out all but one current NASCAR Cup track. Because let's face it, any one of us, given the opportunity, would race at any Cup track on the schedule. So with all due respect, the choice to leave out tracks such as Daytona and Talladega was intentional. Rather, I wanted to focus on short tracks. I also decided to separate the dirt tracks from asphalt, so I chose five of each with the largest track being only a mile long. While the list is numbered, they are in no particular order of preference.
Winchester Speedway is an...
Winchester Speedway is an extremely fast half-mile oval that has over 30 degrees of banking. Todd Ridgeway
Winchester Speedway, Winchester, Indiana Winchester Speedway is rich in tradition, with its first race stretching back to 1920. Winchester has now morphed into an extremely fast half-mile oval with 33-degree banking. If you speak to anyone who has ever raced there, they will tell you that Winchester is a track that demands your attention.
There is no easy way to explain how fast Winchester actually is, but I'll try: Last year at Bristol Motor Speedway, another half-mile speedway, Jeff Gordon qualified on the pole in his Cup car with a lap at 15.259 seconds. Last year at the Winchester 400, the premier event at Winchester, Ryan Lawler qualified his Super Late Model at 15.189. Now, I understand we are comparing apples to oranges, but that is still extremely fast for a half-mile oval.
Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa,...
Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, is my favorite track of the ones I have raced on to date. It is smooth as glass and with variable banking you can run anywhere from the bottom to the top. The track's designer, Rusty Wallace, claims it is the first track in the country built for the driver. Kathy Bond Photos
The adrenaline rush that Winchester provides for its racers has drawn the likes of Kyle Busch and David Stremme to compete in the Winchester 400. Last season at the King of Wings event, where winged Sprint Cars take the oval, 57-year-old Jeff Bloom set a track record of 13.615 seconds with an average speed of over 132 mph, which is insane! That's covering a quarter mile in less than 7 seconds, and then you have to turn left. Well done, Jeff!
Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OhioNot a whole lot of explanation needed here, but I will go ahead and indulge myself on the off chance that there might actually be a race fan who has never heard of Eldora Speedway. Eldora, owned by Cup driver Tony Stewart, might be the premier dirt track in the country. The track provides some of the best dirt racing action to be found, no matter what type of cars are competing. It not only hosts six World of Outlaw Sprint Car races, but also one of the biggest Late Model races of the year-the Dream, which pays an impressive $100,000 to win.
The track is a half-mile clay oval with 24-degree corners and enough racing room to see four wide action. You might remember seeing it on Speed Channel where they re-broadcast the "Prelude to the Dream" from time to time, an event where Cup drivers and other racing stars race for charity.
Belleville High Banks is a...
Belleville High Banks is a 5/8-mile high-banked dirt oval that has one of the largest Midget races in the country, the Belleville Midget Nationals. Past winners include Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Billy Boat. Bob Jones
Lowa Speedway, Newton, IowaThis is my favorite track out of all the ones I have raced on to date. The only way to explain how great Iowa Speedway is, is to tell how much it spoils you rotten just by racing there. The track is a 7/8-mile asphalt oval that is over 60 feet wide. The turns are made up of compound banking where the bottom has 12 degrees of banking and the topside has 14 degrees. Rusty Wallace designed this track and he did so with the driver in mind.
The track is smooth as glass and I can tell you from experience, it's quite fast. In our Hooters Pro Cup car we were reaching speeds at the end of the frontstretch of 160 mph. One of the most impressive things about Iowa Speedway is the overall facilities. The covered garage area will hold 50 cars and the grandstands will hold 25,000 fans. This track is one of the premier tracks in the country.