As fans of IndyCar racing, Formula 1, MotoGP, WRC, we constantly hear about these fantastic venues. Who doesn’t want to go to Indianapolis to see the IndyCars, or to Spa to see Formula 1, or to Phillip Island to see the MotoGP race, or to Cyprus to the WRC? Many of us live cheap and save up over the off-season, giving $5 McDonald’s gift certificates as Christmas presents just so we can afford those big trips to those exotic venues. While doing this, though, we often overlook the true gems of motorsports: our local raceways. Here in the MidWest of the United States, the local track is typically a 1/4-mile dirt oval. The racing on these tracks can be a LOT of fun, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. That’s a topic for another post. I’m talking about the small road circuit that your local BMW and Porsche clubs rent out, and that are frequented by the regional SCCA clubs and smaller racing series.
Nearest to Kansas City is Heartland Park Topeka. Its a beautiful track with some excellent perches from which to enjoy a race.AMA event. Both were very affordable, and fantastically enjoyable! What’s to love about a small race at a small track? For one, small crowds! At a large event like the Indianapolis 500, just making your way through the crowd and squeezing into your seat is a challenge! At Heartland Park, my wife and I take our lawn chairs, set up on the grassy hill inside of Turn 12, and enjoy a fantastic day of watching the cars and bikes race by. Small events like that are just more intimate and enjoyable. The teams and drivers/riders are more approachable, its easier to park, its easier to find a seat, you can typically bring in your own picnic lunch, and best of all you can get closer to the action. You might not even realize that such a venue is nearby! Check out the website for your regional SCCA or NASA club and see where they’re racing. You can also find the road course nearest you at The North American Motorsports Pages. You might be surprised how close quality road racing is to your town!