How Big Is Fonda Speedway? [Answered!]

The town of Fonda, California, is home to what appears to be the greatest race track ever built. Nicknamed “The Infernal Machine,” the 8.89-mile oval has been the site of NASCAR racing and other major events since it opened in 1946.

That’s quite the legacy for a little town that nobody seems to have heard of. Even the locals call it the “Fonda Speedway,” and with good reason. It really is an incredible track, with seating capacity for up to 100,000 spectators and a Guinness World Record that’s still standing for the largest continuous wooden structure in the world. So how big is Fonda Speedway, and how many people go there each year? Let’s take a look.

The Track Is 8.89 Miles Long

Fonda Speedway is longer than a mile. Don’t believe it? Well, it is. It’s also almost 8.89 miles, but who’s counting? The track features a few long straightaways and a lot of corners, which helped it accrue its legendary status. The grandstands and concession stands sit on top of each other, which creates a rather unique sight for spectators.

During the all-star race in 2018, fans could walk from one end of the track to the other in less than five minutes. That’s insane, especially since it’s a single-lane track.

It’s Rated As One Of The Most Historically Significant Racetracks

Fonda Speedway is renowned for being one of the most historically significant racetracks. It was originally built as a motorcycle track, but NASCAR brought it into the modern era. In fact, the very first NASCAR race was held there on May 9, 1946.

The track has been host to numerous other major racing events over the years. It’s been the site of the AAA Championship, the Southern California International Auto Racing Festival, and the IndyCar Grand Prix. In 2018, the track played host to the NASCAR Whelen Southern California Race.

This year’s edition of the IndyCar Grand Prix was the 66th running of the event and the 44th time that the race has been held at Fonda. That makes it the most-attended IndyCar race in the history of the track, with 110,000 fans packing the track in 2017.

It Has One Of The Most Spectacular Concession Areas In All Of Sports

While the grandstands at Fonda are a great place to watch the races, it’s the food and beverage (F&B) stands that make the whole thing worth it. The entire ‘dinger’—from the outside walls to the floor—is lined with concession stands. And it wouldn’t be a NASCAR race would it be? Concessions include everything from hot dogs to champagne to make sure you have a good time. So, if you like food and drink, you’ll have to make a beeline for the F&B stands.

It’s Grown From A Small Town With Not Much More Than 7,500 Inhabitants

Fonda isn’t your usual kind of town. To put it mildly, it doesn’t have a lot of people in it. The last census recorded the population of the town at 7,500, which is less than half of what it was just a few decades ago. The most recent population estimate is around 11,000. This makes it one of the least populated towns in California, if not the entire country. It really is that good.

There are only two gas stations in the whole town. If you want to fill up your car before the next race, you’ll have to hit the road. There’s no indoor garage for cars, so they have to be stored on the street or in parking lots. It’s rare that someone actually lives on the track, which is why there aren’t a lot of fast food restaurants or other businesses there. The closest full-service restaurant to the track is Jack’s Fish Shack, which is actually in Ontario, about 40 minutes away. There is also a Kmart for shoppers, but don’t expect to find a Whole Foods or Target within easy reach.

The Track Is Family-Friendly

Fonda Speedway is definitely a destination for families. Not only is it incredibly kid-friendly, but it also offers something for everyone. The track is actually a combination of an oval and a road course, so even the adults can have some fun.

There are plenty of places for kids, particularly near the backstretch. The children’s playground features sandboxes and picnic tables, as well as a jungle gym and rocking horses, which make it a great place for families to spend an afternoon. There are also dog walking trails along the backstretch, so if you’ve got a furry friend who needs some exercise, he can join you there. In fact, dogs are allowed to attend NASCAR races as long as they’re on a leash. They have to stay in the grandstands though, so that the noise level is kept to a minimum.

Most Of The Structures Are Wooden

As you’d expect from a track that’s been around for nearly 80 years, most of the structures are made of wood. In fact, the entire backstretch (the part of the track that’s near the stands) is completely lined with wooden buildings. That’s because the whole thing was constructed in the days before cranes and other massive construction equipment. People had to be resourceful and make use of what was available. That also explains why the track is so wide. There’s nowhere for the cars to go but wide.

It’s not just the grandstands and the track itself. The whole town is built of wood. People actually made homes out of wooden crates and newspaper boxes. At least, that’s what some of them are. It truly is the perfect place for a car lover.

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