How Big Is The Los Angeles International Speedway? [Fact Checked!]

The Los Angeles International Speedway is one of the most iconic venues in all of motorsport. It is not only known for being the location of the greatest American motorcycle races, but also as the place where Elvis Presley made his legendary return to the stage. If you’ve never been there, then what are you waiting for?

Just how big is this legendary racetrack? Let’s put it this way – the Guinness Book of World Records states that the track is “the second-largest permanent motor racing circuit in the world” and that it has an “official track record for being the largest track ever constructed on Earth”.

Here’s a detailed look at the history of the speedway and how it compared to the rest of the world’s largest speedways.

The Beginning Of An Epic Rivalry

The first official race held at the Los Angeles Speedway was in December 1935, and it wasn’t like other races of the time. In those days, cars didn’t just show up and take part in the race. Before the starting grid was ready, the drivers would have to practice on the track. This was the case with the inaugural race, where it took the drivers more than an hour to finally get their car in position and another hour to go around the track once.

The track continued to host local races every year, but in 1939 it became a part of the Grand National Championship, which at the time was the top tier of American motor racing. Over the next six years, every race but one (due to World War II) was held at the Los Angeles Speedway. It was during this time that a rivalry between the drivers and the pits developed, which is why in 1945 the track was renamed the Los Angeles Memorial Racetrack. One of the biggest race of this era was the Grand National Championship in 1942, where in a battle of legendary proportions, Richard Petty and his family emerged triumphant. He would go on to become the face of NASCAR for more than sixty years.

The Record-Breaking Track

In 1945, the Los Angeles Speedway became the second track in the world to ever be constructed with a quarter-mile oval. The quarter-mile track gave the cars an advantage over the straights and made passing much easier. It was also used as a training ground for the drivers, who worked very hard to perfect their skills on the tight, twisting turns. As more and more drivers trained there, the quarter-mile track evolved into a half-mile track, which was used for the remainder of its existence. This gave the fans an even better view of the action.

For years, the Los Angeles Speedway was known for being the record-breaking track. As more and more drivers became proficient, passing quickly became common, which in turn resulted in numerous record-breaking races. During its peak, the speedway had an average of more than sixty racing events a year, which meant hundreds of practices and races on a daily basis. It was not only about setting world records; it was about building a family tradition and a connection to the American spirit.

In addition to being the home of the U.S. Open Fights, which were an annual boxing match held between two champions, the speedway has also been the venue for some truly iconic moments. In 1944, for example, Amelia Earhart came to the speedway to observe the races but never got to participate. She had unfortunately crashed her airplane into a swamp a few days earlier and was quickly trapped by the wet, cold weather. Earhart spent the majority of her time at the track observing the races and going into the grandstand to watch as much as she could. Though she would eventually die of starvation and exposure during that time, Earhart is remembered as the first female pilot to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1968, the legendary Jimmie Johnson became the first African-American to win the NASCAR Grand National Championship, which at the time was the apex of professional motor racing in the United States. The win also put him in the record books as the youngest driver to win the title at the time.

The Evolving Of NASCAR

With the development of the Interstate Highway System in the early 1950s came the need for faster and more efficient ways to shuttle sports fans between events. This naturally led to the creation of NASCAR, which stands for National Association for Stock Car Automobile. The organization began as a series of races held in Northeastern U.S.A. with weekly events on dirt tracks, but it eventually grew to encompass several categories (including weekly races on paved roads) and took place across the country. Since its inception, NASCAR has always been associated with the U.S., but it has also gained a lot of popularity in Canada and Mexico. In fact, when it comes to merchandise sales, Japan actually earns the distinction of being the world’s biggest market for NASCAR-related products. The sport also enjoys a large following in the U.K., where the annual Festival of Speed is a celebration of all things automotive and motorsport. In 2015, the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway in England will host the twenty-fifth anniversary of this festival. It was also in England that NASCAR first introduced the now iconic green-and-white checkerboard paint scheme, which is still employed today.

Since the inception of the organization, the members of NASCAR have been the backbone of the sport. While drivers have certainly evolved over the years from men like Richard Petty to now-legendary figures like Dale Earnhardt, the core principles of driving a fast car and risking it all on the track have remained the same. This, in turn, has made NASCAR a truly timeless sporting institution.

More Than Meets The Eye

Along with its legendary status as a motorsport venue, the Los Angeles Speedway was also an important part of the American cultural landscape in the twentieth century. For many years, the track was the location of the annual Christmas party for Walt Disney, who was also a big fan of the sport and a friend of the owners. Every year, Disney would host a big party at the end of the season, which featured artists, craftsmen, and performers from all over the world. It was during one of these parties that Disney first met the woman who would soon become his wife, Lillian. The founder of the Disney Institute, which is dedicated to spreading American cultural values and using the power of art to inspire and entertain, even dreamed of one day using the track as the centerpiece of a new urban community.

Since the end of World War II, the Los Angeles Speedway has had a hand in the development of many aspiring racing drivers. One of the most successful drivers to emerge from the track is Jimmie Johnson, who in 2009 became the first African-American to win the NASCAR Cup (the top tier of American motor racing). It should come as no surprise, then, that the track is still going strong more than seventy-five years after its opening and continues to set and break world records on a regular basis. In 2020, the Los Angeles Speedway will celebrate its seventy-sixth anniversary, which is pretty incredible for a track that began operations in December 1935.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!