Since opening its doors in 1994, Tri-City Speedway has quickly risen to become one of the more popular racing facilities in the country. The 1.25-mile tri-oval, while small, is one of the most challenging short tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The racing atmosphere at the speedway is electric, with the combination of dirt, asphalt and concrete providing for plenty of exciting moments on the race track.
Why Is It Popular?
The short answer to this question is simple: it’s popular because it’s one of the best short tracks in the country. It doesn’t get much more basic than that. Although there aren’t any concrete walls on the track, giving it the appearance of being a combination of asphalt, dirt and grass, there isn’t a short track in existence that can compare to the difficulty of the tri-city speedway.
Located in Willoughby, Ohio, just north of Cleveland, the tri-city speedway certainly isn’t the largest track in the world. It’s about a quarter of a mile shorter than a regular 1.25-mile oval. Still, with a capacity of just 11,000, it’s not exactly small fry. That’s essentially the same as Nashville’s Music Park, which holds 12,500. But the biggest difference between the two is that Nashville’s is an indoor/outdoor track, meaning it only has four walls to separate the two elements.
The lack of separation provides for a unique experience, as spectators are able to walk freely from the stands to the track, observing the entire action from multiple angles. Even more exciting is that there are no concrete walls between the stands and the track. Therefore, it’s not as easy for drivers to sneak a peek at the spectators, as it would be at a standard walled oval.
What Makes It Different?
Apart from the unique look, there are several other elements at the tri-city speedway that make it stand out. First off, the seating itself is unusual, as there aren’t any concrete walls surrounding the entire oval. As a result, the view for spectators is completely unrestricted, with no seats blocking their line of sight.
The unique seating arrangement gives the speedway its own character, as every seat is at a different level, providing for different vantage points, depending on where you sit. The closer you get to the track, the better, as the closer you sit to the track, the better your view will be. This unique seating concept makes it easier for families to attend a race together, as there are plenty of seats available for all ages.
What Is The Track Layout Like?
The track layout at the tri-city speedway is interesting, as it features a combination of all three elements listed above: dirt, asphalt and concrete. This mixture is called concrete racing, and it was pioneered at the track before it became popular everywhere else.
Although the track surface is compacted, it’s not smooth. Pits and bumps are part of the sport, and they make the track feel more natural. In fact, some people prefer it that way, as it adds a touch of authenticity to the sport.
The combination of dirt, asphalt and concrete makes for a very diverse track, as it’s capable of hosting both cars and bikes, as well as different types of motorsport, all within the same race. This type of versatility is quite rare, as most other short tracks are either purely asphalt or pure dirt.
Is It Difficult To Park?
This is another unique characteristic of the tri-city speedway: it’s incredibly easy to park. There are no handicap spaces at the track, and there are no curbs either, so it’s entirely up to the drivers to find a spot. That said, it can be a little tricky to get a good parking spot, especially on race days, so be prepared to search a little harder than usual.
On the plus side, when a race is over and you’re not required to stay there anymore, it’s easy enough to find a place to park. And if you’re heading downtown for dinner, you can drop your car off anywhere along the way and pick it up when you’re done. There are plenty of parking spaces available, and it’s quite easy to find one.
What Is The Atmosphere Like?
One of the most important things to consider about the tri-city speedway is how it compares to other tracks. While the unique look of the track is something to appreciate, it’s the atmosphere that makes it special. When you walk into the gates, it won’t be long before you’re met with the roar of engines and the crack of batons as the crews get ready for the next race. This charged environment is unlike any other, and it sets it apart from other short tracks.
How Is Car Maintenance?
Another important consideration when reviewing any type of racing facility is how easy it is to maintain the cars. After all, if you’re going to be driving on the track a lot, it’s worth knowing how to take care of them properly. This is doubly true when it comes to short tracks, as you’ll be driven hard, causing wear and tear on your vehicle. It’s not uncommon for cars to get damaged in some way during a race, especially at the more extreme speeds these days.
Fortunately for car enthusiasts, the tri-city speedway takes pride in being a clean track, with no illegal modifications, and that extends to the vehicles as well. It’s not uncommon for cars to get torn up during a race, but that’s simply part of the sport. Still, being a clean track makes it much easier to fix up and maintain your vehicle. It also means there aren’t any restrictions when it comes to adding additional accessories, like blaring music or changing the color.
What Is The Food Like?
The food at the tri-city speedway is pretty decent, with several food trucks located onsite. While you’re there, it might be worth checking out the restaurant across the street from the track, as well. There is also a concession stand which serves hot dogs, popcorn and jumbo pretzels, among other things. If you want something more sophisticated, there are plenty of places nearby for you to eat.
But the food at the track is certainly not the only thing to look out for. It’s the atmosphere that makes this place special, and that also translates to the food. When you eat there, you’ll feel like you’re in a different world, with different rules and different customs. For example, instead of asking for the check, you’ll be expected to pay at the end, based on how many beers you had. That’s part of what makes this place so interesting.
Even more interesting is that, since the sport began, it’s always been a part of the Triple Crown, with each subsequent winner adding another chapter to the story. But now, with the Chase grid expanding to 10 drivers, it could be the start of something special.