Located in sunny Southern California, Eldora Speedway is one of the crown jewels of the motorsport world. Every year, the historic half-mile clay track hosts one of the biggest and most prestigious racing events of the year, the Grand Prix of Love.
This year will mark the 85th anniversary of the Grand Prix of Love, with the first race taking place on 28 October 2019. The event will be broadcast live on America’s biggest TV network, ABC, and various other channels around the world.
From a spectator standpoint, it’s hard to find a bad seat in the house. The Grand Prix of Love is held in the middle of October, at the end of the summer racing season, so temperatures are nice and cool, and the evenings are drawing in, which means the chance of a beautiful sunset is upon us. The track is laid out in a fashion that provides perfect racing angles as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding area, which is filled with poplar trees and jade plants, providing a picturesque backdrop to the action.
What Is the Track History?
The origins of Eldora Speedway can be traced back to 1929, when the track was built as a replacement for Los Angeles Speedway. The inaugural race took place on 4 May that year, with the track’s first World Championship taking place in 1931. The following year, the track’s first 24-hour race was held.
The track has since hosted numerous events, including the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona in 1936 and again in 1951, as well as the Indy 500 in 1939 and 1941, resulting in this year’s Grand Prix of Love being the track’s 14th annual Indy 500-cousin event. The IndyCar race will take place on 3 October, while the NASCAR Cup Series will make the trip across country on 2 October.
How Does It Feel To Race There?
If you were lucky enough to secure a ride in one of NASCAR’s top-flight series, you’d feel like a genuine racing superstar. Despite being a 500-mile roundtrip, it would be an experience you’d never forget.
The unique thing about Eldora Speedway is that the drivers, fans, and staff all share a passion for the sport. This was proven in 2016, when the track recorded its highest-ever revenue of $16.7 million, largely thanks to the growing popularity of female racing fans, who made up a record 33% of attendees that year.
It’s this passion that has helped keep the fans coming back for more. The track’s iconic food truck, Crankcase Pete’s BBQ, has served as many as 6,000 pieces of brisket and pork ribs in a single day, proving that this is more than just a racing venue – it’s a cultural icon.
What would a trip to Eldora Speedway be without a visit from Crankcase Pete’s BBQ?
Where Is It Located?
Eldora Speedway is located in the town of Santee, California, between Los Angeles and San Diego. The track is in a natural bowl surrounded by mountains, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding area. If you’ve ever seen the classic movie, The Cannonball Run, you’ll know what scene this is.
From the moment you arrive at the entrance, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Before you know it, you’ll be racing down the back straightaway towards the start-finish line.
The track itself is a mixture of asphalt and clay, with several turns, elevation changes, and a section of loose dirt known as the “dog leg.” This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the track, with plans to celebrate by holding a special race, the 100th Running of the Grand Prix of Love.
What Time Does It Start?
The gates open at 4.00 pm, with general admission tickets going on sale at 10.00 am and VIP tickets from noon. Spectator gates will open at 3.00 pm, with the first practice session getting underway at 11.00 am. Sunday’s race will get underway at 10.00 am, with hot dogs, apple pie, and cranked-up music serving as the soundtrack to your day.
What Amenities Does It Offer?
Apart from the breathtaking scenery and world-class atmosphere, Eldora Speedway offers some pretty impressive amenities. The track is fully integrated with the Greater Santee Chamber of Commerce, and the partnership has worked to ensure that the facility offers as much comfort as possible to fans and drivers alike.
The track has seven fan bridges, which offer great views of the action across the entire 7,000-capacity grandstand. These bridges provide great spots for photographers and fans to capture the moment.
Amenities in the infield include a camping zone, with shower and restroom facilities, as well as the unique Love Memorial Statue. This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the track, with several exciting announcements regarding the statuary.
Key Facts About Eldora Speedway
• Location: South California, USA • Distance: Half-mile (0.6 km) • Designation: National Historic Register (added in 1976) • Capacity: 7,000 seats • Surface: Dirt and Clay (partially covered with grass) • Tires: Dry-slick, oil-free slick, full-terrain traction vehicles (Futurama) • Entry Fee: General Admission – $35, Friday Club members and students – $30, VIP – $75 (plus fees) • TV Coverage: ESPN, ABC, and various affiliates around the world • Parking: Free (with pay-to-park lot) • Social Media: Follow @eldoraracing on Twitter for up-to-date news and information
Directions To Eldora Speedway
To get to Eldora Speedway, take I-5 North to I-15 North. Follow this for 15 miles until you reach the 15/35 split. At this point, instead of staying on 35, take 35S towards Santa Fe Springs. This will eventually lead to the airport, with the track being on your right-hand side.
When you arrive at the airport, you can either find parking easily, or drive directly to the Sheraton Hotel and Casino. From there, it’s a short walk to the track. Alternatively, you can catch the Santa Fe SPRINT bus, which stops right in front of the Sheraton Hotel and Casino.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll be able to find a parking spot, or take the bus directly to the entrance.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Eldora Speedway, including the history of the track, check out these links: