When you arrive at Auto Club Speedway, the first thing you will see is a huge neon marquee sign that almost welcomes you into the heart of NASCAR. You can’t help but feel like you’ve been transported back in time to the golden era of stock car racing.
The venue itself is an homage to America’s pastime – with wooden stock car models, trophies, and an atmosphere that could only be described as “old-school American racing.” What makes this place so special is that it is a living museum that celebrates the pioneers of NASCAR, as well as the sport itself.
Although it has been around for more than 70 years, Auto Club Speedway is still considered to be one of the “grand old men” of NASCAR, and its reputation precedes it. In fact, many drivers still consider it to be the best racing venue in the country.
An Unexpected Twist
It would be a missed opportunity not to point out that Auto Club Speedway is far from perfect. For starters, the bathrooms are pretty bad – with no paper towels and very few hand sanitizing stations. Also, the air conditioning seems to be on the fritz, as temperatures in the “Big House” occasionally get out of control. Finally, the parking lot is often full, which creates some traffic jams as people try to find a spot.
On the plus side, the concession stands serve some of the best food in motorsport – including the chicken strips and French fries that are the stuff of legend. And, for fans of the sport, there are plenty of places to sit and watch the racing action – including the suites that offer a unique perspective on the track. In any case, all these imperfections add to the charm of the place – which, as we all know by now, is more than just about appearances.
A Legend In His Own Time
Aside from its obvious charm, one of the things that makes Auto Club Speedway so special is that it is filled with incredible racing drivers from the past. There are several permanent exhibitions that tell the history of NASCAR and its drivers, as well as the rise and fall of some of the greatest teams in the sport’s history. It would be a shame to make a long story short and not mention the many Hall of Fame racers who have called this place home.
Some of the greatest names in the history of NASCAR are enshrined at Auto Club Speedway, including Richard Petty, the “King,” and his legendary team of “Trophy Rowdies.” It also honors the memory of Dale Earnhardt, one of the greatest race drivers of all time, along with his legendary motor club, the Earnhardt clan.
There are currently more than 40,000 fans who visit the place every year, and for good reason. Not only do you get to see some of the greatest drivers of all time compete live – including the chance to catch some of the legendary matches between Richard Petty and David Pearson – but the permanent exhibitions are filled with more than enough interesting facts and figures to keep even the most avid history buff busy for hours. If you’re into stock car racing, or just want to visit a great American racing venue, then there’s no question that you need to make your way to Auto Club Speedway in Alabama.