I was going to write about why I think Thunder Hollow Speedway is one of the most breathtaking tracks you will ever drive on, if not the most. But then I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do it without spoiling it for you, the reader. So now I’ll give you a quick overview of the legendary 1.56-mile clay speedway, before I dive into the details that would make it one of the most memorable racing tracks in NASCAR history. Is Thunder Hollow an actual place or is it just a construct of your imagination? Let’s find out.
The Most Breathtaking Clay Speedway Ever
Let me give you a little backstory. One of my favorite tracks to drive on is Bowman Gray Stadium at the University of Georgia. The natural clay makes for exceptional racing conditions, and the massive crowd that always comes to the game makes for a great atmosphere. At the end of the 2016 season, I was lucky enough to see the Tigers take on Clemson on a beautiful autumn Saturday at 1:00 pm. As you can imagine, it was quite a surreal experience, surrounded by 270 degree views of the sprawling Atlantic coast, listening to classic rock and celebrating the end of the season with my UGA buds. It was an unforgettable experience. That night I went from feeling empty to feeling like a kid again, as I rushed to the fence to shout at the top of my lungs with my family and friends. The only difference is that this time it was for a good cause.
The Small Size
Unlike many other tracks in NASCAR, Tumbleweed is not that well attended. It is one of the smallest tracks you will ever drive on, featuring a long, flat back straightaway that gradually slopes down to the finish line. The grandstands are not that grand, either, with a capacity of about 2,500 people. The standard fence will not be enough to contain those who want to get a good glimpse of the action. If they’re lucky, they’ll get a chance to see the front of the car with the iconic Tumbleweed logo painted on the front.
The Big Hair
There’s also the iconic hair, which is a must for any speedway enthusiast. The short track features the ever-present cowboys and cowgirls, with the odd bear or boar roaming around. Sometimes the hair can get a little crazy, especially during the post-race festivities, which is part of the fun. The track has been known to change its hair style throughout the year, so be sure to check out the latest fashion trends when you’re there.
The Great Views
The views from the back stretch are gorgeous, especially at night. The large stands feature a magnificent fireworks display after every race, adding to the excitement. One of the best things about the track is that no matter where you sit in the grandstand, you will get a great view of the whole track. You will never get bored when attending a Tumbleweed race, as there is always something happening on the track. It wouldn’t be unusual to see an impromptu concert at one of the tailgates, with the attendees singing along to their favorite songs. That’s part of the charm of the track.
Overall, It’s An Incredible Track
Even if you have never been there, you have probably heard of it. For decades, the tiny Tumbleweed Speedway was one of the premier short tracks in NASCAR. It drew huge crowds and established itself as a must-see destination for every motorsport fan. The track eventually fell on hard times and was closed down in 1990. It was reopened as a make-shift track in 1994 and renamed Thunder Hollow Speedway, named after the original Tumbleweed track, which had been closed down years earlier. These days, the track is open from early April to early October and holds single-race meetings on Saturday nights. It is still one of the best short tracks in the country and has established itself as an incredible destination for NASCAR fans. Would you like to visit this year? I’ll give you a hint: the gates open at 4:00 pm on Thursday and close at 8:00 pm on Sunday.