The American Midwest is home to some of the country’s most dazzling sports venues, but one of its best-kept secrets is its network of dirt tracks. Billed as the “hidden gem of the sports world,” Fairbury Speedway (formerly known as the Eldora Speedway and The Summit Racing Park) is located in the scenic hills of northwestern Ohio.
It’s been around for more than 70 years and is best known for its legendary dirt track, which was originally built in 1947. Today, drivers from all over the world come to take a spin in one of the series that the track hosts, including ARCA, Monster Energy Supercars, and the prestigious IndyCar Series.
Known for its steep banking and unique atmosphere, the 14-turn, 450-yard course is one of the sport’s most popular racing venues. If you’re even thinking about visiting the United States and you want to add this spectacular track to your itinerary, here’s what you need to know.
The Legends Of Motorsport
The 2018 season was the 70th anniversary of the original dirt track located in Ohio, and it was celebrated with a number of historical races and spectacular cars. One of the most memorable was the 100th Running Of The Indianapolis 500, which was won by Takuma Sato in front of a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators.
The track’s most recognizable driver is probably A.J. Foyt, who won the Indianapolis 500 seven times. Other legendary names that have raced there include Al Unser, Parnelli Jones, and Lee Wallis. The latter two are responsible for helping to cement the track’s reputation as the Mecca of motorsport.
One of the most prestigious auto races in the world is the 24 Hours of Daytona, an event that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and is often referred to as the “Super Bowl of cars.” This year’s edition is scheduled to take place on February 16th, and some of the greats of motorsport will be on hand to mark the occasion. Drivers such as Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and David Pearson have all competed in the event. The 2019 24 Hours of Daytona will be remembered as the season of the Honda, with the Japanese manufacturer winning 10 out of the 24 races held. It was also the season of the Acura, with the luxury marque leading the way in the GT class.
How Is The Weather In Fairbury?
One of the things that make a venue iconic is its weather. If you’re an outdoor type of person, then this is a place you’ll want to visit. The summer period in the Midwest is hot and humid, with highs in the 90s and lows in the 50s, with thunderstorms being a constant threat. The seasons in the area aren’t that extreme, with the temperatures staying around 80 degrees during the day and lows in the 40s at night.
The best time to visit is between September and April, when the weather tends to be a bit more temperate and the crowds are thinner. If you can, travel to Fairbury during one of these months, when you’ll have the best chance of having a good time. If you do visit during the summer, then bear in mind that the weather isn’t the most welcoming, and you’ll probably want to stay indoors most of the time.
Where Can I Stay In Fairbury?
One of the main draws of visiting Fairbury is the chance to stay in a beautiful place. There are a number of luxury hotels and golf resorts in the area, as well as bed and breakfasts and other places to lodge. If you want to be in the middle of the action, then the racetrack has some of the finest places to eat as well as drinking spots, depending on your taste.
Rooms at the Hampton Inn & Suites are less than $50 a night, while a night at the Homewood Suites is just $59. At the other end of the scale, you can stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa for around $130 a night, although this is one of the more expensive hotels in the area.
The Entertainment Options
While you’ll certainly want to visit the hotel and eat at the local eateries, you may also want to take a look at the entertainment options in Fairbury. Aside from the 24 Hours of Daytona, the track holds other motorsport events throughout the year, such as the Midwestern Series and the legendary Barstow Cup. If you’re looking for a specific event, then check with the tourism office for the dates of the next few races.
Another option is to take a look at the regional parks, most of which offer excellent trackside camping. The West Lake State Park, for example, is just 26 miles from the track and has excellent facilities, including a marina, picnic tables, and shower houses.
If you really want to have some fun, then head to the Cedar Point Amusement Park, which is just a few miles from the hotel. It has a large range of fun rides, including a wooden roller coaster that’s been labeled the “world’s first quadruple looped coasters,” as well as water rides, miniature golf, and more. Bring your bikes along too – the park has a number of freeride mountain bike trails that are just what you need to have a good time outside.
One major downside to the region is that it’s quite far from everywhere. It’s a good idea to bring your own vehicle if you plan on traveling around the area. Public transportation is often limited, and it’s not the most convenient way to get around for those staying at the luxury hotels and golf resorts. A lot of the streets aren’t even signposted, and even when they are, the handwriting is often too small for those using visual aids to read.
If you want to have the best time possible during your stay in Fairbury, then make sure to follow the rules and customs of the place. Remember that the locals are mostly gentle and kind, but they can also be extremely proud and protective of their town. Don’t expect them to let you come in and take a shortcut to the bar – they will not make that easy for you.
Overall, Fairbury is a beautiful place with a lot to offer. Whether you’re a motorsport fan or an outdoor type of person who just wants a bit of peace and quiet, this is the spot for you. Make sure to book in advance if you want to stay at one of the luxury hotels in the area, as the winter can be busy with tourists and locals alike looking to escape the cold.