Autocross is a well-liked form of motorsports competition. Other than the normal wheel-to-wheel racing, as in road racing, drag racing, or oval racing, an autocross is a timed handling competition similar to rally racing, although on smaller facilities. Autocross racing events are usually held on parking lots or similar paved areas, with the temporary course marked off by traffic cones. Each race has a unique course, which means the drivers have to learn a new course each time they compete. Speeds are generally slower in absolute terms, when measured up to other forms of motorsport, they rarely exceed highway speeds, but the activity level (in driver inputs per second) can in fact be higher than even Formula One Grand Prix Racing due to the large number of differing elements packed into such small courses.
Autograss racing is a very popular type of motor racing especially in Britain. It takes place at numerous venues throughout England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. It is usually held on a quarter-mile oval track, that is laid out on natural surfaces, such as a farmer’s grass field. Anyone can take part in autograss racing. Junior drivers usually start racing at 12 years old, moving into the adult classes at 16, some drivers even race until they are about 60 or even 70. Most families will share their racing car, and Ladies’ races are also held at every single meeting.
The Demolition derby events are very popular in the USA and are usually held at carnivals and festivals. Unlike other motorsports, the Demolition derby usually consist of about 10 cars competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another. The last driver whose vehicle is still operating is the winner. This can be a very dangerous sport, but serious injuries are rare. All glass is removed from the vehicle and ramming into the driver side of the vehicle is prohibited in order to make the race a little safer. Most events are held on muddy dirt tracks to even further slow the vehicles down. Drivers will usually use the back of their vehicles to ram to protect their engines in order to stay longer in the race.
Dirt Speedway Racing
Dirt Speedway Racing is one of the oldest forms of motorsport. It involves vehicles racing each other around dirt-surfaced, lightly-banked oval tracks. Originally stock car and Indycar racing were varieties of this, but evolved with the development of hard-surfaced super speedways.
Motorcycles vary greatly in size and design from 50cc minibikes to sport and cruising bikes with multi-cylinder engines boasting displacements of over 1,000cc. Motorcycle racing can be risky business requiring great skill and confidence. There are many kinds of motorcycle races in which various types of motorcycles can compete.
Road racing is done on public roads or purpose-built tracks and includes racecourses such as the Isle of Man TT and the Macau Grand Prix. Racers may enter different categories such as the 50cc races, the classic motorcycle racing section or superbikes. Specially designed motorcycle racing tracks have been designed for circuit racing. Top-level circuit races include MotoGP and Superbike. Classic motorcycle racing involves the racing of modified motorcycles that date from the 1970s or earlier.
Motocross and Supercross are popular races held on natural or man-made dirt tracks and often feature large jumps. It can be a real thrill to watch a half-dozen roaring machines leap into the air in unison! Supermoto is a combination of road racing and motocross racing. In Motorcycle Speedway circuit racing, the riders will slide the bikes around the corners, their kneepads sometimes scraping the track as they lean into the turns. This is also done in grass track motorcycle racing.
Enduro racing involves traveling over long distances through rough, isolated terrain. A typical example is the famed Dakar Rally that takes usually takes place in the West African nation of Senegal. Completing a course that includes sandblasted stretches of the Sahara Desert, one really learns the true meaning of the word ‘endurance’. Motorcycle endurance rallying is not focused on completion time, but rather works off a points system. The race covers great distances and takes many days to complete. Then there are low speed races called Motorcycle Trials. In this type of motorcycle race, competitors use specially designed bikes and must traverse a daunting range of obstacles. Motorcycle drag racing (or Sprints) is pretty much what it sounds like: two riders accelerating down a quarter mile straight track, with the first to the finish line being declared the winner. In Hill Climbing, the riders must attempt to make it to the top of the hill in the quickest time. Last but not least is Land Speed Racing. The object here is for a motorcycle rider to exceed the previously set speed record. The rider accelerates over a distance of 1 to 3 miles and is timed at the end of the run.
Most of the many types of motorcycle racing described above are conducted in different experience levels, such as Novice and Pro motorcycle racing. Pro motorcycle racing is taken very seriously, and involves significant financial backing and the need for sponsorships to help cover the costs of fielding a team.
The Indy Racing League, or IRL, is a sanctioning body for open-wheel auto racing in America. Best known for the popular Indianapolis 500, the IRL endorses the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and, as of 2010, the U.S. F2000 National Championship.
Tony George was responsible for the establishment of the IRL back in 1994, with racing beginning in 1996. George’s goal was to found a lower-cost alternative to CART, which was only accessible to wealthy teams who could afford the expensive technology. As of 2008 Champ Car racing (previously CART) was merged into the IRL.
IndyCar vehicles look similar to open-wheeled formula racing cars, featuring wings and large airboxes. The cars have strict specifications, with all cars using the same parts. Every three years, the chassis and engine manufacturers are reviewed. Originally built just for oval racing, the new generation of IndyCar machines are made to deal with road racing too.
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or Indy 500, takes place each Memorial Day weekend at America’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of the oldest motorsport races, the Indy 500 draws large crowds each year. It is an event avid racing fans would not want to miss. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 have included Dario Franchitti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr. Scott Dixon, and others.
NASCAR is an acronym for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing and the association is currently the largest sanctioning body of motor sports in the US. It is hugely popular with sports fans in that country and has the second highest television ratings in the US. Besides this, various NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries across the globe – proof that the appeal of NASCAR racing is not just limited to the United States.
Part of this relates to the fact that participating vehicles are based on stock cars, which can be bought from a local dealer’s lot. This means that the sport is more accessible to aspiring drivers than other forms of racing. Another factor is that, even though the NASCAR headquarters are based in Daytona Beach, Florida, the sport is widespread with a number of sanctioned races being held at racing tracks across the country on a regular basis. The sport is also well-sponsored since advertisers recognise that NASCAR fans are generally the most brand-loyal of all sports fans.
It all began in Daytona Beach in the early 1900s. During that time, the beach was known for being the best place to set land speed records and many flocked here to watch or prove their worth. As many as fifteen records were set here before the Bonneville Salt Flats were seen as being a decidedly better location. It is said that during this time, many of those with the fastest cars paid for their motoring improvements by means of bootlegging. Their cars doubled as a quick getaway vehicle for their illegal bootlegging runs. Once alcohol was made legal, these wealthy car owners turned to the thrill of racing for entertainment and money and the legacy of NASCAR was born. The actual association was founded in 1948 by Bill France Sr who saw fit to get this burgeoning sport onto closed tracks under one organizational umbrella. Prior to the formation of NASCAR, the various tracks in operation generally made their own rules which made it difficult for drivers and mechanics meet vehicle and engine requirements at each track. Certainly, the organisation of the sport through NASCAR helped to catapult it to new heights.
Today NASCAR racing is clearly one of the most popular sports in the US. There are a variety of noted NASCAR drivers and NASCAR teams who have made their mark on the history of the sport. Many drivers have centred their entire career on the sport, with many enjoying a long and prosperous career. Some even pass on their legacy to their children. There are also a great number of NASCAR tracks which are seen as seasonal favourites and NASCAR racing series which draw larger attendances than normal. This section of Autoracing.com is dedicated to the great sport of NASCAR racing and it’s many different facets.
The history and development of Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR are closely intertwined. Auto racing at Martinsville predates NASCAR, though with very humble beginnings and small spectator capacity. The Martinsville Speedway has matched NASCAR lap by lap, meeting new technology and safety standards, while also providing for the rapid growth of fans for the sport. Every serious NASCAR fan must visit Martinsville at least once, because your appreciation of the auto racing phenomenon in the United States will not be complete without it. Great car racing spirits reside at the Martinsville Speedway, and you can feel decades of NASCAR traditions permeate your bones when you join untold numbers of spectators at this famous site.
History and traditions apart, a special feature of NASCAR events at the Martinsville Speedway is the tent facility, where spectators can interact with top drivers. The question and answer sessions are special treats, and you can treasure your moments in close proximity to your heroes. These sessions can also add to your auto racing enjoyment, because you get to learn of key strategies and tactics drivers employ even as they move at such incredible speeds around the track. The whole thing is conducted in a spirit of friendly competition, and you might find that you enjoy this part of a Martinsville visit most!
The track at the Martinsville Speedway is not exceptional, but it is adequate by NASCAR standards. The length is only about half a mile, and the inclines on the oval do not even reach 15 degrees at any point. These are good conditions for drivers who like to go flat out. NASCAR fans, who know Richard Petty to be a top owner, will be delighted to know that he has driven to victory fifteen times at the Martinsville Speedway.
Since Virginia enjoys so much NASCAR activity, you can combine a NASCAR event at the Martinsville Speedway with trips to other auto racing tracks in the State. On the other hand, the beautiful Virginia countryside is replete with a host of outdoor recreation opportunities. Martinsville has a long history, and people with interests in the Aleutians and the colonization of North America will find plenty of interesting stuff to go nicely with the NASCAR excitement at the Speedway.