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In case you missed it, there was a whole bunch of racing last weekend, as Formula One, NASCAR, and IndyCar all held some pretty major events. For race fans it might be a little bit of a letdown as we move into June, but don’t worry—there’s always museums.
In this case, we focus on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, dedicated to all things racing, as it does its best to illustrate the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and specifically the Indianapolis 500. There’s 30,000 square feet of artifacts, memorabilia, and other racing goodies to check out, and of course there’s a couple gift shops too. In total, 75 cars sit on display all year long, but of course it’s strictly a look but don’t touch situation.
It was a busy weekend for NASCAR fans with plenty of racing action taking place down in Daytona Beach, Florida. Crazy crashes during Saturday’s race forced even the fans to the hospital—looks like everyone is at least stable—and Sunday brought Jimmie Johnson his second ever Daytona 500 victory. You could call it the Super Bowl of the series, so it’s understandable that this week might be a little disappointing after all that excitement. That’s why we suggest nursing your NASCAR hangover at their Hall of Fame over in Charlotte.
They’ve got pretty much everything and anything on display at the hall, and they’ve even found the space to cram in 31 full sized racecars as well. Over 50 digital displays help recreate history right in front of your eyes, and there are even plenty of buttons so you can choose exactly what you want to see, hear, and feel. There’s even a moonshine still on display to represent some of racing’s good ol’ days—ha.
NASCAR has really taken the lead when it comes to automotive racing in the United States, but until Formula 1 enthusiasm comes back to our shores, there’s always the Indianapolis 500 to fulfill your open-wheeled needs. This might be a good year to forego that hot dog at the family barbecue and pack up the station wagon for a racing road trip this Memorial Day. If you can’t find tickets and accommodations yourself, we've done the legwork for you. Here are three package deals that will get you closer to victory lane:
· Premiere Sports Travel
We’ve seen this group before, and they always seem to have a solid handle on how to access hard to get hotels and tickets. There’s packages for different budgets and interests, but there’s one that started our engines a little more than the others. The Deluxe Indy 500 Package features three nights at the more than adequate Sheraton Downtown City Centre and includes paddock tickets. They throw in airport transfers, transportation to the race with police escort, and all taxes and fees. It’s $795 per person, which is expensive, but seems like a deal considering all you get...like a frickin' police escort!
The Olympics entertained us most of the afternoon, but there was also another pretty big sporting event going on yesterday. NASCAR lovers from around the world gathered on the coast of the Sunshine State to check out this year’s Daytona 500. Just like last year, there were some issues, but this year’s problems sounded a little more like stuff commuters experience on daily basis. There was a pothole that stopped the race a couple times, but Jamie McMurray was finally able to hold off everyone else—including Dale Earnhardt Jr.—to take the checkered flag.
If you’re still in town you can always check out the Daytona 500 experience, but if you’ve been in Florida for a few days you’ve probably already done it. You can always take your racecar obsession to the next level by shelling out some cash to actually hit the track at Daytona International Speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience will be glad to arrange a ride-along on the track for only $135. The three laps at about 165 mph will go by pretty quickly, so you better leave the credit card back at the hotel so you don’t start spending too much too quickly.
Did you make it to this year’s Daytona 500? We didn’t either, but tens of thousands of fans attended “The Great American Race” yesterday. Those in attendance saw Matt Kenseth hold onto victory over fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the weather-shortened race. The rain started to fall a little over half way into the 500-mile race, and it was called with only 48 of the 200 laps left.
For those who were less than interested in the action on the track, there was action elsewhere on race day. Keith Urban was on hand to perform before the gentlemen started their engines. Tom Cruise served as this year’s pace car driver, Gene Hackman was there just hanging out, and Gavin DeGraw started things off with the National Anthem.
If you’re still in Daytona Beach today, definitely go check out the Daytona 500 Experience—it will help get over your post race depression.
When it comes to car racing, Americans have their fast cars, Germany has its fast highways but it's unheralded Canada that offers something no other country can: A whole freaking lot of room to drive fast.
Nowhere is this on better display than at the Targa Newfoundland Rally, a 22,200-kilometer race that speeds through eastern Canada each fall. Contestants will be manning the latest top-of-the-line race cars--and some vintage beaters too--with more than 25,000 fans turning out to witness the race up-close. Most of the rally takes place on open roads, and despite the presence of top racers, anyone is welcome to enter.
The rally takes place September 13 to 20. For a preview, check out the teaser video after the jump.
With only two weeks left until Labor Day, you'd better get those last-hurrah-of-summer travel plans finalized. One idea is the 26th Rolex Vintage Festival held in the northwest corner of Connecticut at Lime Rock Park. Set in picturesque rolling green hills, the 1.53-mile track curves and bends through the landscape while spectators find their perfect spot on the grass--there are no grandstands or formal seating here.
Each day of the festival brings different types of vintage racing to the track. From pre-war cars to stars from the seventies, there is something for everyone to be interested in. Due to local noise ordinances, and a church across the street, there are no races on Sunday. But there will be a vintage car show where you can walk around the track and check out some of your favorites up close.
Best of all, you can sneak in one last camping trip to end your summer season. With a weekend pass, you're welcome to set up camp on Thursday evening after 6 pm and stay until Monday evening. Enjoy the races, car shows, and a swap meet all from the comfort of your air mattress. A weekend pass will cost you just $85.
Imagine the thrill of being a race car driver: Slamming your foot on the gas, going hundreds of miles per hour, whipping around turns, hearing the non-existent roar of the engine. Wait, what? This isn't Formula One, it's Formula Zero.
The new race series is the world's first international championship for hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars. Held in Rotterdam August 22-23, it features teams of university students that will put their zero-emissions cars head-to-head in a race to the finish line.
A warning: Formula Zero may not be as hair raising as NASCAR. Although drivers will be zooming around Rotterdam's city center, they'll only be going 30 mph. Cut them some slack, though: It may not be death defying, but it is the cutting edge of clean technology.
If you're addicted to old school Mario Kart on Wii, or just love fast cars, head to Singapore for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, slated to take place on September 28, with practice runs on the 26 and 27. The coolest thing about this Grand Prix is that it's the first race of its kind held at night and the first street race in Asia.
The course will be lit with state-of-the-art technology and a high-tech lighting system designed to highlight the 23 curves and twists of the course that will line the marina. Drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Bourdais and Fernando Alonso are all set to take it on.
Race tickets are available online but moving fast, so don't waste time. Also, a variety of hotel packages offering rooms combined with tickets (at reasonable prices) can be found here.