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5 of the Best Public Car Racing Tracks in the U.S.

 Image via Flickr by K&L Racing

Image via Flickr by K&L Racing

The open road has its allure, as there’s nothing quite like a smooth ride on the highway, but sometimes you want something with a little more adrenaline. There are a lot of great public race tracks around the country, from casual beginner’s courses to a gearhead’s dream track. Here are some of the best around.

1. Road America

Nothing beats a classic, and it’s hard to get anymore classic than Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. This track has been open to the public since 1955, and it’s a favorite for racing schools and driving clubs alike. More than four miles long with plenty of lengthy straightaways, Road America is good for any loadout you’ve been itching to test for maximum speed. There’s also a connected go-kart track for those who are in the mood for something more casual.

2. Road Atlanta

Precision is the name of the game at this classic southern track, located a good 50 miles outside of downtown Atlanta. The undulating ribbon sections, hard turns, and challenging twists make Road Atlanta a proving ground for high-performance vehicles. If you’ve already paid for those sport upgrades to your car’s trim, you might as well see what they can do on the Road Atlanta blacktop.

3. Infineon Raceway

For a vacation like no other, popping down to Sonoma, Calif., not only gives you access to some of the country’s best wineries, it also puts you in the same neighborhood as Infineon Raceway. Packing 12 turns into 2.5 miles, including three sharp ones, Infineon is challenging but rewarding. It also takes advantage of the hilly country by offering more elevation changes than your average flat track. Aspiring stock car racers and performance-level luxury vehicle drivers get the most out of this somewhat pricey but very fun track.

4. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Not too far from Infineon is a more technical track, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The fun thing about this Monterey area track is its nod to historic racing, bringing in shows and annual races featuring classic Italian roadsters, but that doesn’t mean more modern vehicles can’t make the most of Laguna Seca. Late model performance sports cars and high-power bikes are regulars at this track. It’s a fairly affordable track with some fun corkscrew stretches and some slightly curvy straightaways.

5. Chuckwalla Valley Raceway

For something a little different, Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, Calif., is a fun change of pace. It’s a grand prix style track with a gorgeous desert backdrop. This track brings out owners of high-performance sport models, super-fast bikes, and a fair number of DIY modders who want to put their designs to the test. CVR has its own driving school, a solid membership plan for frequent drivers, and even a gun range for a little stationery entertainment.

From the high-end auto club tracks with a lot of history to the decidedly democratic raceways of more modern origins, the United States has some of the best public racing tracks in the world. Buckle up, adjust your rearview, and keep an eye on those thrilling hairpin turns.