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The Race to the Top: U.S. Edition

The Top 6 Biggest Race Events in the United States

It seems fitting that America plays host to some of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world. It is after all, home to some of the oldest purpose-built racing circuits in the world. From dirt to asphalt, drag strips to road courses, historic to state-of-the-art facilities, there is no shortage of races to choose from, and fans come out in droves across the country to watch these spectacles. So what are the top U.S. racing events today? Here’s our can’t-miss list.


espn-photo-rpm_indy500_02 Photo courtesy of ESPN Photo. If you were to ask a stranger to name the first U.S. racing event that comes to mind, the Indianapolis 500 is certain to get the vast majority of votes. Run at the famed 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it is considered one of the most prominent events in the world and is part of the triple crown of motorsport alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix. Self proclaimed as ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ this Indycar series event draws upwards of 300,000 fans and is broadcast around the world. Held annually on Memorial Day weekend, the Indy 500 has been run since 1911 and the namesakes of Foyt, Unser, and Mears are synonymous with the event.

2. DAYTONA 500

moremsportshistory While the Indy 500 may hold the title as the most prestigious racing event, the Daytona 500 is hands down the largest motorsports event to take place each year on U.S. soil. NASCAR’s annual kick-off event is billed as “The Great American Race” and is held just a few miles from the notorious beaches where the races were originally held. More than 200,000 fans fill the grandstands with another 20 million people tuning in across the country. While Richard Petty has a record 7 victories, most fans will recall Dale Earnhardt’s emotional victory in 1998 and his tragic death on the final lap of the 2001 event.


mysanantonio_USGP_131116_Lefebure_Regis_J3U2159 Photo courtesy of MySanAntonio. While the site of the USGP has changed on multiple occasions, the legacy of the race continues on. After the falling out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007, there were questions as to if Formula One racing would ever return to U.S. soil. In 2012, Circuit of the Americas, the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S. put those theories to rest as it hosted its first USGP. The event drew nearly 120,000 fans and was awarded the Sports Event of the Year, setting the stage for many years to come. Formula One is the most popular form of auto racing in the world and now it finally has a place to call home in the United States.


2014 Rolex 24 Hours The Daytona International Speedway plays host to not only NASCAR’s biggest race of the year but also America’s most prominent sports car endurance race. Along with the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of LeMans, the 24 Hours of Daytona completes the triple crown of endurance racing. The 3.56-mile road circuit utilizes portions of the infield road course and the high banks of the speedway which push the Daytona Prototype and GT cars to the limit. Teams often consist of a superstar lineup of drivers from around the motorsports world, with drivers vying for the highly sought after Rolex watch.


dragzine_IMG_1085-e1377794270125 Photo courtesy of Considered by many as the most prominent drag racing event in the world, this annual Labor Day spectacle takes place at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, IN. Since 1961, competitors have dreamt of making a pass on this hallowed ground and one day being able to hoist a U.S. Nationals Wally trophy. The race now holds extra significance since the implementation of the Countdown to the Championship and the Traxxas Shootout. Don Garlits, Don Prudhome, John Force, and Tony Schumacher are a few of the legends who have left their mark on this event.


2015-King-of-The-Hammers-Live-Update-Ultra4-324A0348 While the United States doesn’t play host to the likes of the Baja 1000 or the Dakar Rally, two of the most prominent offroad racing events in the world, a future contender is well in the works. Considered by many as the toughest single-day off-road race, King of The Hammers has exploded onto the scene in recent years and combines elements of both rock crawling and desert racing. What started out as a bet between friends now boasts nearly as many entries as Dakar with tens of thousands of spectators converging upon Johnson Valley, along with a huge international audience watching via livestream, to see man and machine put to the ultimate test.  

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