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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Billed as the site of “Ohio’s Finest Racing,” Attica Raceway Park is one of those local short tracks that you hear about in the world of motorsports. It is tucked away seemingly in the middle of nowhere in small-town central Ohio, teeming with young talent, battle-hardened veterans, and their fans in the stands. The circus comes back week after week, giving it that “same place, same time next week” sort of vibe. Every once in a while, one of the bigger sprint car series will come to town and put on a show for the locals. The food is fresh and fattening, but the latter shouldn’t dissuade you from sampling any of its greatness. And all the while, one cannot help but wonder how such a wonderful place exists.
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Attica has a few vendors on site that sell the standard sports fare, as well as the added bonus of what most midwesterners would call "fair food" on the menu. A burger and fries will run you a few bucks, but nothing north of $6-$7 for a meal with a drink. And of course, who can forget the cold beer and elephant ears? There isn't much in terms of a wide variety, but what is there is certainly worth the affordable price.
Nothing beats a rowdy, boozed-up crowd of race fans at a small town short track on a weekend. They are loud and loyal, to say the least. In addition, the roar of the raw power of dirt track sprint cars fills the air in a beautiful symphony of speed that rivals any note composed by Bach or Beethoven. The added thrill (or horror, if you hate getting dirty) that only those who have been will know is the swirling cloud of dust and dirt that flies into the air every time the cars go around the corner. After a few laps, the majesty of the dusty cyclone mixes with the music of the engines to create for what can only be equated to as nirvana for true gas-blooded racing fans. As for the track itself, the cheer of the crowd and the action on track makes up for the fact that everyone is sitting on old wooden bleachers without seat backs.
The only downside to Attica's small-town location is that it is indeed in a small town. There isn't really anything to do, as the population doesn't climb over four digits. The town center has a gas station where you can get beer, and that's about it. However, that same isolation gives the track a quaint feeling. The speedway is also bordered immediately by a farm, with a giant white barn setting a picturesque backdrop over the turn 2 wall. If you're looking for somewhere to stay, you will have to find somewhere outside of town, as there isn't anywhere to really stay next to the track.
The fans are as crazy as they get in racing when it comes to pure passion for their local heroes. Everyone from friends and family of drivers and team owners to rabid fans from all around the area pack the wooden bleachers every night. Additionally, while they may be boozed-up, they aren't rude which can make for an enjoyable family friendly environment. The only downside here is the smoking in the stands, which can be plentiful, depending upon the direction of the wind.
Getting to Attica Raceway Park can be a challenge to some if you don't know how to get there already or own a GPS. The track is off a side street from the main road going through town. The saving grace here is the abundance of signage in the town itself that helps you know where to go. While there aren't any major highways nearby immediately, traffic generally isn't a worry when heading to the speedway. Parking is also plentiful on the premises, and should the main lots be full, a farmer's field across the street within a three-minute walk of the main gate provides excellent overflow.
It is hard to argue against going to Attica Raceway Park, as the action on track is second to none. The facility is regularly visited by the big-time NASCAR stars of today (Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Kasey Kahne, etc.) in sprint cars of their own during off weekends or when their races are nearby as a fun weekend of getting back to their roots. There is a reason the track packs the stands and has standing-room-only crowds every single night of the year. The quality of the product really is as good as advertised.
There's a neat thing that the track has that few do, and it is is as simple as a passing freight train...no, really! Seemingly every night, a train hauling a long tail of train cars behind it passes by on the tracks behind the back straight at Attica. The sound of the train horn makes for a neat backdrop to the contrast of the high-speed action happening on the track.
Going to Attica Raceway Park is one of the must-make trips for any true race fan in Ohio, if not the midwest. The facility is chock full of colorful local fans cheering on action on track that makes for as much of an entertaining race day as any other track in the area. If you're passing through, this is definitely a raceway that should be on your to-stop-by list.
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