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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
"There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing." Prince Feisal, Lawrence of Arabia
Utah Motorsports Campus is unique in many ways. Opened as Miller Motorsports Park, it was the longest road course in North America until 2014 saw Thunderhill Raceway undergo a massive expansion. It also sits at a high altitude, being located just outside of Salt Lake City at nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. There also is the intense heat that comes with being located in the middle of the desert. Yet, despite what one may feel are negatives, this track has the bones of a top-notch racing facility. Bought in 2015 by a Chinese company, the track is being used as a test-bed now for how the company will build and operate raceways in China. From the great sound system to the fan access to the teams and drivers, few can argue with the brilliance of this course's layout and design.
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This is by far the biggest downside to a race at Utah Motorsports Campus. If you find yourself hungry at some point during the day, your choices are limited. The track's lone concession stand has quality food for an average price (a burger and soda will run you about $10 or so), but the incredibly long wait times experienced there are what take away from the enjoyment. Not only do you have to wait an eternity in the searing dry heat of Utah to get inside the building to order your food, it comes out sometimes 15 minutes after you order it, making for a less-than-expedited process.
In 2016, the Rodigio Grill opened up on site, however, bringing high-quality (and somewhat high-priced) Brazilian food to the track. In addition, various food carts and food trucks also make their way to the track during race weekends.
The feeling one gets at Utah Motorsports Campus isn't one of intense competition that has all the drivers and teams feeling like they're on a knife's edge, but rather one of relaxed and laid-back fun. This is a good thing, however, as it adds to the overall enjoyment of the race day experience. Add to that the music that plays in the various grandstands around the course, and you can rock out to some quality tunes in between on-track sessions. There is also easy access for the fans to get up close to the garages where all their favorite drivers and cars are being worked on that puts a smile on everyone's faces, no matter how hot or cold the weather may be.
New to 2016 is the play-by-play of the action on track by the track announcer as well as the TV broadcasters who can be heard throughout the facility.
Utah Motorsports Campus quite literally is in the middle of a desert. However, just a 20-minute drive east is Salt Lake City, and just five minutes southeast of the track is Tooele. Here you can find numerous lodging options with affordable prices (the Comfort Inn & Suites is routinely rated as one of the best hotels in the chain's arsenal around the country), and there is also a wide variety of dining options. One of the favorites for fans and teams is a restaurant called the Bonneville Brewing Company, which has a multi-level restaurant and brewhouse with sports on TVs all over the place.
Additionally, for those looking to explore some of the great outdoors, Utah Motorsports Campus is located just minutes away from the shores of the Great Salt Lake, as well as several mountain trails and ski resorts.
For being in the middle of nowhere, the locals sure do pack in the facility during race weekends. Noted as a favorite track among competitors, the loyal fans turn out in droves for events at the speedway, and for good reason. The on track action is fast and furious, giving the fans a brilliant show to watch. Being in Utah also means the people are kind and courteous, making for an at times overwhelmingly enjoyable and family-friendly atmosphere at the track.
Getting to Utah Motorsports Campus isn't intrinsically hard to do, but the trek is a bit off the beaten path. After exiting US-80 towards Tooele, fans will find themselves driving past endless desert land until suddenly a racetrack appears. Traffic can back up after a period of time, due to the small roads heading in and out of the raceway. Additionally, parking on site is quite numerous, but getting to your favorite spot may require a long walk. Thankfully, a fan shuttle is offered during races to get you from place to place on the nearly four-mile road course.
There is also a ton of camping space available next to the track, giving guests wanting to stay the full weekend a chance to "Rough it," racing-style.
Utah Motorsports Campus is quite picturesque, despite its location. Mountains border the speedway to the east, west, and south, with the Great Salt Lake bordering the north. Tickets are not generally expensive, and getting to see top-quality racing on the track at the same time is worth the price of admission. Just bring your own food next time.
The facility at Utah Motorsports Campus is host to a wide array of additional notes for fans.
First off is the go kart track. Not only is it large, it can be split into two separate tracks that can be run simultaneously.
Second comes the Ford Museum on-site. Home to some classic vintage cars from the Ford Motor Company, the museum is open during race weekends.
Another giant thrill on track is a large zip line.
The autograph sessions held throughout the weekend are a fan favorite that give the fans the best chance to meet their favorite drivers and get an autograph on their racing souvenirs.
Another interesting aspect is the location of Victory Lane, quite literally tables away from the port-side seating for the track's only concession stand.
Finally, the track offers a perfect chance for fans to see the cars up front and personal, with most drivers and teams willing to pose for photos, during each race's pre-grid set up.
Coming to Utah Motorsports Campus in the high desert heat of Utah can be challenging for some, but for many racing diehards, stopping at the facility is a surreal experience. The track is new, long, and fast, quickly becoming a favorite among drivers. As long as you stay hydrated and eat well before your day, Utah Motorsports Campus is destined to become a jewel of motor racing.
Member Review by ChrisGreenPhotography on Sep 13, 2015
"There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing.” – Prince Feisal, Lawrence of Arabia
Miller Motorsports Park is unique in many ways. It was the longest road course in North America until 2014 saw Thunderhill Raceway undergo a massive expansion. It also sits at a high altitude being located just outside of Salt Lake City. There also is the intense heat that comes with being located in the middle of the desert. Yet, despite what one may feel are negatives, this track has the bones of a top notch racing facility. From the great sound system to the fan access to the teams and drivers, few can argue with the brilliance of this course’s layout and design.
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