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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Lime Rock Park - Memorial Day Classic



Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Lime Rock Park 60 White Hollow Rd Lakeville, CT 06039



Year Opened: 1957

Capacity: 75,000

 

Racing’s Other Memorial Day Tradition

Despite the best efforts of the track’s neighbors, Lime Rock Park is a historic and popular racing facility hidden away in northwestern Connecticut. Nestled in a small valley and surrounded by stunning forests, this New England center of speed is small yet fierce, attracting race fans from around the globe to its secluded curves.


After hosting the likes of IMSA and SRO World Challenge over the past few years, the classic Memorial Day race weekend now features SVRA vintage racing and Trans Am action. After IMSA’s departure in 2024, SpeedTour Weekend now holds the distinction of being the track’s flagship professional race event. The track also plays host to a variety of racing series over the calendar year, from SCCA to the Skip Barber Racing School.

 

Food & Beverage   4

The small size of Lime Rock Park means you are never too far from anywhere, which makes finding food easy. From food trucks to small vendors at various corners around the track, getting food is easy for fans.


The track also features a paddock food stand that has ice cream, a wide selection of burger options, and more to satisfy the appetite of any race fan. The main food booths are in the paddock area and at the top of the Turn 2 hill, from where the majority of fans watch the race. A burger or impossible burger costs $10, while a chicken tenders and fries basket costs $11. Hot dogs range from $7 to $8 depending on the toppings you want, while drinks range from $2 for a coffee or juice to $4.50 for soda or Gatorade. Snacks like cookies, brownies, candy, chips, and pastries range from $2.50 to $3.


For 2023, the main concession stand now features a newly paved queue area, as opposed to the rocky pathway that was there before.

 

Atmosphere   5

The beauty all around Lime Rock Park is simply stunning – the vibrant green mountains that border the track help make the car colors pop even more than normal. The smell of campfires also fills the air, as some of the best race fans in the country take up residence at the track for the weekend.


With a paddock that is open to all fans during all race weekends, and victory lane located at the bottom of an amphitheater-style hill for fan viewing, there is almost nowhere on the track you can’t find a great view. In addition, drivers frequently toss out hats to fans after celebrating their wins. In addition, autographs are easy to get here, and the pre-grid walk before the main race always brings out the fans.



Perhaps most overlooked are the main paddock restrooms, which are always spotless and fully air-conditioned.

 

Neighborhood   2

If you want to feel unwelcome by the residents of a town in which your sporting event is being held, just travel to Lime Rock Park. Weekend homes for New York City residents dot the streets around the track, and almost every single one has a large yellow sign outside their home that reads “SUNDAY NO RACING!” in protest of the track’s noise. Though the debate has raged for years, it nonetheless makes new fans and visitors to the facility feel rather unwelcome in this small New England town.


Easily the biggest downside of Lime Rock Park is its location and lack of any large towns nearby. Quite literally located off small one-lane roads, the track is bordered by homes and farm fields, mixed with dense New England forest. The nearest hotels are Interlaken Inn and Wake Robin Inn, both a good 15-minute drive north into Lakeville.


Food options in Lakeville, the nearest town, include Black Rabbit Tavern and The Woodland restaurant. For sightseers, Haystack Mountain State Park offers great hiking trails, while the Saville Dam area is a favorite spot for photo takers.

 

Fans   5

The fans at Lime Rock Park are diehard racing fans – they follow IMSA, SRO, SVRA, WEC, Trans Am, and more, making them extremely sports-knowledgeable. They’re also passionate about their favorite drivers, fly the flags of their preferred manufacturers, and pack the hillsides for every headliner and support race during a given race weekend. From club racing to vintage and pro weekends, Lime Rock Park is rarely empty when a race is in town.


 

Access   2

Parking on site at Lime Rock Park is plentiful, both inside the track and out. However, that is where the convenience ends – located over an hour from the nearest interstate highway, Lime Rock Park is in a very secluded part of Connecticut, relatively speaking. The nearest major city, Hartford, is equally as far.


Located between US-7 and US-44, Lime Rock Park is easy to drive past if you don’t catch the small signs that point you towards the facility. Its distance from anywhere with sufficient lodging or dining is also inconvenient for those traveling to the track from out of state, some of whom don’t like to venture far from the action.

 

Return on Investment   4

Lime Rock Park is one of those tracks in North America that everyone knows about and says you should visit once. The compact nature of the track makes this the sports car racing equivalent of a bull ring, making the on-track product quite exciting to watch. Add to this the car-lovers dream that is the open paddock, and you have the perfect mix of beautiful surroundings and quality racing that motorheads crave.


Tickets for the Trans-Am and SVRA event on Memorial Day weekend are generally affordable, though price increases have taken effect in 2024, with Friday tickets going for $35, Saturday or Monday tickets now at $85, full weekend tickets at $105, Sunday car show tickets at $15, and infield parking at $35. Add this to the dramatically smaller field sizes in recent years for SVRA’s vintage races, and you are paying more for less than before. Nonetheless, this event is still a great event for fans to attend, and an overall good value.

 

Extras   4

The track features vintage racecars on display near the paddock grill concession stand, showcasing the track’s history. The main midway is also home to vendors and displays, showing fans the latest tech and offering great giveaways at the races. In addition, the track’s victory lane is located at the bottom of the hill by Turn 2, creating an amphitheater-style winner’s circle that makes you feel like you’re part of the celebration.


Before the races, fans are welcomed onto the grid for a pre-race grid walk, where they can get up close to the cars and stars racing at the track, and with the moratorium on Sunday racing, Memorial Day Weekend features a massive classic car show and local beer festival on Sunday before the race action returns on Monday.


 

Final Thoughts

Lime Rock Park is secluded to say the least, and whether this is good or bad depends on the fan. What isn’t up for debate is its status as a shining star in the racing world for over 60 years, and the natural beauty that surrounds it.


If you’re a racing fan, this track is a must-see on anyone’s bucket list – the track is constantly trying to improve the fan experience, and unlike other stops on the calendar, this facility doesn’t seem to age poorly, meaning you’ll be comfortable whenever you’re there.

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