Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Utah Motorsports Campus 2091 N. Sheep Lane Tooele, UT 84074
Year Opened: 2006
Speed Between the Peaks of Utah
“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.
Utah Motorsports Campus sits at a high altitude, located just outside of Salt Lake City at nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. There is also the intense heat that comes with being located in the middle of the desert. Yet, despite what some may feel are negatives, this track has the bones of a top-notch racing facility.
Bought in 2015 by a Chinese company, Utah Motorsports Campus is now being used as a test-bed for how that 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. However, the venue lacks a few touches that most other facilities would find useful, and would consider no-brainers.
Food & Beverage 2
The concessions are 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 concessions stand no longer is open during major race weekends.
However, in 2016 the Rodigio Grill opened on site, 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. In 2018, the venue also featured a variety of food trucks that arrived on site during Sunday racing, giving fans another option for something to eat at the track.
The feeling you get 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 fans to get up close to the garages, where all their favorite drivers and cars are being worked on – this puts a smile on everyone’s face, no matter how hot or cold the weather may be.
Utah Motorsports Campus is quite literally in the middle of the desert. However, just a 20-minute drive east is Salt Lake City, and just five minutes southeast of the track is Tooele, where you can find numerous lodging options with affordable prices; the Tooele Comfort Inn & Suites is routinely rated as one of the best hotels in the chain’s arsenal around the country, as is the Hilton Garden Inn in Sandy, UT. Numerous new hotels are popping up right next to Salt Lake City International Airport as well.
Tooele also has a wide variety of dining options – one of the favorites for fans and teams is a restaurant called the Bonneville Brewing Company, which is a multi-level restaurant and brewhouse with sports on TVs all over the place. Fans craving Brazilian food can also visit the Rodigio Grill on site at Utah Motorsports Campus.
For those looking to explore some of the great outdoors, Utah Motorsports Campus is located just minutes away from the shores of Great Salt Lake State Park, and there are also several mountain trails and ski resorts nearby. In addition, fans can drive into Salt Lake City to see sights such as Temple Square and the Clark Planetarium.
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, loyal fans turn out in droves for events at Utah Motorsports Campus, 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 that 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 facility is a bit off the beaten path.
After exiting US-80 towards Tooele, fans will find themselves driving past endless desert 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, while parking on site is quite numerous, 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 along the nearly four-mile road course. There is also a ton of camping space available next to the track, giving guests who want to stay the full weekend a chance to “rough it” racing-style.
Return on Investment 4
Utah Motorsports Campus is quite picturesque, despite its location. Mountains border the speedway on the east, west, and south, with the Great Salt Lake bordering on the north. Tickets are not generally expensive, and getting to see top-quality racing on the track is worth the price of admission – just bring your own food.
The facility at Utah Motorsports Campus is host to a wide array of additional amenities for fans, starting with the go-kart track – not only is it large, it can be split into two separate tracks that can be run simultaneously. The Ford Museum is also on-site, which is home to some classic vintage cars from the Ford Motor Company; note that the museum is open during race weekends.
Another giant thrill at Utah Motorsports Campus is the large zip line, and the autograph sessions held throughout the weekend are a fan favorite that give fans the best chance to meet their favorite drivers, and get an autograph to go with their other racing souvenirs.
Another interesting aspect at Utah Motorsports Campus is the location of Victory Lane, quite literally tables away from the port-side seating for the track’s only concessions stand. In addition, 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, and is 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.