Zoie Clift, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
At the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock you can catch the action of cars racing on a 1/4 mile, high-banked, red clay oval racetrack.
“The track has been around more than 60 years,” said Tracey Clay of the I-30 Speedway. “And this is our 31st year to own the track. I think that alone says a lot about the impact it has had on the state. We bring in big events that attract people from all over the nation. We’ve had drivers compete in races here from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”
Clay said location has been vital to to the track. “I’ve said it many times, we are the easiest track in America to find,” she said. “Not a lot of tracks have the interstate exposure we have.” She also said that many that compete have a history tied to the sport. “Most of the drivers fathers, grandfathers, uncles…raced before them,” she said. “That is what brought them to it.”
The I-30 Speedway has races from March through October and a signature event is the Short Track Nationals and other top touring series like the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series and Comp Cams Super Dirt Series Late Models. “These events pay more than our weekly shows,” said Clay. “So top dollar brings top drivers.”
Clay also had advice for first timers to the track. “Don’t wear white or heels to a dirt track,” she said. “There is a lot of action on a 1/4 mile high banked dirt track. Cars normally race each other clean but every now and then they have a tendency to get a bit aggressive. Speeds for our sprint cars, such as the Short Track Nationals, can reach up to 100 mph on a short track like this. The other classes go 50-60 mph. That’s a lot of speed on a quarter mile circle. Sometimes watching the fans root for their favorite driver is as fun as watching the race itself. People think we are like NASCAR, and yes, to a degree, maybe so. After all, that’s where NASCAR started, was dirt tracks. But, I know I’m biased, this is just more fun. Everyone needs to try this at least once.”
The track is located at 12297 Interstate 30. For more details, visit i-30speedway.com.