There are many race tracks around the world and what makes the perfect race track is certainly subjective, but the primary ingredients necessary to make a race track fantastic are all present at the Rock. The length of the track allows for fast racing but the tightness of the turns keeps the vehicles from going too fast. The banking in the turns allows for multiple grooves of racing and helps the fans see the action but also helps the competitors make their vehicles drive the way they would like. The weather is generally temperate due to its proximity to the coast while it can get rather warm in the summer time. Finally the surface of the track is perfect for wearing out tires and forcing drivers to manage their tires in order to make it to the end of races.
A one mile race track is just about the perfect distance for a race track. ¾ and 7/8 mile tracks offer a slightly better viewing opportunity for fans, but the one mile track, with long straights, semi-tight corners and a arching tri-oval is very close to an ideal configuration for a track. Rockingham’s back stretch is banked so that the old garage area on the inside of the back straight does not obstruct the view from the stands. The corners are high banked which lets the fans see everything from the top to the bottom and the sweeping tri-oval gives fans a full view of the action from turn four to turn one.
The racing surface at Rockingham is loaded with “character”. There are bumps and cracks that can cause cars to shift and dart which makes the driver have to actually drive the car rather than holding the wheel. The tire wear causes lap times to slow down considerably from the start of a run to the end of a run which gives a benefit to teams who can pit off sequence and save a set of tires for a late race run. The slipping and sliding associated with worn tires can also make overtaking a little more dicey, resulting in race leaders sometimes losing advantages because they have to avoid being caught up with a lapped car.
Besides the amenities, the track and the sight angles, the other piece that cannot be discounted is the genuine nature of the people who work at and for the race track. The low country of North Carolina is home to some of the nicest people you will ever meet and they bend over backwards to make sure that your experience at their race track is a good one. Every person you run into at the facility has a smile, a kind word and a giving attitude. If they have it in their power to make something happen for you while you’re at their race track, they’ll make it happen.
A race at Rockingham is a special experience because it encompasses everything that a race fan wants from their races. There will be fast laps, tight racing, multiple grooves, plenty of passing and, more times than not, a very close finish to the event. Some drivers might leave the track with hurt feelings but most of the time, they walk out of the garage smiling, laughing and joking with each other about what a fantastic time they had putting on a great show for the fans and racing in close quarters with each other.
Rockingham might not be the most famous race track on the planet. It might not have the unbridled beauty and charisma of the Nurburgring. It may not have the lenghthy history of Indianapolis. It may not have the pedigree of Daytona but it is, without a doubt, as close to a perfect race track as you will find anywhere on the face of the earth.