Updated: Sep 5, 2022
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If you're the type to fully engulf in the culture while on vacation, you'll want to catch a race at a dirt track while you're in the Smoky Mountains. Located about an hour from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Smoky Mountain Speedway is a special events track that's integrated into the hearts of nearby southerners. For those who don't know, dirt track racing takes place on a circle track packed with red clay mud. Smoky Mountain runs dirt late model cars most often, but if you're in town at the right time, you might catch a motorcycle race or a sprint car race.
Several visitors of the track have a long-standing appreciation of dirt racing, either because they are local or have their own racetrack back home that they frequent. Whether you travel all over the world to various race tracks or have never been to a race in general, the following tips will help you plan your trip to Smoky Mountain Speedway.
Races at Smoky Mountain Speedway typically take place between March to October, so the weather conditions are different depending on when you visit. During the summer, Tennessee is known to stay hot, so you'll want to wear clothes that keep you cool. On the flip side, wind whipping off the race cars and cool temps at night can leave you wishing for a light jacket and safety goggles. You'll be outside for several hours at once, so pack anything you need with this information in mind.
If there's been a recent storm, the dirt will inevitably be muddy. Flip-flops or your favorite pair of sneakers at not the answer in this case. Instead, opt for mud boots or stable tennis shoes, and don't forget to bring earplugs for the little ones.
Stay Close by
Races typically last until around midnight, and traffic can be awful with everyone leaving at once. Even if your vacation is based out of Pigeon Forge, you might want to crash a little closer for the night. The closest hotel to Smoky Mountain Speedway is the Hilton Knoxville Airport hotel. In fact, if you book the hotel here and enter the corporate number 3129469, you will receive a special rate of $99 or $119 per night plus tax depending on what room you choose. These rooms normally cost $124 per night and up. The hotel is connected to McGhee Tyson Airport and 15 minutes from the track itself.
Check out the Schedule
You obviously want to make sure a race is actually occurring before you show up, right? The dates are listed above, and times will be announced on Smoky Mountain Speedway's Facebook page.
Learn the Importance
Smoky Mountain Speedway was newly remolded in 2019, but it hasn't lost its historical roots. The track is more than 40 years old was paved in its past. It's seen the likes of NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and David Pearson, among others. A lot has changed about "The Mountain" since then, but the roots remain strong and deep. The dirt track now hosts world famous series such as Lucas Oil, Schaeffer's Oil, Southern All Stars, and more.
The track owners and event organizers are genuinely good people. When you support Smoky Mountain Speedway, you can breathe easy knowing you are supporting a small local business and not a large corporation. The owner Roger Sellers is a self-made businessman who remains as humble as he was in the beginning. The event organizer, Casey Moses, is one of the hardest workers the sport has ever seen.
The concession stand's food is actually good! Most concession stands at public events have generic foods that leave you feeling unsatisfied, but with barbecue sandwiches, mozzarella cheese sticks, chicken tenders, nachos and cheese, and a large variety of classics, you'll be standing in line all night wanting more.
The track serves alcohol. Need I say more? Whether you're enjoying a vacation or a simple night out, nothing pairs better with racing than beer
Smoky Mountain Speedway is one of a kind, and I hope these tips fully prepare you for whatever awaits on your future visit.
Couldn't end this post without mentioning you, my friend. We miss you.