Get Ready for Racing Season in the Finger Lakes!

Nothing announces the arrival of spring quite like the roar of a racecar engine. Come April, the Finger Lakes will echo with the revving, snarling, and squealing — and occasional crunching — of the stockcar circuit. Fans, open your datebooks . . .

Opening weekend at Watkins Glen International raceway is April 16-17. This mother-of-all-racetracks hosts everything from major NASCAR Cup series to Indy Car competitions, and occupies a sacred place in the history of American racing. But for two days, at least, you can navigate the track’s famous Esses: for $25, they’ll even let you take your dad’s old Volvo for 3 laps on the track. After that, let the professionals take over.

Chemung Speedrome in Chemung features a variety of lower-rung events from the NASCAR Whelen Modified tour to Bandolero racing. Opening night on May 6th will showcase several classes of cars.

If dirt and ovals are more your thing, check out Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Brewerton — its season opens April 9th — Black Rock Speedway in Dundee (opening April 15th) or Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull (opening April 16th). The events here are of a decidedly more rough-and-tumble type, so don’t forget to bring a towel to wipe off all that mud and grease.

Finally, Broome-Tioga Sports Center in Richford kicks off with a motocross race April 23rd. Other days you might find ATV racing, harescrambles, or a demolition derby — basically, anything off-road. As a bonus, they don’t cancel for inclement weather — ever.

And as always, the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen is open to the public Monday through Saturday and on race day Sundays, offering the most complete collection of American auto racing history, trivia, and memorabilia.

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