Our Two Cents: Car races on our bucket lists

A record number of race fans enjoy festivities prior to the 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. ©Rolex/Jensen Larson

Our last installment of this series certainly got the creative juices flowing, both among our staffers and members of the Hagerty Community. This week’s question changes the topic, as we seek to inspire you to add another item (or three) to your personal bucket list. Be it participating or spectating, attending one of the many famous races around the world might be worth your consideration.

Let’s ask our team and see if you agree with their choices: What race or races are on your bucket list?

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Bentley Goodwood 2023-1

“For me, it has gotta be the Goodwood Festival of Speed, mostly because it is the polar opposite of what I do and love: kudging the 24 Hours of Lemons.” — Sajeev Mehta

Indianapolis 500

106th Running Of The Indianapolis 500
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

“I’ve been to the [Goodwood] Revival. It’s spectacular. I’ve been lucky enough to see Le Mans and the Daytona 500 in person, so I think completing the trifecta, it would have to be the Indy 500 for me. I have actually kissed the bricks there once, on a photo shoot, in the dead of winter. I would also like to see an F1 race at Monaco as well, and the new F1 race in Vegas would be fun to watch, too.” — Todd Kraemer

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Jack Brabham
The Monaco Grand Prix; Monte Carlo, May 10, 1959. Jack Brabham turns his Cooper into Tabac on his way to Cooper’s first F.1 win. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images) Klemantaski / Getty Images

“Oh, this is easy. Monaco Grand Prix. I’ve been to Monaco and I’ve driven the race route in a Maserati Quattroporte, slowly, so I know the scene. The question is whether I will take in the action from a yacht in the harbor or from a balcony of the Hôtel de Paris, across from the Casino. Either way, I will have a flute of champagne in my hand at all times.” — Joe DeMatio

24 Hours of Le Mans

24 hours of le mans endurance race 2020 cars action
James Moy Photography/Getty Images

“Le Mans. The noise. The legacy. The exhaustion, the camaraderie. The champagne and soft cheese.” — Eric Weiner

“I agree with Eric—Le Mans is an absolute bucket list item. Closer to home, the Indy 500 is one that I want to see at least once. The tradition and the level of drivers that flock to the race are just incredible. It certainly ranks among the greats.” — Greg Ingold

Knoxville Nationals

Knoxville Raceway dirt track racing fans and the field
High atop the five-story suite tower in Knoxville Raceway’s Turn 2, a couple of fans bench-race while a pack of sprinters prepares to take the green flag. Cameron Neveu

“Knoxville, Iowa, is Mecca for sprint car enthusiasts. It’s a beautiful, well-kept little dirt track, perfectly groomed with somehow-white fences. I’ve been there, but never to a race, and I’d love to see the Knoxville Nationals.” — Steven Cole Smith

Circuit des Remparts

“For me, it’s the Circuit des Remparts festival in Angoulême, France. Prewar cars race through the streets of the old city on a circuit that first hosted an event in 1939.” — Aaron Robinson

F1 with my son

Getty Images

“I’m just pulling into Goodwood Festival of Speed as I type. It was at the top of my list of automotive events to attend, so I’m quite excited to tick that box. What’s next? I’d say almost any F1 race, but with my oldest son in tow. He loves F1 and fast cars in general. My preference would be one at a non-U.S. track with a long history of racing (Spa, Silverstone, Monza). Get a bit of international culture along with the exhilarating experience of being up close and personal with the scream of F1 engines (although I wish I could have experienced an F1 race during the era of V-12s!). Anyway, I’d probably get more enjoyment out of watching my son watch the race than the actual race itself, but that’s just sort of where I am in life right now!” — Ben Woodworth

Tulsa Shootout

Cameron Neveu

“The Tulsa Shootout is ahead of the Chili Bowl and has three times the number of cars, some 1500 entrants. It is also run during the usual racing dead zone between Christmas and New Years.” — Larry Webster

Bonneville Speed Week

Speed Needle Homegrown Bonneville front three quarter
Brian Booth

“I’ve been to Bonneville Speed Week 10 times by now, but it belongs on everyone’s bucket list. I will continue to proselytize about racing and spectating on the salt because it’s such a unique environment with such a wide range of cars and fantastic competitors. Do you want to see a 1932 Ford powered by a flathead V-8 race for the same record that’s been contested for 75 years? Speed Week has that. How about multiple 400-plus-mph streamliners battling back and forth for bragging rights? Speed Week has that too. There’s no money to be made, just racing for the sake of racing. Besides that, cars just look great on the salt.” — Brandan Gillogly

Hilbilly 100 + Bathhurst 1000

“I have two. I would love to attend the Hillbilly 100 in West Virginia. The 100-lapper is one of dirt late-model racing’s most prestigious races, dating back to its first running in 1967. Back then, it was held at Pennsboro Speedway—an old horse-racing track cut lengthwise by a creek with a bridge in each turn. Spectators had to bring shovels to dig themselves a seat in a ridge that ran perpendicular to the front straight. Now, the crown-jewel race is run at Tyler County Speedway, just east of the Ohio River. While the venue has changed, the frenetic nature surrounding the race has not. Dirt-racing fans travel from around the country to watch drivers throw their purpose-built machines around the quarter-mile bullring.

“My other bucket list race is the Bathhurst 1000, the Daytona 500 of Australian Supercar racing. While I typically attend over 30 races per year, I have still to witness one outside of the United States. If I ever went international, Bathhurst would be my first stop. The 1000-kilometer contest around the undulating Mount Panorama Circuit features plenty of on-track action and even the occasional kangaroo.

“The events are worlds apart but feature some of auto racing’s rowdiest fans.” — Cameron Neveu

World Rally Championship

Hyundai i20 WRC Rally Turkey
Hyundai Motorsports GmbH/Fabien Dufour

“I need to see a WRC car fly through the air in person, it doesn’t matter where. Perhaps a race at Eldora Speedway, preferably with Kyle Larson making an appearance. And I am told I haven’t lived till I’ve seen a super-modified run at a half-mile track—I’ll let the commenters tell me the best venue for that.” — Eddy Eckart




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    Lots of great submissions from the staff – a couple of which I’d never even heard of. For me, it would definitely be LeMans, followed by Monaco. I’m not really a NASCAR fan, but Daytona is just so iconic that I think I’d really enjoy that too. Now I’ve got to investigate a few others listed and see if I want to add them!

    The Le Mans Classic. Had plans to go this year, but had to divert, so going to the Rolex Motorsport Reunion instead.
    Also, the Isle of Man TT, obviously.

    I’ve been really lucky to see many of these. Goodwood FoS and Revival, the Big Three endurance races (Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring), Indy 500, Formula 1 at COTA. For me, next would be an F1 race at a historic European track (Spa, especially). Or to be a part of the Mille Miglia tribute event.

    The only similarity is that were both WWII airfields.
    Harewood was located in Southern Ontario, Canada near Jarvis ON. It was purchased by Texaco and became an oil refinery.
    Goodwood is the estate of the Earl of March located in Sussex, southwest of London…and of course still home to all kinds of racing festivities and still has the capability to land and take off aircraft.

    This one may sound a bit silly, but do they still hold the National soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio? I always thought that might be kinda fun.

    As likely the greatest feat of individually piloted/driven motorsport racing, I’d believe the Isle of Man TT (a motorcycle race for the uninitiated) should have been a requirement for this list! https://www.hagerty.com/media/motorcycles/4-stats-that-show-the-insanity-of-the-isle-of-man-tt/
    While I sadly haven’t been over the pond yet, I make efforts to see the similar MotoAmerica Superbike races at “America’s National Park of Speed” at Road America near my backyard.
    And, as “the world’s fastest motorsport”, how about the National Championship Air Races, better know as the Reno Air Races (noting its long-held location plays host for the very last time this mid-Sept).
    Or, again venturing off-pavement and without wheels, how an H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Race in a body of H20 nearest you (though I’m not familiar enough with their series to point out any one race).

    I second Mr. Northrup’s nomination of the Isle of Man TT as a “must see” addition to this list. Incredible feats of bravery, precision motorcycle riding and incredible speed on the longest and most dangerous street circuit in the world. Not for the faint of heart.

    Let a NASCAR fan who hasn’t been to a NASCAR race (don’t ask) chime in. The Daytona 500, Bristol dirt race, and the next street race be it again in Chicago or elsewhere. Add in one road race be it COTA, the Roval, Sonoma. Oh, and one of the super speedways like Charlotte or, preferably, ‘dega.

    Been to lots of them, and Lord help me, they pretty much just bore me nowadays. The cars are so formulaic and there just doesn’t seem to be the levels of creativity that there used to be. There are exceptions, to be sure, but for the most part, if you paint all the cars in each race white, it’d be hard to distinguish them from one another.
    I say Lord help me because I myself am an old drag racer and NHRA member, so I realize that I’m dissing my own chosen automotive sport, but there it is…

    But everyone REALLY needs to attend an NHRA event (doesn’t matter which – as long as there are Top Fuel and Funny Cars so you can feel it in your CHEST!) at least once just to experience it! Really!

    Been to Indy 500, 24 hours of Daytona, and about 20 F1 races arountd he world. On authors list I would like to go to Goodwood. Also want to go to Monaco F1. I have been to Daytona 500 and that should be on the list even if u r not a NASCAR fan!

    Eddie- Eldora Speedway is a must for a World of Outlaw sprint car race. You’re the only one to mention Supermodified racing. I grew up in the late 50’s thru the 70’s with the beginning of supermodifieds. Saw the amazing transition thru the years. One of the few forms of racing where innovation is still encouraged. Winchester Speedway in eastern Indiana and Oswego Speedway in western upstate New York are two of the fastest paved ovals in the world. You won’t be disappointed!!!

    For me its the NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis. I have not been in a few years but I love seeing hearing a feeling the top fuel dragsters flying down the 1/4 mile track. Getting into the pits to see them working on the machines up close and seeing all of the assorted other vehicles running down the track. Tonnes of fun and excitement.

    Glad to see FI and Sons on the list. My oldest boy, my buddy, his oldest son, and me did the Canadian Grand(s) Prix in 2008. A great experience none of us will forget. Next best was having all three of my boys ditch school mid-week to see Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart swap their F1 and NASCAR rides at Watkins Glen.

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