Vintage Racing Ushers In The 2012 Season At Road America
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| It has been 62 years since racers tore through the streets of this tiny village about 60 miles north of Milwaukee. Still, every spring you would swear that the town speed limit doesn't exist when the sounds of historic racecars from days gone by seem to echo throughout the hillside. May 18-20 the Spring Vintage Weekend returns to Road America and kicks-off the start of a summer full of racing, from vintage and historic cars to motorcycles and even NASCAR.
Racing came to Elkhart Lake in 1950, with cars competing against the backdrop of the countryside course. The next two years, drivers maneuvered through the tiny village itself, past waving spectators who needed only to sit on their porches to get a glimpse of the action. In 1953, auto racing was banned on open roads in Wisconsin and as a result, the need for a real racetrack became apparent. Road America was designed by Clif Tufte as an adaptation to the existing hillside commonly known in eastern Wisconsin as the Kettle Moraine - complete with 14 challenging turns, corners and straightaways that have taken on names of their own, based mainly on their configuration but more often the intimidation level.
'Racers, fans and even the media have a fond affinity for Road America,' said George Bruggenthies, track president and general manager. 'It has a special appeal like no place else, for many fans Road America was their first racing experience and now coming back every summer is a tradition, plus you can't beat the appeal of Elkhart Lake, the surrounding scenery and the off-track hospitality that the local area provides. For racers, the track layout has remained unchanged since it was first built and mastering its daunting twists and turns has become a formidable challenge for any driver.'
Road America's layout is like the Swiss Army knife of racetracks and the power, grace and terror begins with corner three - a downhill curve that tends to produce high speeds and lumps in the throat. Then there is the Moraine Sweep, the fastest part of the course, which is located about the middle of the four-mile circuit. Corner five is especially challenging because of its 90-degree left angle and downhill grade immediately after the Moraine Sweep. The Hurry Downs are a series of treacherous downhill, weaving turns, which leave little room for error. The Carousel is a sweeping, high-speed half-circle curve that is over 180 degrees. The drivers hang on, and hang on as the g-forces are constant and because it seems to go around forever, just like a carousel.
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