Whether you’re into NASCAR or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed action, in a suitably impressive environment. Constructed on the site of an abandoned steel mill in 1995, this motor sports mecca—originally named Penske Speedways—is enormous. The two-mile, D-shaped oval is enclosed by an astounding 17 miles of fencing, and its buildings are 739,000 square feet in area. Total seating capacity, including the main grandstand and the skyboxes, is 122,000.
It’s the kind of track that’s capable of hosting competitions that draw the sport’s top drivers—like springtime’s NASCAR Cup Series 400 (aka the Auto Club 400) and the Production Alliance Group 300, held over a single weekend. To really get the full Auto Club Speedway experience and to see cars (and sometimes drivers) up-close at NASCAR race weekend events, pick up pre-race pit passes, good for the entire weekend. And while the races are definitely the big draw, there are also live performances and stunt shows, and you can camp in the infield.
The speedway’s Auto Club Dragway hosts NHRA events, and if you want to put pedal to the metal yourself, attend one of the racing schools held at the speedway throughout the year. The Speedway is also home to year-round racing schools, club racing, car shows, new car testing, music festivals, and a variety of movie, television, and commercial productions.
While you’re in the area, leave some time to check out other things to do in San Bernardino and Riverside—such as Temecula Valley wine country (famous for hot-air balloon rides), the San Bernardino Mountains, and shopaholic-friendly Ontario Mills outlet mall. Hit the Rim of the World Scenic Byway for the perfect tour of that mountain range, then stay overnight at Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear Lake resorts.