- Chris Green
Virginia International Raceway
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Virginia International Raceway 1245 Pine Tree Rd Alton, VA 24520
Virginia International Raceway website
Year Opened: 1957
Racing in Virginia’s Hills
“If there is a heaven on earth, it is VIR.” – Paul Newman
The famed Virginia International Raceway has been a favorite visit among sportscar racers for decades. It hosts multiple racing events during the season, including IMSA, Trans-Am, SVRA, SRO World Challenge, SCCA Majors, GridLife, and others. The winding roads through the hills of rural southern Virginia are challenging for many, while also providing a beautiful, verdant backdrop for some of racing’s best to test each other’s mettle. Visiting the track has become a must-do for some of racing’s biggest fans over the years, and a visit to the facility helps you understand why rather quickly.
Food & Beverage 3
There are several food options in the main paddock area, including the popular Paddock Café. This spot nestled next to the track features burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, and more. To make it easier for fans to order, the café also has several bundle options that generally run in the $10 range for a main item (burger, chicken, etc.), fries, and a drink. In addition, the track has snacks, ice cream, and various other items for sale at the main concessions stand, and some food trucks pop up throughout the bigger race weekends down in the paddock area.
The track also has an on-site restaurant called Oak Tree Tavern & Connie’s Pub, which is a more upscale option than something on the quick service side down by the paddock. The biggest downside at Virginia International Raceway, however, is that there are no other food options around the facility for fans who set up camp in other parts of the venue, or who wish to wander the property to watch the racing action.
Virginia International Raceway’s track is big, fast, and beautiful. Most of the track’s viewing areas offer views that extend beyond just one corner, and include the complex heading up to and away from where you are set up, something that many other road courses are unable to boast. The fans also tend to come from all around, and pack in the viewing mounds and grandstands around the facility, meaning you will be surrounded by your racing friends all weekend.
The paint scheme and architecture of the various buildings harkens back to southern plantation style homes, as well as to the farm houses and barns that the rural south has become known for. Situated next to a watershed for a river, the surrounding area is also full of beautiful green trees to give Virginia International Raceway that special wooded look.
The biggest downside to VIR is its lack of neighbors. While there is peace in the solitude of VIR’s rural setting, there is quite literally nothing around Virginia International Raceway in any direction for at least half an hour. Located just over an hour north of the greater Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, and half an hour southeast of South Boston in Virginia, you have to drive a while to find anything as far as hotels or restaurants.
A lot of fans and teams stay in Danville, VA to the west, which is where you can find the closest places to eat. There you can find restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings and 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Company, or lodging options such as Sleep Inn & Suites and Courtyard by Marriott. For something to do while in the area, South Boston Speedway features local short track racing on weekend nights, or down in Durham, NC you can visit Duke Forest for a quiet hike in the suburbs.
The fans at Virginia International Raceway are pretty great as far as sportscar racing fans go. They love anything motorsports, show up en masse for race weekends, and know everything about the sport they love and the drivers who compete in it. You can find everything from young fans who are learning about the sport to diehard loyalists who have been going for a long time.
To get to Virginia International Raceway, you have to drive off the main roads. State Highway 58 is the closest main roadway, connecting Danville to South Boston. There are no major highways in or around the area, with I-85 almost 30-45 minutes away to the southeast.
That said, once you get to the track parking is plentiful on site and is well-marked. Fans can also enjoy getting around the facility easily, thanks to the signage pointing them towards the paddock area from the main parking lots on the infield.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for Virginia International Raceway races range in the $50 realm, making a weekend pass quite affordable compared to other sportscar venues. Camping passes are also affordable, which means you can take in the races on site without breaking the bank. Add in concessions prices that are relatively average, and a family of four can watch a full weekend of quality sportscar racing for under $250 all in.
Virginia International Raceway’s victory lane is located right in the main paddock, meaning fans can get up close to the post-race celebrations. The venue also erects TV screens at various points around the property for fans to see the action around the track while it is happening, meaning you won’t miss anything regardless of where you decide to watch the race.
Tickets to race weekend also get you into the paddock area for free, something other tracks and races require an additional ticket for. In addition, races at Virginia International Raceway also generally include driver meet and greets and autograph sessions for fans to see the stars up close.
Taking a trip to Virginia International Raceway is a must-do for any race fan who wants to see some quality sportscar racing. The track is big, technical, and exciting. Fans from all around flock to the speedway for a day at the races, and it is easy to see why.
While driving to the track and finding a place to stay nearby may be a challenge, Virginia International Raceway offers plenty for both the casual and diehard sports fan to make your visit worth the trek.