1. Knoxville Nationals – Knoxville Raceway
Our top dirt race in the world is none other than the premier Knoxville Nationals at the Marion County Fairgrounds in the state of Iowa. Without question, the Nationals is world-renowned as the most historic and prestigious event in all of dirt motorsports. Only the cream of the crop win this race; luck doesn’t get a good driver into a show, let alone to victory lane. The Knoxville Nationals draws roughly the best 100 sprint drivers in the world every year, and this year’s 55th running will again pay a whopping $150,000 to win. Forget work for a week in August, this is place every true race fan needs to be.
Our 2nd Wonder of the (DIRT) World is none other than the 45th Annual World 100 at the highbanked ½ mile known as Eldora Speedway. Eldora, placed pleasantly in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, becomes its own raging town for a weekend in October each year. The World, which originally paid $3,000 to win, has increased the winner’s share by $1,000 each year since its 1971 inception. This year’s champion will be hoisting a $48,000 check in front of a frenzy of avid race fans.
The 3rd Wonder of the (DIRT) World didn’t earn its place because of the history surrounding the event. The World Finals, to put it simply, is the best possible show that an all-around race fan could ask for. Featuring three full days of the 3 premier racing divisions, the World Finals attracts over 160 of the best drivers in the country, provides exceptional racing from Thursday afternoon to Saturday night, and gives race fans one last “Bang!” before the long offseason. The only downfall here is that such a spectacular event at the end of the season only leaves us wanting more.
Ah yes, the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals has certainly earned its place in our countdown. When this event began 28 years ago, many were skeptical. Now here we are, in 2015, and the Chili Bowl is one of the most anticipated races of the year. Five straight action-packed nights in January…can it get any better? This past edition featured over 300 cars from most states in America, as well as drivers from England, Australia and New Zealand. Tickets are hard to come by due to the limited seating, but don’t pass them up if you ever get the chance to witness no. 4 on our countdown.
We dedicate the 5th spot on our grid to our friends down under! Affectionately known as “The Classic”, the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic in Warrnambool, AUS plays host to the biggest sprint car race that Australia has to offer. The most recent running of the race at Premier Speedway in the Sungold Statdium was the 43rd edition, paying $30,000 to the winner. Over 100 sprint cars gather together for an action-packed weekend to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
Ranking 6th in the DIRT world is the beloved Super DIRTweek at the New York State Fairgrounds. Catching big block modifieds on the “Monster Mile” is only half the experience as Super DIRTweek also includes a handful of races at other New York venues. A race that’s attraction has been the events off the racing surface may be making strides, as last year’s 200 lap finale resulted in a race-winning pass through the outside lane to claim the $50,000 victory.
Rounding out our top 7 of the DIRT world is the famed National Open at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway. Though car counts have dropped off over the last couple decades, you will not find a better field of 410’s outside of the week at Knoxville. This year’s edition will feature an expanded (and intriguing) 3-day format that will culminate in a 50-lap race paying $50,000 to the winner. Despite the desire to take home the big check, more than money is on the line when the Outlaws visit the Grove as the PA Posse and their devoted followers look to defend their turf against the invaders. This very well may be the strongest rivalry in all of motorsports.