Lange Racing’s Dr. Michael Lange Shares His Favorite Tracks to Drive
As with any career, it’s nice to be able to get away at times and take part in a hobby that is vastly different but just as equally as enjoyable. For Dr. Michael Lange, an Optometrist and owner of Lange Eye Institute in The Villages, Florida, that hobby comes in the form of racing one of his two Dodge Vipers — both of which are sanctioned by the National Auto Sports Association and the Sports Car Club of America. He has traveled all over the United States racing both cars, and has found a few of his favorite tracks to drive, which he shares below.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Any speedway list would be incomplete without mention of one of the most historic speedways in American history. The home of the Indy 500, also known as the “Racing Capital of the World”, this speedway has been a part of American racing since 1909, having previously also hosted the Grand Prix. Since its construction, the speedway has stayed relatively the same at 2.5 miles of track in a rectangular oval shape and boasting permanent seating for over 250,000 spectators. Located just 6 miles outside of Indianapolis, it is easily accessible, and Dr. Michael Lange suggests adding this track to the list of ones to see!
Daytona International Speedway
Opening in 1959, the Daytona International Speedway is home to the Daytona 500, the NASCAR’s (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) most important and coveted 500-mile race, which began the same year the track opened. Construction of the track began in 1957 by the founder of NASCAR, William France Sr., and since has undergone major renovations from repaving, to major changes in spectator seating. Currently, having undergone renovations from 2013–2016, the speedway can hold over 100,000 spectators permanently, with the ability to increase that number to 125,000. Similar to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it has a track of 2.5miles around in a tri-oval fashion.
Virginia International Raceway
Located right near the Virginia-North Carolina border in Alton, Virginia, the Virginia International Raceway was built around the same time as the Daytona International Speedway in 1957 but closed soon after in 1974. After almost 26 years, Dr. Michael Lange states it was reopened in 2000, and currently hosts a variety of racing for both cars and motorbikes, with it being a popular testing site for many NASCAR drivers. It has a total of 3.27 miles of track with 6 different configurations, including one that allows for 2 tracks to run simultaneously.
Circuit of the Americas
Boasting an FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) specified 3.427-mile track, the Circuit of the Americas is located just outside Austin, Texas, and is famous for being the home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix, the only US based F1 race. Along with this, it also hosts a variety of other races including the X Games, MotoGP, and Dr. Michael Lange suggests checking out the special event Tuesday nights that allows visitors to take a go at the track on their bicycles. Being located near the country’s musical capital, it is also occasionally used as an outdoor theatre, the Austin360 Amphitheatre.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Previously known as the Mazda Raceway, it is located just off the Monterey Salinas Highway in California and has a track of 2.238 miles. It was also built in 1957, and on land that once used to be a lake, bringing the name Laguna Seca, meaning dry lagoon in Spanish. The track is famous for its signature turn, the Corkscrew, that is a blind crest that leads to a 3-story drop turn, allowing for both professional and amateur drivers to experience the thrill of the course. The track hosts various events such as the Superbike World Championship and the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Sebring International Raceway
One of the oldest, continually operated racetracks in the United States, Sebring International Raceway is in Highlands County, Florida. Built in 1950, the course runs a 3.74-mile-long track that had its first race on December 31, 1950. Now, over 60 years later, Sebring maintains its place as a top tier race track. Sebring hosts the ‘12 Hours of Sebring’ event every year, a 12-hour long race that is part of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Dr. Michael Lange considers the Sebring International Raceway his home track, having raced it on 24 different occasions.