Miller Motorsports Park, west of Salt Lake City, is simply the most complete racing facility in the U.S. -- bar none. Every conceivable detail of infrastructure and organization has been addressed in state-of-the-art fashion -- all from the mind...
Miller Motorsports Park, west of Salt Lake City, is simply the most complete racing facility in the U.S. -- bar none. Every conceivable detail of infrastructure and organization has been addressed in state-of-the-art fashion -- all from the mind of Alan Wilson and the vision of Larry H. Miller.
Wilson's major complaint: "I can't get grass to grow."
The racetrack itself -- in 4.486-mile, long-course configuration for the Grand-Am Sunchaser 1000 this weekend -- is a love-me or hate-me layout. Wilson's signature is flowing as many miles of asphalt into a specified plot of ground as safety and prudence will allow. Barber Motorsports Park, Second Creek, Gingerman and Carolina Motorsports Park are prime examples of Wilson's maximum usage of available land.
Sitting in the MMP Press Box, I can see cars crossing in front of me left-to-right, right-to-left, left-to-right and right-to-left with numerous other comings and goings. For people with short attention spans, this is visual overload. A night race becomes indecipherable.
But what's it like to drive? I don't know, but I did get a look at it Wednesday (Sep 12) from the right seat of Steve Pruitt's Corsa Motorsports Ferrari F430. Granted it was only two laps, starting and ending in pit lane, but I did come away with a distinct impression of what the designer had in mind.
There are two excellent, high-speed approach, out-braking passing opportunities per lap -- Turn 1 (Sunset Bend) and Turn 5 (Black Rock Hairpin). There are three other spots that might encourage low-percentage moves. The good drivers will pass those up and nail the opposition in Turn 1 at the end of the pit straight.
The rest of the lap is made up of a series of low-to-medium speed bends -- some slightly banked, many flat and a few off-camber -- that flow beautifully. A rally driver would take to this track like a duck to water.
The driver who is consistently quick at MMP will have rapidly come to terms with the flow -- then will have mastered the nuances of whole sections, finding the tenth here and tenth there that go to make up a hot lap.
Patience and rhythm interspersed with the occasional dive up the inside will make the winner.
Now I want to drive this joint.
Note: Special to Motorsport.com by Bill King