Lakeport Speedway Heats Up Lake County Racing Scene

September 9, 2016

No matter what kind of motor racing jumpstarts your engine, you’ll find it about 120 miles north of San Francisco at one of the most fun and raucous racetracks in California.

Lake County’s Lakeport Speedway is known as the “tightest quarter mile on the West Coast,” and it just might be the best for race fans, too. Pulling double-duty with both a paved and a dirt track, Lakeport Speedway hosts just about every kind of motor racing you’ve heard of—plus a few crazy race events you may have never imagined.

Lakeport Speedway is a small-town track with a big-time attitude, and spares you the hours-long lines of traffic you have to endure at other northern California racetracks. Its two tracks of action create a crowd-pleasing, one-of-a-kind environment in today’s motor racing scene.

Located right inside the Lake County Fairgrounds, the tracks treat race fans to monster truck races, mud bogs that race in the mud, dirt bike races, demolition-derby-style jalopy races and even super-powered lawnmower races. Lakeport Speedway’s go-kart races are especially popular (even kids get to compete!), and are where six-time stock-car champ Derek Thorn got his start when he was just 8 years old.

But ask any Lakeport Speedway fan what their favorite race event at the track is, and they’re likely to tell you it’s boat racing. After all, this is not boat racing on water—it’s boat racing at Lakeport Speedway, which means crazy old junker cars race with boats hitched to the back of them around a soaped-up flat track for a race competition crazier than any demolition derby you’ve ever seen.

Check out this Lakeport Speedway boat race video for a rip-roaring look at outrageous pileups, boats careening into one another, and drivers swerving from the flat track to the dirt track in hilarious attempts to avoid the mayhem.

It’s not all quirky pandemonium at Lakeport Speedway, though, as there is real racing skill on display in some serious motor racing events. Drivers play for keeps in several divisions of the Lakeport Ukiah Challenge, now in its landmark 50th season as a joint venture with the Ukiah Speedway.

These homegrown northern California racers have been competing since the Lakeport Ukiah season began in April, and things are heating up as we head into the home stretch of races. The point situation at the top of the leaderboard is tight, and the races on Saturday, Sept. 17 will be critical in determining the 50th anniversary season champions in each category.

During the Lake County Fair on Sept. 4 and then on Saturday, Oct. 8, the monster trucks, jalopies and fan-favorite boat races will close the Lakeport Speedway season in grand fashion.

Grandstands open at 3:30 p.m. on every race day, with the qualifying heats beginning at 5 p.m. General admission is $12 for adults, but bring the whole family because kids get in for just $6, with additional discounts for students and seniors. Toddlers and infants get in free, and admission rates differ for the Sept. 4 Lake County Fair event.

Race fans should put the pedal to the metal and bring the whole crew to Lake County for the Saturday-night races at Lakeport Speedway. Whether it’s stock cars, monster trucks or boat races, Lakeport Speedway is a great night out for families that race fans young and old just can’t pass by.

You’ll all enjoy yourselves right up to the last checkered flag, and the whole night will feel like a trip to victory lane.

Main image by Russell Bishop