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  • Summit Point Raceway

    Summit Point Raceway

    Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia, has three circuits within the facility: the 2.0-mile "Main Circuit," the 1.1-mile "Jefferson Circuit." and the Shenandoah Circuit. The National Capital Chapter holds driving events on all three circuits.

    Main Circuit

    The 2.0-mile Main Circuit has ten turns. The track was partially repaved in 1998, and the remainder was repaved in 1999. Consequently, the adhesion of the pavement varies somewhat as one proceeds around the track. Because the track is in use almost constantly, paint has been applied to the surface at the apexes of several turns to reduce wear. There is a substantial downhill elevation change through Turn 4 ("the chute") to Turn 5, with a progressive rise back through Turn 9.

    Most turns are of constant-radius, although Turns 1 and 6 are of increasing-radius, and Turns 7 and 10 are of decreasing-radius. The main straight is 3000 feet long and terminates in a 180ยก hairpin. Moderate-to-heavy braking is also required for Turn 5, at the bottom of the chute. As a result, this track places one of the highest loads on braking of all of the tracks on the East Coast. Fortunately, the runoff areas after the braking zones are fairly generous, making this a reasonably safe track to learn and practice threshold braking.

    Excluding the long main straight, the remainder of the track packs ten turns in 1.4 miles, making a circuit of similar complexity to the seven-turn, 1.1-mile Jefferson Circuit. However, as most of the turns are of constant-radius (and those that aren't are built on level ground), the Main Circuit is reasonably easy to learn. You will probably pick up 90% of what there is to know about the Main Circuit in a two-day school, although that last 10% could well occupy you for years to come.

    In wet weather, the painted areas drain water differently from the unpainted surface, and one must be very careful to take those changes in adhesion into account. Due to the high use this track receives, a well-worn and fairly "polished" line has appeared in some of the turns; consequently, the ideal "wet line" in these turns is displaced in places from the "dry line." Yet in other places, the dry line works perfectly well in the rain. If you become a good wet-weather driver at Summit Point's Main Circuit, other tracks will seem easy by comparison.

    Jefferson Circuit

    The 1.1-mile Jefferson circuit has seven turns. The track was constructed in 1996, and the pavement is still in excellent condition. There is a substantial elevation change between Turns 1 and 2 (uphill) and between Turns 4 and 5 (downhill). There is also a small rise from Turns 6 to 7 (uphill). However, camber changes on the track surface, changing radii in the turns, and the quick succession of turns make the Jefferson Circuit even more challenging than the Main Circuit.

    The most significant features of this track are that all turns are unconventional and that it is designed to be run in both directions. Each turn is either graded, cambered, or of varying radius, and these characteristics change when the direction is reversed. In the clockwise direction, Turn 7 is increasing-radius downhill off-camber, Turn 5 is decreasing-radius uphill, Turn 4 is decreasing-radius, the esses (Turns 3 and 2) are downhill, and Turn 1 is downhill off-camber. When reversed (counterclockwise), Turns 1 to 3 are uphill, Turn 4 is increasing-radius, Turn 5 is increasing-radius downhill, and Turn 7 is decreasing-radius uphill. As might be expected, the driving line is significantly different, depending on direction, although the overall lap times are remarkably similar. The National Capital Chapter runs the Jefferson Circuit in both directions at two-day drivers' schools (one direction each day).

    For such a short track, it is surprisingly difficult to drive well. There are many camber changes built in to the pavement that are not visually apparent, and many drivers have found that their impression of the "ideal line" changes as they gain more experience with the track. As an example, when running clockwise and entering the right-hand Turn 4 (a decreasing-radius sweeper in this direction), more adhesion is obtained by entering the tightest part of the turn from approximately mid-track, rather than from the conventional left-hand edge, as the pavement cambers away from the turn starting in about the center of the track. Attempting to turn from the conventional entry point, i.e., driving the turn the way it appears visually, will cause substantial understeer.

    The Jefferson Circuit does not host races; it was designed as a "training track" only. Because of the superior pavement condition, wet-track conditions are ideal, with high, uniform grip at all corners, and no displaced "rain line" has developed. Driving the Jefferson Circuit well in the rain is mostly a matter of driving the normal "dry line" smoothly and precisely, with proper respect for the camber changes.

    Despite its short length, the Jefferson Circuit is a very demanding track. Indeed, it is so intense mentally and physically that we run Jefferson Circuit drivers' school sessions slightly shorter than we do at the Main Circuit to alleviate drivers' fatigue. However, it is a rewarding experience, and the opportunity to drive the track in both directions during two-day drivers' schools essentially gives the driver two tracks for the price of one.

    Because of the varied challenges presented by this purpose-built track, your driving skills will build faster and will be honed better than at most other circuits. If you value the challenge of a track that places a premium on driver skill and precision, rather than on high horsepower and a heavy right foot, you will thoroughly enjoy the Jefferson Circuit.

    Shenandoah Circuit

    Stay tuned!!! Information coming soon!!!