Located just 70 miles west of Washington, DC, there’s really no reason the president couldn’t spend a weekend or two Obombing around any of the three road racing circuits located at Summit Point Motorsports Park in wild and wonderful (yes, that’s the state slogan) West Virginia. If Barry H. asked us, we’d suggest he strap Biden in the passenger seat of a FBI cruiser and go for a rip around Shenandoah Circuit, a truly unique 22-turn thrill ride that has enough blind apexes, banked turns, jumps and rapid drops to test Smilin’ Joe’s aging ticker, if not his veneers and hair plugs.
OK, so you’re not likely to run into any White House inhabitants at Summit Point, but if you live your life one tank-slapper at a time, then Shenandoah Circuit is made for you. That’s because this relatively new road course (built in 2004 and designed by Summit Point owner and former Formula Vee world champ Bill Scott) has some wonderfully technical sections to go along with plenty of elevation change and a couple of very unusual features. For starters, there’s the jump when bypassing the Bus Stop on Bridge Straight. Even low-power cars can catch a bit of air here if you’ve got the cajones to leave your foot planted over the crest, and because the road bends to the left a bit just after the jump, the landing can get a bit squirrelly. In a higher-powered car, say like an EVO VIII, some serious airtime can be achieved before you dive down into the track’s other quirky feature: a scaled-down version of the banked concrete Karussell turn at the Nürburgring. The drop down into this steeply banked lefthander fully compresses the suspension on even the most stiffly sprung race car, so expect a rough enough ride that your grip around the steering wheel needs to be Governator firm.
Just a few turns later, there’s the turn 17 and 18 corner complex named Corkscrew, an obvious homage to that famed corner by the same name from Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway. Although Shenandoah’s version isn’t quite as extreme, it’s still a seriously steep joyride down to the long back straight, where Big Bend (turn 19) requires no more than a lift in a powerful car and no lift at all in less powerful machines.
From turn 1 to turn 11 you’re kept very busy behind the wheel, with two distinct esse bend complexes. And as I learned the hard way while competing here back in 2006, turns 6 and 7 should be named Spun Bearing instead of The Hook, given what happened here to the bottom end of my Integra Type-R’s B18C5 engine (baffle those B-series oil pans, kids!).
Whether you’re visiting DC for Sarah Palin’s latest book signing or attending the Appalachian String Band Festival in West Virginia, a detour to Summit Point’s Shenandoah Circuit is well worth the effort. We guarantee it’ll deliver more thrills than canoe ride down the Songer River, and unless you make a wrong turn you’re unlikely to be asked to squeal like a pig.
Summit Point Motorsports Park: Shenandoah Circuit
Location Summit Point, WV
Track Configuration 2.2-mile, 22-turn (10 rights and 12 lefts) road course
Elevation Change 280 feet
Longest Straight 1,900-foot Bridge Straight
Other Facilities 2.0-mile Summit Point Circuit, 1.12-mile Jefferson Circuit, Washington Circuit (1,300-foot long, 300-foot wide), Summit Point Kart, BSR vehicle anti-terrorist and criminal activity training center, Friday at the Track program, Drift Nirvana program, concession stand, OG Racing and campgrounds