Exclusive Coverage: 2021 PRI Road Tour
Let’s go racing! PRI’s iconic Road Tour returns for its sophomore season, and this year we’ve unleashed our award-winning content creators on events and race tracks across the US. For this second edition of the Tour, PRI is visiting famed venues like Pikes Peak in Colorado, Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Oswego Speedway on the shores of Lake Ontario, and Crandon International Raceway deep in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. We’ll be on the road for over six months, capturing behind-the-scenes footage and bringing you the untold stories and extraordinary images you won’t see anywhere else. Enjoy this first of a four-part pictorial series—and for all the latest news, images, video, and more from our travels,
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The 2021 PRI Road Tour will take us across the country and behind the scenes to see events large and small like never before. Our team’s first stop was at the famous Race to the Clouds. Officially known as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the 2021 event was its 99th running, trailing only the Indy 500 as America’s second oldest professional racing event. Timed runs for the race start at an altitude of 9,390 feet, in the thin air nearly 1.5 miles above sea level. The course is strewn across 156 turns covering 12.42 miles up America’s Mountain. The finish line is regularly at the 14,115-foot summit, another vertical mile higher than where the green flag dropped, but clouds, snow and ice-covered asphalt near the summit caused race officials to forego the highest three miles of roadway from the 2021 event’s official course.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals
In contrast to the lofty heights of Pikes Peak, where competitors race upwards of two miles above sea level, the 2021 PRI Road Tour’s second stop was absolutely down to Earth…as in, in the dirt for the annual DIRTcar Summer Nationals held at the new Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana. The new track grew out of a partnership between the Marion County Fairgrounds and Indy businessmen Jonathan Byrd and Kevin Garrigus, the promoter and owner, respectively, of the Indianapolis Speedrome. Garrigus and his team transformed the fairground’s old circle track into a premier facility over the winter of 2020 and 2021; the facility first opened its gates to racers and fans for Test and Tune laps in May. During our visit, the 1/4-mile oval hosted two events: the DIRTcar Modified Nationals and the DIRTcar Summer Nationals, a series known across social media as the #HellTour.
To understand racing as an industry, just follow the money. That is, the big money at Eldora Speedway, which in mid-July hosted not one but two of its iconic Kings Royal events. (The 37th annual Kings Royal, originally slated for 2020, was black-flagged by the pandemic.) So, the World of Outlaws series worked with Eldora to hold both editions. And, because Kings Royal events include two feature races, the weekend featured four total events, with a total winner’s purse that exceeded $374,000. Like we said, just follow the money. Today, Eldora regularly hosts dirt late models, modifieds, Eldora Stocks, World of Outlaws sprint cars, USAC National midgets, USAC Silver Crown, and more, and the PRI Road Tour was on hand for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series double-feature event.
As far as we’re concerned there’s only one Rocket man…and it ain’t the piano player. No, ours is the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and six-time pole sitter whose feats have landed him in multiple motorsports halls of fame, including that of the famed Brickyard. So it stands to reason that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum would pay homage to one of its greatest competitors via the “Rocket Rick Mears” exhibit, appropriately on the 30th anniversary of his fourth 500 victory. Also appearing for a limited time is the tribute “Granatelli: Larger Than Life,” which features Andy Granatelli’s family story along with several STP-clad Indy cars. While there, we also got a gander at the Museum’s Restoration Department, whose four full-time employees and one full-time detailer are constantly prepping cars for exhibits and special events—like when the vehicles actually run during Indy 500 pre-race.