The old saying, “it’s an ill wind that blows no good,” could be appropriately applied to Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the wake of Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992, South Florida racing promoter Ralph Sanchez began organizing construction of the region’s first major-league motorsports facility as part of the reconstruction of the devastated Homestead community. Ground-breaking took place the following August and in November, 2005, the track’s first event was won by NASCAR’s Dale Jarrett.
Host to the NASCAR season-finale, the 1.5-mile variable-banked Homestead-Miami oval has also been the site of IndyCar races and professional sports car races, the latter utilizing one of the facility’s two r-oval configurations. SCCA amateur races and CSS motorcycle races also take place on the road circuit.
With more than a thousand palm trees and a Caribbean color scheme, the facility projects a South Beach flavor that distinguishes Homestead-Miami from other major race tracks in America. It took a while to get the right combination for the racing surface. In its first iteration, the track had four separate low-banked corners, reminiscent of a mini Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That configuration failed to promote good racing, and unfortunately also provided bad crash angles. Widening the aprons failed to correct either of these problems.
A major reconfiguration of the track during the summer of 1997 brought a more conventional layout – sweeping 180-degree corners at either end of the oval. Close, but still no cigar. But the most recent work on the track, during which the track assumed variable banking – up to 20 degrees in the corners, flattening to 3 degrees on the straightaways – has done the trick. Everyone agrees, at Homestead-Miami, the beauty is now more than skin deep.