Nestled in the rolling hills outside of Monterey, California, there is one of the world's greatest racing venues, a track called Laguna Seca Raceway.

It is a road course that winds through the hilly terrain for 2.238 miles. The facility has no oval course, so NASCAR is mercifully absent. Because of its specialized, elite nature, the course hosts relatively few noise events per year, somewhere around 4 or 5 races.

I have been to the track several times for AMA and Superbike races, and I can confidently say that among the venues I've been to, Laguna Seca is easily the highest-class. It's arguably the only track in the United States capable of hosting a world-class event, such as Grand Prix Motorcycles or World Superbikes, both of which have been held at that track in the past.

Laguna Seca's outstanding feature is the Corkscrew, a wicked off-camber chicane that drops suddenly from the top of a hill, subjecting the racer to a sudden elevation change and two difficult successive turns. Outside the Corkscrew (turns 8 and 8A on the course map) is pretty much the best place for spectating. Unlike an oval track, it's impossible to see all of Laguna Seca at once from the ground, so spectators have to pick what part of the track they're going to watch. I usually wind up on the outside of the Corkscrew, With a good view of turns 8A, 9, and 10.

The surrounding geography is beautiful, the weather during the summer is gorgeous, and the racing is always good.

Thanks to the magic of capitalism, the official term for the track is now "Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca." Nobody aside from broadcasters ever call it that, but you can no longer get, say, a t-shirt that says "Laguna Seca Raceway." Ah, the changing times.

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