About Nelson Ledges

Nelson Ledges is a 2-mile 7-turn track located in northern Ohio. This is the definition of a "club track" - the track is supported by SCCA-type racing weekends and the facilities are oriented solely around these types of events. The pavement on the track is old and worn, there is a notorious pothole near the end of the carousel (just above the "t" in the picture top the right) followed by a long slick spot, and the spongy pavement in the hot pits is old and gasoline-soaked. When I first got involved with the track, event timing was run out of a trailer that somebody had donated. Later, thanks to the publicity this event brought the track, a regular timing tower was built. Nevertheless, everyone loved the place and there is something very basic and real about a weekend at Nelson that made it all worthwhile.

At the '82 Longest Day, I remember seeing the Car & Driver team outside of their motorhome - immediately recognizing most of their faces. I admit I did some starring at all the C&D "celebrities" - Jean, Csaba, Brock, et al. I'd already been reading C&D since the early 70s, so I was very familiar with all of the personalities and I couldn't wait to see how their team did in the race. R&T, by contrast, was  nowhere to be seen and was probably holed up in the only hotel for many miles, listening to classical music and sampling the local cuisine.

At the same event, on the opposite side of the road from the C&D area, another motorhome was conspicuously parked and was full of men wearing thongs, who had built a plywood viewing platform atop their motorhome. Is it Ohio, the track, or ?

There must be something in the air at Nelson Ledges. Strange, and out of place. At the '83 Longest Day, this irritating "wake up" call was parading around the track:

I drove at Nelson myself many times in the 80s; the first track event I ever drove in was a Corvette Club of Cleveland event in, I believe, May 1980. The last event was in the fall of 1986 during an enormous rainfall. I had an bad off-road experience in the rainstorm (thanks to the slick carousel) and while I did drive right back onto the track the event organizers had already decided to call the weekend off due to the weather.

At the time I was frequenting Nelson Ledges, there wasn't much available in the way of motels or hotels. Essentially, it was camping or nothing.

One nice aspect about race tracks in the northeast (ignoring the fact that they are only viable for half the year) is that camping is not only encouraged, it's the norm. A large area in the inside area of the track was available for camping. The infield consisted of a number of roads, with camping along the side. Toilet facilities were beyond poor, and the latrines were infamous. After a long weekend, you could probably smell these all the way to the state line.. by half-way thru the weekend they were well beyond their "design specifications" (and said design was probably taken from a summer kids camp). There weren't any showers either, so it's a stinky weekend. But, that's the way it works at the majority of small "club"  tracks. It's part of the hobby.