When you visit the Finger Lakes there is a gamut of activities to partake in. Whether you set out to discover our region’s wineries, outdoor recreation, scenic lakes, or our museums and historic roots, there’s always an adventure to embark on. For visitors who like to put a little speed and friendly competition into their experiences, there is the thrill and excitement of the race. From horse races to NASCAR and go-kart racing, you’ll find the tracks and speedways are here for your fun.
Finger Lakes Gaming & Resort
Care to make a wager? Then head to the races at Farmington’s Finger Lakes Gaming & Resort where Thoroughbred horse races take place daily. With roughly 145 race days during the season, which typically spans from April through November, the resort has hosted more than 62,000 horse races since it opened in 1962. The racetrack is open all year round, and even in the off-season simulcasts races from around the country. When you’re not watching with baited breath to see which horse will emerge the victor, the racetrack is also host to more than 1,100 gaming machines, an award-winning restaurant, and a hopping nightlife in the bar and lounge where you can relax after a day of heart-pumping fun.
Formerly known as the Black Rock Speedway, the Outlaw Speedway in Dundee is located only 12 miles north of Watkins Glen and offers a chance to watch racecar drivers speed around a dirt track. Dirt tracks are not readily common in the area so watch the dust fly with the thrill and excitement of off road racing! Racing at Outlaw Speedway takes place on Friday nights from April through October and offers a main spectating area, bleacher-style seating, a grand stand that stays alcohol-free for families, and a clubhouse for those wanting a little V.I.P. treatment. You never know what will happen during these fast-paced racing adventures.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline pumping racing experience of your own, in nearby Finger Lakes-area cities Rochester and Syracuse you can get behind the wheel yourself by being a racecar driver at RPM Raceway. You don’t have to be a pro to get behind the wheel of these electric go-karts, built for safety, and of course, speed. Even children who meet the height requirements can give it a try. Burgeoning speedsters can even sign up for lessons to expand their go-kart racing skills on tracks that were designed to imitate real formula courses. You can complete your action-packed experience in the arcade, where fun can be had by everyone.
Tioga Downs Casino & Resort
Opened in 1974 as a quarter horse racetrack, today Tioga Downs Casino & Resort is home to a 5/8 mile harness track and hosts prestigious races such as the Grand Circuit Tompkins Geers and the $300,000 Cane Pace. The live season runs from May to September, while year-round the resort simulcasts races from around the country. When you’re not watching a race, head to the casino for table games or give one of the 944 slot machines available a spin. You can watch, play, eat, and sleep all in one place and then do it all again.
Watkins Glen International
As New York’s home to NASCAR, Watkins Glen International has some serious cred. The storied racetrack, which opened its doors in 1948, has been host to many historical moments throughout its life, including in 2006, which marked the 20th anniversary of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the Glen; and when Kyle Bush captured the Centurion Boats in 2008, becoming the first driver in NASCAR history to garner three road courses in a single season. There is camping available at the Glen, or glamping for added luxury. For other activities, visit nearby Seneca Lake wineries, and of course, a trip wouldn’t be complete without taking some time to walk the Watkins Glen Gorge Trail.
There is motorsports entertainment to be had at the Weedsport Raceway, which underwent improvements in 2014 and now offers a state-of-the-art facility. The historic track is a 3/8 mile oval dirt racetrack that opened in 1955 and has since been host to races and rock music legends. Located on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, those wanting to stay a spell and catch multiple races can reserve a campsite. You definitely won’t want to miss the special racing events they host throughout the season.
The Finger Lakes region offers everyone, from the racing fanatic to the curious first-timer, a versatile range of options to satisfy their thirst for speed, entertainment and, if in a betting mood, a wager. So get ready for a thrilling ride and discover our region’s many racing options.