Set in the Mojave desert, the undulating Willow Springs is the oldest permanent road course in North America that has been in constant use.
Set in the Mojave desert, the undulating Willow Springs is the oldest permanent road course in North America that has been in constant use. The challenging 2.5-mile layout has remained unaltered since it was first used on 23 November 1953. It had an oiled dirt surface when NASCAR’s top division visited in November 1955 and 1956, for what were early rounds of the following year’s Grand National campaign. In 1955, the Fords of Chuck Stevenson and Marvin Panch exchanged the lead seven times in front of a 17,000 crowd before Stevenson made his decisive move with 18 laps to go. Panch gained his revenge a year later in the opening race of 1957. Owned by the same family since 1961, Willow Springs International Motorsports Park expanded in the 1980s with the addition of two new road courses and dirt and paved ovals. A popular testing venue for Formula 1 teams prior to the Long Beach Grand Prix, it featured in the Hollywood movies The Love Bug and Ford versus Ferrari (Le Mans 1966).