What once was, is now gone but not forgotten. A new name and a new purpose for the formerly known Meadowdale International Raceway, which is known today as Raceway Woods. Seemingly a racetrack carved through the middle of some hilly woods in Carpentersville, IL.
I have driven past this forest preserve countless times not knowing about the automotive history that comes with the land. The name sounded cool enough; "Raceway Woods", so I put it on my bucket list of place to explore locally.
The day finally came to bust out this spot when my buddy wanted to take some nature pics. After the first preserve was somewhat of a bust, I lead the way to this gem of a spot that I had been holding on to.
When we pulled into the lot of rt 31 and parked. We got out of the car and my buddy said he had heard of this place and explored just a little bit of the area. The area is huge he would say and I replied with let's walk the whole track.
The Meadowdale International Raceway was built in 1958 and was based off European road-racing circuits. The tight corners and little to no run off areas of the track proved to be quite difficult for the amateur drivers of the area to overcome. It really minded of the Gunsai Touge especially areas of the track like the serpetine and len's hairpin.
Well the whole track is three point two seven miles. I'm glad I had my gym shoes on because it was going to be quite the journey. We started off at Greg's Corkscrew and walked straight into the woods following some dirt paths that would eventualy cut us through to the long straight.
The infield of the track now a days is mainly repurposed for hiking and mountain bike trails. This area along the fox river is somewhat hilly. So there are quite a few elevation changes along the course of the raceway. This made the walk more challenging but also made me think of how fun this would be to drive or come back with my mountain bike.
The life span of Meadowdale International only lasted about a decade, 1958 thru 1969. Several major wrecks and a fatality gave the track a reputation as a killer. This plus the lack of commitment to make safety improvements and rough pavement in areas, coupled with the completion of road america; meant that Meadowdale International days were done.
It was abandoned and left alone for decades. To the point that forrest overran the grounds and vandals started to make thr way here. To eventually the city wanting to destroy and get rid of it all. But race fans and history buffs both locally and some from around the world fought to preserve this land.
I'm glad they did save this race track even though we can't drive it anymore. It was to surreal walking the race track. I caught myself closing my eyes and imagining the track when it was alive. Seeing old European cars like Porsche, Austin Healey and even Alfa Romeo racing the all mighty american Chevy Corvette must of been the original import vs domestic war. I encourage all of you to check this place out for yourself.