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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Why do cars at the Upper Iowa Speedway--like cars at all racetracks--go counter-clockwise?"

Posted: Mon, Jul 8, 2013 8:04 PM
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For once, we might have a topic involving the Upper Iowa Speedway that is non-controversial.  Thomas e-mails Mr. Answer Person.  With all the drama surrounding the races and noise, it got me to thinking, why do races always seem to go left?"

Thank you, Thomas, for this fascinating question.  There are several possible answers--and no one that seems everyone agrees upon.  Some people say races run counterclockwise because in stock cars the driver is on the left and if he loses control and crashes into a wall, the right side of the race car will absorb most of the impact.

yahoo.com raises the most interesting explanation--that you can blame the British!  Or, more accurately, you can thank the American Revolution.  The first oval race track in the United States was built In 1780 in Kentucky by a staunch supporter of the American Revolution.  Because races in England were run clockwise, William Whitley insisted that American races run counterclockwise.  Counterclockwise races were seen as so "American" that when Belmont racetrack in New York ran a clockwise race in 1921, it was accused of being anti-American and went back to counterclockwise races.

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