Drive Goes To Willow Springs To Learn About The History Of The Track: Video
...and test out the Dodge Challenger Hellcatby Kirby Garlitos, on
Willow Springs International Raceway is considered the most important race track in Southern California. It’s not the newest track, nor is it the biggest, but it does carry with it that old-school nostalgia that these modern tracks don’t have. In this episode of Drive, host Mike Spinelli is doing double duty as he takes the Dodge Challenger Hellcat out for some track day fun around the track. But while he tries to navigate the admittedly tricky Challenger Hellcat, he also tells the story of how Willow Springs came to be.
With that, he gets help from Christian Huth, the current manager of the race track and the grandson of the colorful character who founded the track. For those who don’t know, that man was Bill Huth, considered by many as a true motorsports visionary who successfully turned what was once just a dirt road into what many believe is one of the most famous tracks in the state, let alone the most important one from a historical perspective.
The elder Huth died in May 2015 from complications related to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). But as his grand son describes him, Bill Huth was a larger than life individual who took great pleasure in leaving a mark on anybody he came across with, even those he purposely tried to rip off. It’s a fascinating story of how the Willow Springs International Raceway came to be.
Oh, and just in case I forget, Spinelli’s still in the episode doing some mad runs on the Challenger, all while trying to properly describe the feeling of trying to coral that 707-horsepower muscle car in a track as tricky as Willow Springs. Easier said than done, right Mike?