Santa’s Speedway: Bedazzled Bedazzler
Published on Tue, Dec 22, 2020
By: Brian Kennedy
Irwindale Speedway hosts one of the best lightshows in SoCal, and there’s still a chance for you and your family to enjoy it!
Giant candy cane trees greet you, and nearly an hour later, Santa bids you goodbye (from a safe distance). In between, you’ll have made a dragstrip pass, lapped Irwindale Speedway nearly three times, and seen a spectacular lights display that even includes an enormous Christmas tree in the infield of the track, and what appears to be real snow!
But you can take your SUV (up to eight people enter in one vehicle), because you’re not lapping or dragging at speed. You’re moving along at a steady pace with cars in front of you and behind, and you’ll be perfectly happy at that speed, because everywhere you look, there’s something else to see.
How Irwindale Speedway dreamed up “Santa’s Speedway” is a secret tighter than the exact location of Santa’s Workshop, but when they did, they sure went big. That’s the number one impression visitors to the drive-through attraction get. Every surface, literally every square inch, seems to be covered in lights. And if you think a half-mile track is small, because it might appear so on TV, it’s not when you’re on it—and this attraction uses the dragstrip and infield as part of the show, so the whole thing has a bigness to it that keeps you enthralled.
The highlight for me, and there were a bunch of candidates, was the lighted tunnel you go through as you begin your first lap around the track. If I go into detail about the other things I saw, it’ll spoil it for you, but let me say that I was taking pictures as I went, and I had at least a dozen “wow” moments as I toured.
I even glanced up across the track a couple of times and noticed that the suites at the top of the grandstands had different colored strobes illuminating them. The stands themselves had strings of white lights all down the railings. The cliché that comes to mind is, “They left no stone unturned. You can translate that into, “Some elves—or a whole bunch of them—must have taken months to get this thing together.”
For the race fan, there’s one final grand moment—you drive under the grandstand, and it’s fitted out like Santa’s reindeer barn—Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, the others—they all have stalls there. And in each one is—a genuine NASCAR race car of the type that charges around this track during the season. Only each is itself resplendent with lights.
A couple of words of advice: Go to this even if you can’t get there until after the 25th (which is what some people call “Christmas,” but I call, “the start of Christmas,” because I keep celebrating well into January.) Buy a gift certificate for Christmas and have something to look forward to—you can see this attraction until January 10th.
But if you’re going on a weekend day, note that the lines to get in can get long, and you must have a ticket ahead of time. (Check the website—www.santasspeedway.com—for details.)