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Best Motorsports Race (2015)

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NASCAR, V8 Supercars, IndyCar and Formula 1. Rallies, drag racing and hill climbs. The global motorsports calendar is filled with epic, adrenaline-fueled racing events, and USA TODAY 10Best set out on a quest to find the best.

  • Baja 1000

    Baja 1000
    Baja California, Mexico

    The Baja 1000 is a rally race from one end of the California peninsula to the other that changes configurations from year to year. Most of the time, the event consists of a point-to-point race from Ensenada to La Paz, Mexico, but a slightly shorter loop race beginning and ending in Ensenada is also a popular choice by organizers.
    Photo courtesy of Brian Cooper / Flickr

  • Indianapolis 500

    Indianapolis 500
    Indianapolis

    Billed as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indy 500 has been a cornerstone of American sports for over 100 years and serves as one of the biggest races in the world, raking in nearly 300,000 spectators on race day. Average lap speeds of over 220 miles per hour also make this race the fastest circle-track event on our list.
    Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Isle of Man Tourist Trophy

    Isle of Man Tourist Trophy
    Isle of Man

    The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy is the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world and has its roots in street races held on the island since 1904. The race consists of time trials across many different classes of motor bikes on the old narrow twisty streets flanked by stone walls and hay bales, and the makeup of the track itself also makes it the most dangerous event on our list with 245 competitor fatalities since 1907.
    Photo courtesy of Isle of Man TT

  • Night Race at Bristol

    Night Race at Bristol
    Bristol, Tenn.

    Having more in common with a hockey fight than a race, the Night Race at Bristol is no stranger to tossed helmets, flared tempers and more than a few expletives being hurled around. Five hundred laps at the World’s Fastest Half Mile make up this relatively speedy event in late summer, but it doesn’t help mitigate the torn sheet metal and bruised egos at the end of the night.
    Photo courtesy of Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

  • Chili Bowl Nationals

    Chili Bowl Nationals
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Tulsa, Oklahoma two weeks after Christmas may not sound like the best place and time for a race, but the Chili Bowl Nationals fixes this problem by hosting its race indoors at the Tulsa Expo Center. Inside is the quarter mile dirt track where drivers from all disciplines hailing from Australia to Florida duke it out across four days of qualifying races and one A-Main event on the last day to decide the king of dirt for that year.
    Photo courtesy of Buck Monson Photo

  • Rally Finland

    Rally Finland
    Jyväskylä, Finland

    The World Rally Championship’s crown jewel event has been held in one form or another since 1951 and consists of wide gravel surfaces weaving through the central Finnish countryside. The race has always been one of the most difficult on the WRC circuit and as such the race has only been won by non-Finnish and non-Swedish drivers five times. As the old F1 saying goes: If you want to win, hire a Finn.
    Photo courtesy of Sebastien Ogier / © Red Bull Media House

  • 12 Hours of Sebring

    12 Hours of Sebring
    Sebring, Fla.

    Sebring International Raceway was originally an Air Force training base during World War II, but in the post-war years the base was bought from the US government and transformed into the cathedral of American endurance racing that it is today. Sebring hosts a twelve hour event in March that serves as one of the benchmark races to determine who has what it takes to win the championship.
    Photo courtesy of IMSA

  • Singapore Grand Prix

    Singapore Grand Prix
    Singapore

    The small Asian nation of Singapore hosts a race on the streets of Marina Bay under the lights and it is always a show worth watching. Every race on the circuit has had at least one accident that required a safety car and with this event being on the back half of the schedule, driver’s will be willing to take extra chances to stay in the running for the F1 driver’s and constructor’s championships.
    Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Edgar Su

  • Grand Prix of Long Beach

    Grand Prix of Long Beach
    Long Beach, Calif.

    Originally a mainstay of the F1 tour, the Long Beach Grand Prix is now hosted by IndyCar and still remains a race that defines American street circuit racing. Held right next to the harbor, Long Beach is one of the first handful of races in the IndyCar season, but its prestige and winner’s purse is exceeded only by the Indy 500 held in the month of May.
    Photo courtesy of Chris Owens

  • Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

    Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
    Colorado Springs

    The second oldest motor racing event in North America, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been held since 1916 and is a point-to-point race that begins at Mile 7 on the Pikes Peak Highway and ends at the summit after a 12.42 mile course that climbs almost 10,000 vertical feet. The track was once a mix of gravel and paved sections, but is now fully paved and Sébastien Loeb holds the course record at just a tick under eight minutes and fourteen seconds.
    Photo courtesy of Rob Miskowitch

We asked a panel of motorsports gurus to nominate 20 epic races, then we asked our readers to vote for their favorite. After four weeks of voting, the results are in and we have a winner.

In first place by a sizable margin is the Baja 1000, an epic off-road rally race from one end of the California peninsula to the other. Racers participating in this SCORE Championship Desert Racing Series event can choose their own vehicle, including custom fabrications made for the race.

Runner-up for 'Best Motorsports Race' is an American classic: the Indy 500. The self-proclaimed "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" sees crowds of nearly 300,000 spectators on race day.

The top 10 winners in the category 'Best Motorsports Race' are as follows:

  1. Baja 1000
  2. Indianapolis 500
  3. Isle of Man Tourist Trophy
  4. Night Race at Bristol
  5. Chili Bowl Nationals
  6. Rally Finland
  7. 12 Hours of Sebring
  8. Singapore Grand Prix
  9. Grand Prix of Long Beach
  10. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jeff Gluck and Brant James cover motorsports for USA TODAY, while Matthew Henson serves as 10Best's very own racing expert.

Additional nominees for 'Best Motorsports Race' included 24 Hours Nürburgring, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Bathurst 1000, Coca-Cola 600, Dakar Rally, Daytona 500, Italian Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix and the NHRA Winternationals.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

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