Track Maps of the Past: Paramount Ranch
Usually in our ‘Track Maps of the Past’ series I try to feature beautifully rendered maps from historic racing programs. There’s always a lot to choose from, as the hand illustrated track maps of the age before satellite views tend to just have more soul than the long-on-accuracy-short-on-spirit CAD rendered maps of today. It isn’t the illustration of this track at Paramount Ranch, though, that drew me in. It isn’t amazingly well rendered or beautiful. It’s is fairly ordinary in its execution and presentation. What it does have though, is the benefit of a marvelous feature of the Paramount Ranch race track: it has a tunnel.
There’s something magical about a track that loops back in on itself, tucking under competitors and passing, figure-8 style, beneath the action above. It recalls the classic Monza, with a tunnel under one end of the banked oval. I can understand why this once enduring track feature went away. It is not, after all, easy to blend run-off areas and kitty litter with bridge abutments. But damn if it isn’t just cool. There is — and I’m talking to the track designers out there when I say this — a reason why almost every slot car track you can find on toy store shelves has a crossover. It’s just cooler that way.