Op/Ed: The Top Circle Track Racing Movies To Watch When Quarantined

With the Coronavirus pandemic binge-watching hitting new highs, we decided to help race fans that have already run through the entire Tiger King series on Netflix and all eight seasons of Amazon’s The Ranch TV series.

We searched the entire Internet to find the most-worthy racing films that are suitable for binge-watching during a self-quarantine, social distancing period. We’ve found a full weekend of films readily available, and the specs to help you decide which ones to watch first. We have included the IMDB movie database ratings to seal the deal. Whenever possible, we also added the official movie trailer for each film.

We’ve even separated them into Modern Films, Must See Classics, Non-Dirt Track Movies Every Race Fan Should See, and TV Or Cable Series. 

Be advised, we’ve focused on dirt track racing but have included other forms of racing that meet the criteria of being entertaining. We’d love to hear your feedback on these films, so make sure to leave a comment at the end of this article.

Modern Feature Films:

We Are Dirt (2016) Rated 8.6 of 10

Screenshot from the film We Are Dirt.

Storyline: We Are Dirt is the motorsports documentary for the ages! These dirt track warriors live each day to the fullest and push the limits of both man and machine. The creative visual message about the life of dirt track capture’s the imagination and will set the soul in motion.

Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TP6zG70c0M

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Racing Dreams (2009) Rated 7.0 of 10

Screenshot from the film Racing Dreams.

Storyline: A feature documentary following three young racers as they compete in the World Karting Association’s National Pavement Series. Clocking speeds up to 70 mph, these kids chase the National Championship title and take one step closer toward their dream of someday racing in the big show… NASCAR.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/SrUhCW8luXM

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The Eight (2017) TV Movie. Rated 6.6 of 10

Screenshot from the film The Eight.

Storyline: Follow three late-model drivers as they run ‘The Eight,’ a fast-paced daredevil competition that pits drivers and machines against the figure-eight track.

The film can be viewed on Amazon Prime.

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Alabama Dirt (2017) AKA: Furious In Alabama. Rated 6.1 of 10

Michael Roark, Roger Hewlett, and Madeline Thelton in Alabama Dirt.

Storyline: Ty Hargrove is a young country boy living in poverty with his father at the edge of a clay pit in Bay Minette, Alabama. In spite of his disadvantages, Ty is bull-headed and fighting to succeed and make something of himself. During the week, he’s a manager at his uncle’s telephone-pole plant. On the weekend, he pursues his passion — racing on the dirt track. Ty and his sidekick, Lurvy Wilson, have spent countless hours building their race car in the evenings.

Their dream is to beat the local champion, Snake Turner, and go all the way to the state championship. When Snake’s girlfriend falls for Ty, things get heated. Then, a sudden death in Ty’s family leaves him broken and without a sponsor. With the whole town finally believing in him, Ty finds it hard to believe in himself.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/TsHVIvrRK38

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Six Pack (1982) Rated 6.0 of 10

Screenshot from the movie Six Pack.

Storyline: Stopping briefly in a small Texas town, an itinerant race car driver (the late Kenny Rogers) finds that his stock car, on a trailer behind his motor home, has been quickly and expertly stripped. He chases down the miscreants, who turn out to be six orphan children. He has no recourse to involve the law, for the corrupt local sheriff takes most of the proceeds of their thievery in exchange for not putting them in an orphanage. They are charming rogues, who are in turn charmed by Rogers’ character.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/WXseWz8zZxo

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Champion (2017) Rated 5.9 of 10

Screenshot from the feature film Champion.

Storyline: In the supercharged world of dirt track racing, a single mistake causes the lives of two men to change forever. One must fight for his family, the other must fight to forgive. Dirt track racer, Sean Weathers, takes on a big race at Rome Motor Speedway in Georgia. Though Sean won the Southern Regional Dirt Track Championship the season before, he’s behind in points so far this season. The leader? A young upstart named Ray Reed, who’s come from nowhere to lead the pack.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/tvMR6VfFF5U

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Shifting Gears (2018) 4.9 of 10

Screen capture from the movie Shifting Gears.

Storyline: Tom, an over-worked husband, and father, abandons his dead-end job to follow his dream of owning his own business. The only problem: he invested everything in a mechanic shop that has a lien in favor of his arch-enemy and must now enter a dirt track race to win the prize money and save his family from ruin.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/OsRRPSeM_tM

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Trading Paint (2019) Rated 4.5 of 10

Shania Twain and John Travolta are featured in the movie Trading Paint.

Storyline: Veteran race car driver Sam Munroe and his son, a fellow driver from a small town, overcome family and professional conflicts, balancing competition, ego, resentment, and a racing nemesis to come out stronger on the other side.

The movie has an unrealistic ending with the hero spinning. He gets sent to the rear where he carves through the pack in two laps to win the race.

Our Take: https://www.onedirt.com/news/video-trading-paint-movie-trailer-and-editorial-synopsis/

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/Yy8t2lkn_lE

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Red Dirt Rising (2019) Rated 3.8 of 10

Storyline: Based on the true story of race car driver, Jimmie Lewallen. Set during the 1930s and 1940s, the film portrays the life and times of those involved with stock car racing before NASCAR was a household name.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/zVwmGQ_bAr0

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Gearheads (2017) Rated 3.4 of 10

Storyline: A mysterious mentor helps a conflicted teen overcome his fear of driving to win the race of his life at the local dirt track in Smalltown, USA.

Our take: Karate Kid on wheels.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/X9dx39Mg1E0

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Circle Track Summer (2005) unrated. 

Storyline: The owner of a failing race track seeks to reverse his fortune by holding a series of promotional events where the cars are driven by women in bikinis… backwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNZooMqj-tM

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Must See Classics:

Too Much Speed (1921) Unrated

Story Line: Egotistical race-car driver, Dusty Rhoades, learns that humility pays off even better than acclaim.

No movie trailer. Unknown where it can be viewed.

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Born To Speed (1947) Rated 5.4 of 10

Storyline: Johnny Randall, a young race-car driver, falls in love with Tony Bradley, who hates racing because her brother was killed in a midget car-race (the car size, not the driver-size.) To compound that, his mother also objects because his father was killed while racing in the Indianapolis 500. But he continues racing, even though he narrowly escapes death when a rival, and-jealous racer, schemes to get rid of him. Then, after these narrow escapes, he loses his nerve but enters one last race. Is there a gas station ownership in his future?

No movie trailer available but the full feature is available on Amazon Prime.

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The Big Wheel (1949) Rated 5.6 of 10

Storyline: A brash, young midget-car race driver lives in the shadow of his famous father, a drunken womanizer, who was killed in an accident years earlier. The movie is set in the fictional town of Carrell, California. However, this name is taken from an actual race track, Carrell Speedway in Gardena, California, where some of the racing scenes were filmed. Carrell Speedway existed from 1940 to 1954 on land owned by Judge Frank R. Carrell and predates the more well-remembered Ascot Park, which opened in 1957, several blocks to the south.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/idnTUGgiOjo

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To Please A Lady (1950) Rated 6.2 of 10

Storyline: Mike Brannon is a former war hero turned midget car racer. His ruthless racing tactics have made him successful, but the fans consider him a villain and boo him mercilessly. Independent, beautiful reporter, Regina Forbes, tries to interview him but is put off by his gruff chauvinism. When Brannon’s daredevil tactics cause the death of a fellow driver, he finds himself a pariah in the sport thanks to her articles. When she finds him earning money as a barnstorming daredevil driver hoping for a comeback, they begin to become mutually attracted.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/wrVF_zwzA10

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Thunder In Carolina (1960) Rated 2.7 of 10

Storyline: Professional stock car racer, Mitch Cooper, wrecks his car and hurts his ankle in a brutal smash-up. Mitch takes time-off from racing to teach a cocky, eager-beaver kid, Les York, how to drive well on the track. Mitch also takes a fancy to York’s lovely, no-nonsense wife Rene. This leads to York ditching Mitch as his manager so he can race for some evil jerk millionaire who only cares about winning.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/dcnyuLkAdp4

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Days Of Thunder (1990) Rated 6.0 of 10

Storyline: A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level. Cole Trickle enters the high-pressure world of NASCAR racing. He’s a hot driver with a hot temper, and this attitude gets him into trouble not only with other drivers, but members of his own team as well.

Our Take: Top Gun on wheels.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/AhUhuDW_jOw

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Greased Lightning (1977) Rated 6.3 of 10

Storyline: This is the true story of Wendell Scott, America’s first African American NASCAR driver, once he returns from WWII to find his hometown the way he left it. With seed money for a taxicab business, he learns all the county roads. With his new knowledge, an opportunity presents itself with some steep consequences. After an invitation to the local race track, a race car driver is born. The ethnic boundaries are a part of everyday life in 1950’s Amerca. You become part of his fight for equality, fairness, and the American dream. Featuring Richard Pryor as Wendell Scott.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/19Xc-xbhu_c

Racing Movies (Non-Circle Track) Every Race Fan Should See:

Grand Prix (1966) Rated 7.2 of 10

Storyline: American Grand Prix driver, Pete Aron, is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard. While Stoddard struggles to recover, Aron begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team and becomes romantically involved with Stoddard’s estranged wife.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/ziuLqY6TloM

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Winning (1969) Rated 6.1 of 10

Storyline: Frank Capua is a rising star on the race circuit who dreams of winning the big one — the Indianapolis 500. But to get there, he runs the risk of losing his wife, Elora, to his rival, Luther Erding, and strains the relationship with his stepson.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/QPxZSodp3fc

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Le Mans (1971) Rated 6.8 of 10

Storyline: Almost in the breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the ’70s on the world’s hardest endurance course: LeMans in France. The race occurs over 24 hours on 13.4 kilometers of cordoned country road. Every few hours, the two drivers-per-car alternate — but it’s still a challenge for concentration and material. In the focus is the duel between the German Stahler in a Ferrari 512LM, and the American, Delaney, in Gulf Team Porsche 917. Delaney is under extraordinary pressure because the year before, he caused a severe accident, in which his friend Lisa’s husband was killed.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/228f-dPxI3Q

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Senna (2010) Rated 8.5 of 10

Storyline: The story of the monumental life and tragic death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing Champion, Ayrton Senna. Spanning the decade from his arrival in Formula One in the mid-’80s, the film follows Senna’s struggles, both on track against his nemesis, French World Champion Alain Prost, and off, against the politics which infest the sport. Sublime and spiritual, yet, on occasion, ruthless, Senna conquers and transcends Formula One to become a global superstar. Privately, he is humble — almost shy — and fiercely patriotic, donating millions to his native Brazil and contemplating a life beyond motor-racing. Yet, he is struck down in his prime on the blackest weekend in the history of the sport, watched live on television by 300 million people. Years later, he is revered in Formula One as the greatest motor racing driver of all time — and in Brazil, as a Saint.

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Rush (2013) Rated 8.1 of 10

Storyline: Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy, James Hunt(Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver, Niki Lauda (Bruhl). The story follows their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves, and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become World Champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/lzNbGH1oZJc

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McLaren (2017) Rated 7.3 of 10

Storyline: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/yyMfzi6WRnY

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Racing Through The Forrest (2019) Rated 5.9 of 10

Storyline: The History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races. Inspired by the memoirs of the Del Monte Forest Road Race history, the Pebble Beach Concours and Pebble Beach Company teamed up with K&K Productions. Blending interviews with racers and incredible footage of the events, the film recalls the glories of this forgotten race with a video archive of its history. It’s filled with over 50 interviews of legendary names in road racing, such as Fred Knoop, Mick Marston, Bill Pollack, Jim Hall, and Phil Remington. It chronicles the events from the first through the last Pebble Beach Road Races, which included legends like Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill, and Bill Pollock in 1956.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/uaZE1bxQoxM

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Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019) 8.1 of 10

Storyline: American car designer, Carroll Shelby, and driver, Ken Miles, battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/zyYgDtY2AMY

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The Art Of Racing In The Rain (2019) Rated 7.5 of 10

Storyline: Through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny, golden retriever Enzo learns the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life.

Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/Dp2ufFO4QGg

TV Or Cable Series:

Get Back to Dirt (2005)  AKA: Dirt: A Season Inside The Devil’s Bowl 

Storyline: Five Episodes. Season 1: Cody Daniel, Michael Guenat, Chase Jupe, Anthony Simcik, Andy Roller. The series takes you inside the soul of American auto racing (street stocks) at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas. Racers careen on and off the track toward the championship, which will be decided on the final night of the season.

Available on Amazon Prime.

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Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana (2008) 

Storyline: Auto racing is an obsession in Anderson, Indiana. Even with local auto factories closing down and jobs being lost, the town’s residents continue to flock to the local speedway every Friday night, and its drivers continue to pour their dwindling resources into their Thundercars.

Available on Amazon Prime.

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Pure Stock (2013) 

Storyline: A reality series that follows the racing seasons of Pure Stock car racers at the Grundy County Motor Speedway in Morris, IL, in the heart of the Midwest. Pure Stock, the west division of stock car racing is for the absolute beginner. With a four-cylinder junk car and a few hundred bucks, anyone can drive a race car and win!

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Moonshine and the Dixie Mafia (2014)

Storyline: History of moonshine and stock car racing in the South.

Available on Amazon Prime.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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