Amid the echoes of squealing tires and humming engines, the grandstands barely have a moment to enjoy any silence. That's because the facility plays host to big ticket racing events such as O?Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Hollywood Casino Joliet Route 66 Classic, Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series, and the annual Swap Meet. At the Dirt Oval, fans can satisfy their auto-crunching desires with events such as Monster Truck Mayhem and Team Demolition Derby.
Not limited to spectator races, Route 66 Raceway puts fans' racing pedal to the metal at over 40 drag strip events. Test & Tune events allow thrill seekers to burn a little rubber by racing their own vehicles, while Friday Nights at 66 have trained staff teach prospective dragsters the ropes of racing.
Designed to mimic the French palace of Versailles, Rialto Square Theatre's magnificent interior awes showgoers with its gilded opulence. In the regal inner lobby, a 20-foot, 250-light chandelier?dubbed The Duchess?illuminates a circular series of delicate reliefs that depict allegories of man triumphing through labor and scenes from Greek mythology. A scaled-down replica of Paris's Arc de Triomphe leads from the lobby to the rotunda, adding to the space's grandeur and commemorating miniature Napoleon's victory at the adorable Battle of miniature Austerlitz.
In this professionally mentored Teen Driving Academy, developing drivers perform four drills reproducing common road issues, learn the finer points of vehicular dynamics, and study strategies for avoiding problems caused by other drivers. After an 8 a.m. breakfast and classroom time, students pile into the nine Autobahn-provided Mazdas, where they safely practice reflex-testing accident avoidance, wet-weather ABS usage, slalom drills, skid-control exercises, and proper hanging of fuzzy dice in an ornately wheeled, horseless training buggy. Lunch is also included, followed by a second classroom segment and more drills. Beyond highway-hugging safety, teens will also learn the basics of auto maintenance.
Employing a battalion of teachers and other educators, Arrowhead Tutors pairs each student with a thoroughly screened expert to aid them in understanding any subject. The staff at Arrowhead Tutors is ready to coach students on an array of subjects, including foreign languages ($40/hour) and full 12-hour ACT prep packages (a $700 value). Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can also opt for a Try Us package, linking up with a tutor at the cheerful facility before spending three hours immersed in untangling anything from Hamlet to the advanced ciphers used to communicate across playgrounds. In addition to the personal attention, tutees receive an assessment test based on Illinois State standards: 20–30 questions either centered on a single subject or focused comprehensively on grade-level-relevant material. Taking about an hour to complete, the assessment test both illuminates problem areas and sharpens each student’s ability to use No. 2 pencils as makeshift chopsticks.
McBrody's eclectic chefs inscribe menu pages with scrumptious tales of pub cuisine. Appetizers plunge french bread into creamy spinach artichoke dip and lasso herds of spicy buffalo shrimp from the seaweed plains of Atlantis. During the main course, bread embraces tender steak sandwiches or flaky grouper Reubens, while patty melts are held together, like most modern skyscrapers, with gooey cheese. Bacardi cocktails are on hand to lighten eating spirits, while buckets of domestic beer offer an effervescent alternative to celebratory douses in Gatorade.
A driver curls his fingers around the steering wheel, takes a deep breath, and places his foot onto the peddle, bringing a mechanical beast to life. The screech of burning rubber, roar of an 500-horsepower engine, and the silent rush of adrenaline block out the rest of the world, allowing the driver to focus entirely on the run. As he battles the g-force, the realization hits that he has just achieved a lifelong dream: He is a drag racer.
Doug Foley first noticed the lack of a comprehensive drag-racing training center in 1997, and he took it upon himself to fill the void. Along with a team of instructors, Foley lets novices ride shotgun or drive themselves to taste drag racing for the first time. Once the new racers are hooked, a lineup of beginner to advanced classes licenses students for everything from junior dragsters, to door cars and A-fueled dragsters. Through these efforts, Foley and his team ready drivers to compete in professional races and fulfill a dream.