Chris/Terri, I'm curious about how to do track days. I don't have access to a car to track yet, but I'd like to sometime relatively soon. My understanding is that for competent track drivers the open test days are the way to go, they're cheaper if you don't need the training (100-200). If you do need the training, you go to a clinic/raceschool/etc? Is this more or less correct? Also, how much do you budget for a day on the track total?
You'll need (or want) training no matter what. Most tracks won't let you out without experience unless it's a private booking ($$$$$). Most larger tracks around the country range anywhere from $500 up. While others force you to take expensive schools before you can even set foot (or tire) out onto the track. Go to a big name school and pay $2000+ for a few days of instruction. As you can see it varies quite a bit. I don't argue their methods or cost. It's just the way business is run.
We have days here for education & we have days here for more veteran drivers who are looking for open practice; aka test and tune. For our "open lapping days" we have a special @ BeaveRun where you get instruction included for $165. This is the best price around by a long shot. You get around 100 min. of track time. Which is more than enough for the beginner/novice. It's price as such to help the sport grow. As well as gain a strong customer base.
Track day budget can range as different places charge different amounts. It really depends on what you want to do, how long you want to do it, etc. Figure $100-200 a day is an average price. But you can easily surpass that budget.
Give me an idea of what you want to do, etc. I'll give you as must assistance as I can. A little instruction goes a long way. Don't ever pass up the chance to take a class. It's really the best modification you can do to your car.
Typically auto X is a great inexpensive way to get into the sport.