With hot-lapping or time attack events, the track is a few miles long with many good corners to photograph and lots of runoff space. Car crashes don't usually end up in a photog’s personal space. Covering drift events is a different story. The course is more confined and photographers are often in the thick of the action.
I love Wall Speedway in NJ- it's a helluva place to take photos with a guardrail against the steep bank that has a gravitational pull and exciting corners that allow you to catch the action from pretty much any spot in the bowl.
Always keep your eye on the action. I've seen a car shoot straight towards the media pit and only because these drivers have an insane amount of car control have they kept from taking out a few magazines' worth of photographers.
Road Atlanta is also a good time. GTA and FD events run the same weekend so you're constantly getting chances to photograph the track in different capacities.
The best place at Road Atlanta to shoot the drifting cars is this 8×8 foot wood platform just past a short straight into the first clipping point of the horseshoe. The cars tend to get one wheel off prior to making this transition and directly in front of this wooden platform is a expanse of sand and kitty litter. Shooting here is something like “photo-photo-photo DUCK!” to protect you and the camera from the onslaught of dirt, debris, and rocks launched your way.