With so much talk about the upcoming NASCAR races, it’s time for a little education on the special racing tracks you’ll see every week. Today’s NASCAR events take place on high-speed, oval-shaped tracks with turns banked so cars can maintain a higher speed when turning. The higher the degree of banking on a track, the faster cars can push through them to outrun their competition. While today’s races consist of hot engines and even hotter asphalt, the stock car racing tracks of 1949 (the inaugural season) were just plain ol’ dirt (save for the course at Daytona Beach, which was partly paved). Racing on dirt is an entirely different game than asphalt; on dirt, cars slide all over the place, drifting and throwing up a whole bunch of dust. Adding to the treacherous conditions were deep ruts in the road that could cause a car to flip – not exactly a safe hobby.

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As conditions improved and tracks were paved, racing got faster and faster. Darlington is considered to be the first superspeedway, but an even faster track was Daytona International Speedway. Daytona wowed crowds and racers alike during 1959’s Daytona 500 with steep banks and two and a half miles of slick pavement. Daytona was surpassed as the ultimate superspeedway when Talladega was built in 1969, but it’s still considered the premier track of NASCAR.

Check out some more facts about NASCAR‘s tracks:

  • Tracks with ovals more than a mile in length are superspeedways because the cars can reach higher speeds in the straightaways
  • Only three current oval tracks are less than a mile in length
  • Tri-oval tracks have a curved front stretch; quad ovals have four turns
  • Tracks with ovals more than a mile in length are superspeedways because the cars can reach higher speeds in the straightaways
  • Darlington Raceway was the first fully-paved track in NASCAR; it was also the first superspeedway

Interested in tickets for the 2013 NASCAR racing season? Check out SeatGeek for the best deals for your favorite events.

NASCAR Track Specs

Track Location Miles
Atlanta Motorspeedway Georgia 1.54
Auto Club Speedway California 2
Bristol Motor Speedway Tennessee 0.533
Charlotte Motor Speedway North Carolina 1.5
Chicagoland Speedway Illinois 1.5
Darlington Raceway South Carolina 1.366
Daytona International Speedway Florida 1.5
Dover International Speedway Delaware 1
Homestead-Miami Speedway Florida 1.5
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indiana 2.5
Iowa Speedway Iowa 0.875
Kansas Speedway Kansas 1.5
Kentucky Speedway Kentucky 1.5
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Nevada 1.5
Martinsville Speedway Virginia 0.526
Michigan International Speedway Michigan 2
New Hampshire Motor Speedway New Hampshire 1.058
Phoenix International Raceway Arizona 1
Pocono Raceway Pennsylvania 2.5
Road America Wisconsin 4.048
Richmond International Raceway Virginia 0.75
Rockingham Speedway North Carolina 1.017
Sonoma Raceway California 1.99
Talladega Superspeedway Alabama 2.66
Texas Motor Speedway Texas 1.5
Watkins Glen International New York 2.45

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