With its high-octane races and loyal fan base, NASCAR stands out as one of the world’s most thrilling and beloved sports. But what makes it so exciting and diverse? One of the main factors is the variety of tracks that NASCAR races on.
Short ovals and road courses, dirt and concrete, flat and steep – NASCAR tracks offer different challenges and opportunities for drivers and teams. In this article, I will take you on a tour of some of the most iconic and interesting NASCAR tracks in the U.S. and Canada, and explore their history, facts, and features.
NASCAR tracks are located in various states and provinces across the U.S. and Canada. Some of them are permanent facilities that host other events besides NASCAR races, such as concerts, festivals, or exhibitions. Others are temporary or street circuits that are set up only for certain races, such as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal or the Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
How many NASCAR tracks are there?
The answer also depends on which level of competition you are following. The highest level has 26 race tracks on its schedule, including the Charlotte Roval and Charlotte Motor Speedway oval as two separate tracks.
Additionally, the intermediate level races add one track not on the highest level schedule, with the lowest level adding on an additional three. That means there are 30 total race tracks for the three levels of competition.
However, NASCAR also holds races at 12 other race tracks in the U.S. and Canada that are not part of the three levels of competition, such as Iowa Speedway, Memphis International Raceway, and Evergreen Speedway.
Grassroots auto racing and local talent are showcased on these tracks by local and regional series.
There are 42 NASCAR tracks all together in the U.S. and Canada.
How long are NASCAR tracks?
NASCAR tracks come in different lengths and shapes, ranging from the short NASCAR track like the oval of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 0.25 miles and Bristol Motor Speedway at 0.533 miles, to the longer NASCAR tracks, like the winding road course of Road America at 4.048 miles.
Some of the most common NASCAR track lengths are 1.5 miles and 2.5 miles, which are found in many intermediate ovals and superspeedways, respectively.
For example, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway are all 1.5-miles NASCAR tracks, while Daytona International Speedway and Pocono Raceway, Long Pond are both 2.5-mile NASCAR tracks.
What is the most famous NASCAR track?
The answer may vary depending on who you ask, but some NASCAR tracks stand out for their history, prestige, and popularity.
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida is one of the most legendary tracks in NASCAR. It is also the venue for the Daytona 500, the sport’s most esteemed race. The 2.5-miles tri-oval track has hosted NASCAR races since 1959 when it replaced the beach-road course that was used since 1936.
Daytona Beach, Florida is a renowned track in NASCAR that has hosted some of the most remarkable and thrilling races in the sport’s history. It is also a symbol of American sports and culture.
The oval of Talladega Superspeedway is the fastest and longest track in NASCAR. It has a length of 2.66 miles and is based in Lincoln, Alabama.
It was opened in 1969 under the name of Alabama International Motor Speedway.
Every year, Talladega holds two NASCAR Cup Series races: the GEICO 500 in the spring and the YellaWood 500 in the fall. The latter race is part of the playoffs and often determines which drivers advance to the next round.
Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR track offers excitement, unpredictability, and drama for both drivers and fans.
Watkins Glen International
A third famous NASCAR track is Watkins Glen International, one of the road courses that has also hosted Formula One races. The 3.4-mile track is located in Watkins Glen, New York, and was originally opened in 1956 as a public street course that used local streets.
The race is one of the seven-course races on the Cup Series schedule and showcases the drivers’ skills and versatility.
Watkins Glen International is a famous NASCAR track that offers a different kind of race experience than most ovals.
Other famous NASCAR tracks
Besides the three most famous NASCAR tracks we have discussed, many other tracks have their own charm and significance. Here are some of them:
Road America is one of the road courses, 4 miles in length. It is located in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and is the longest track on the schedule. The track features 14 turns and several elevation changes, making it a challenging and scenic course for drivers and fans.
Sonoma Raceway is a course, 2.5 miles in length, located in Sonoma, California. This NASCAR track has 12 turns and several configurations, but NASCAR uses one that includes a hairpin turn known as “the carousel”. The track is also known for its wine country setting and its environmental initiatives.
A 1.058-mile oval track in Loudon, New Hampshire is the home of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This NASCAR track has low banking turns of 7 degrees and long straightaways, making it a flat and fast track that requires good handling and braking.
That NASCAR track is also known for its lobster trophy and its patriotic displays.
Located in Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol Motor Speedway is a rather short track at 0.533 miles.
Bristol Motor Speedway has high banking turns of 26 to 30 degrees and short straightaways, making it a tight and steep track that makes a close race and frequent contact. This Bristol, Tennessee track is also known for its night races, its coliseum-like atmosphere, and its dirt configuration that was used in Bristol Motor Speedway in 2021.
Located in Concord, North Carolina, Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5 miles quad-oval track.
Charlotte Motor Speedway has moderate banking turns of 24 degrees and a tri-oval shape that creates 18-degree banking on the front stretch. Charlotte Motor Speedway track is also known for its road course configuration that includes part of the oval and an infield section, which is used for the Cup Series race.
A 0.526-mile oval short track in Ridgeway, Virginia is Martinsville Speedway.
Martinsville Speedway track has low banking turns of 12 degrees and short straightaways, making it a flat and narrow track that requires good acceleration and braking. Martinsville Speedway is also known for its grandfather clock trophy, its hot dogs, and its paperclip shape.
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 miles tri-oval track. The track has moderate banking turns of 20 degrees and a tri-oval shape that creates 9-degree banking on the front stretch.
This NASCAR track is also known for its desert setting, its neon lights, and its gambling opportunities.
Located inside the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course is a 2.439-mile course. The track uses part of the oval and an infield section that has 14 turns.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway NASCAR track was originally designed for Formula One races, which were held from 2000 to 2007. The track was modified in 2014 to host IndyCar races, and NASCAR joined the schedule in 2020. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known for its mix of high-speed and technical sections, as well as its iconic location.
A 1.5-mile NASCAR track in Homestead, Florida is Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track has variable banking turns of 18 to 20 degrees and a unique shape that resembles a paperclip. Homestead-Miami Speedway was the site of the season finale for all three national series from 2002 to 2019 and has witnessed many championship battles and celebrations.
These are some of the other noteworthy NASCAR tracks, but there are still more tracks to discover and enjoy. Some of them are Texas Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Los Angeles Coliseum, Nashville Superspeedway, Dover International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR fans can watch three different levels of competition: the highest level, where the most experienced and successful drivers race; the intermediate level, where the rising stars and veterans compete; and the lowest level, where the trucks and newcomers race. Each level has its own unique features, such as the number of races, the rules, and the drivers.
The highest level had 36 races in 2022, while the intermediate level had 33 races and the lowest level had 23 races. That adds up to 92 races in total for the three levels of competition, offering fans a lot of excitement and variety in NASCAR racing throughout the year.
The most recent addition to the NASCAR schedule is Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. This track is one of the road courses, 3.426 miles in length, that saw its first NASCAR Cup Series race on May 23, 2021. Chase Elliott was the winner of that race. COTA also holds races for the o.
From the iconic Daytona Beach, Florida, where NASCAR was born and where the Daytona 500 is held every year, to the scenic Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, that challenges drivers with Road America’s long and winding course, NASCAR offers something for everyone.
Whether you prefer the fast and furious action of dirt oval in Bristol, Tennessee, or the technical and tactical racing of road courses in Sonoma, California, you will find a track that suits your taste.
NASCAR also visits many other places, such as Kansas City, Fort Worth, North Carolina, and Darlington, South Carolina, where fans can enjoy the thrill and excitement of the sport. NASCAR is more than just a sport, it is a culture and a community that connects people from different backgrounds and regions.
If you want to experience the best of NASCAR, you should visit some of these tracks and witness the races live. You will be amazed by the skill and courage of the drivers, the passion and loyalty of the fans, and the history and tradition of the sport. NASCAR is not just a race, it is a spectacle that you will never forget.