The Races

The top level of NASCAR, the Sprint Cup Series, holds 36 races a year across the United States, although 18 of them are in the nation’s southeast. The tracks at which these races are held range from tiny half-mile long Martinsville Speedway, to the winding Infineon Raceway at Sonoma California, to the blazing fast 2.66 mile racetrack at Talladega.

NASCAR hosts all of its races at one of four types of tracks. NASCAR holds six races at three different short tracks. These small tracks are less than 1 mile in length. There is always a lot of rubbing and wrecking at these little bullrings–many cars finish the race missing bodywork pieces. NASCAR also hosts two road course races per year. These races are not held on oval shaped tracks. Instead, drivers race on long, winding tracks like those used in Formula 1.

Bristol Motor SpeedwaySonoma Raceway

NASCAR hosts 4 superspeedway races each year, at the famous Daytona and Talladega International Speedways. These races are the fastest on the NASCAR circuit, with drivers routinely reaching speeds of up to 205 mph. Cars on these speedways often ride very close together, in long lines. This process is called drafting, and is done in order to cut down on drag (air resistance), thereby making the cars run much faster.

Daytona International SpeedwayTalladega Racing

The majority of NASCAR races take place on intermediate ovals, which are between 1 and 2 miles in length. These ovals feature fast racing with very few caution flags. Although the quality of intermediate racing has improved in recent years, NASCAR is often criticized for hosting so many races these tracks, as many fans feel the racing can get boring and unexciting.

Texas Motor SpeedwayDarlington Raceway--shaped like a pear

Finally, we have Pocono Raceway, based in Pocono, Pennsylvania. No one really knows how to classify it, because it’s shaped like a triangle.

Pocono Raceway