NASCAR tracks are not all the same size.Â There are four different categories of tracks used in the NASCAR season: short tracks, intermediate ovals, superspeedways, and road courses.Â Tracks must meet certain length criteria to be placed in a group. Even though two NASCAR tracks might be in the same category, they are still constructed differently. No track is the same. As a result, there is no fixed duration for a lap around a track in NASCAR, as the varying length of tracks results in different lap times.
NASCAR short tracks are not very common asÂ only three short tracks are in the Cup Series. The track must be less than one mile in length to be considered a short track.Â The three Cup Series short tracks are the Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Richmond Raceway.Â At only .526 miles, the Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track in the Cup Series. The Bristol Motor Speedway is .533 miles, and the Richmond Raceway is .75 miles. The NASCAR Cup Series also holds a preseason exhibition event called the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on a quarter-mile short track. In a short track race, the drivers typically maintain speeds between 90 and 120 mph, achieving lap times of between 19 and 25 seconds, depending on the length and configuration of the track.Â The Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway consists of 500 laps, or a total of 263 miles, which takes NASCAR drivers around 3.5 hours to complete.
Traditional NASCAR tracks consist of only left turns since the track is an oval and they drive counterclockwise. In a road course, right turns and left turns are incorporated into the track.Â Road courses are the only tracks in the Cup Series that are not ovals. The courses are typically longer and require different skills because they are winding with many different turns. The NASCAR Cup Series has six road courses on its calendar in 2022.Â These courses are Road America, Watkins Glen International, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Charlotte Roval, Circuit of the Americas, and Sonoma Raceway. On a road course, cars typically cannot go faster than 75 to 85 miles per hour. Road courses consist of many fewer laps due to their increased length, with each lap having multiple turns in either direction. Lap times vary at road courses, in accordance with the different lengths of the tracks. Times range from the one minute and 15 seconds it takes, on average, to complete a lap at Watkins Glen, to the typical two minute and 15 second lap times set at Road America.Â
An intermediate track, also called a speedway, is defined as a track that is one mile or longer, but does not include the Daytona Motor Speedway or the Talladega Speedway because they are in a special category called superspeedways. Most races in the Cup Series are on intermediate-sized tracks. Speeds on an intermediate track top out around 190 miles per hour. Some of the most famous tracks are the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Charlotte Motor Speedway is 1.5 miles long, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is 2.5 miles long. As intermediate tracks vary in length, lap times likewise vary; at an intermediate track, one lap takes anywhere between 40 seconds and one minute to complete. Every course has different degrees of turns that will also determine the maximum speed of the cars.
NASCAR designates two courses as superspeedways: the Talladega Superspeedway and the Daytona Motor Speedway.Â Talladega is 2.66 miles, and Daytona is 2.5 miles long. The Daytona Motor Speedway hosts the Daytona 500 annually, and this race consists of 200 laps, lasting about three hours. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, are also referred to as superspeedways by NASCAR, although they do not receive the official designation. Since these tracks are so large, with long straightaways, drivers often record speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. At superspeedways, the power output of cars is limited in the interest of driver safety by attaching a tapered spacer to the engine. On average, it takes around 45 seconds to complete one lap at the Daytona Motor Speedway and about 55 seconds to make a lap at Talladega Superspeedway.
What Can Impact the Length of a NASCAR Race?
One of the exciting parts of watching a NASCAR race is that you never quite know when or how it will end. There’s no time limit on how long a race can take. That means that some races can take only a few hours, and some can take all day.
There are countless reasons that a NASCAR race can go long. Races can be delayed due to accidents, safety concerns, and weather. Here’s how each of these situations can impact the length of a NASCAR race.
Stock car racing is an aggressive style that often involves pushing and rubbing to gain track position. That physical style of racing often contributes to a high rate of accidents.
After a collision occurs, it’s not unusual for race leaders to force the drivers to slow down or even stop racing while safety crews clear the raceway of debris. If there’s a safety car on the track, the race often slows down, which means laps get finished slower, and the racing time gets extended.
Race leaders may delay or pause a race if there needs to be any repairs or cleanups done on the track. A speedway’s barriers or catch fence can often sustain damage from cars rubbing against it, which must be repaired to maintain safety for all drivers and team members. That means the race is in a pause so crews can work on the track.
Weather can derail a NASCAR Cup Series race. Several races go into delays or postponements for days after starting due to rain. While some motorsport federations race in the rain, NASCAR will not due to safety reasons. After the rain stops, race officials will then dry the track, adding to the time needed to restart the race.
Which NASCAR race is the longest of the season?
There are many races scheduled for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season with 500-mile distances, these races are known to last 3 and-a-half hours, but which NASCAR race is the longest of the season?
The crown goes to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the 1.5-mile (2.42 km) lap sees drivers averaging speeds of up to 150mph, with the total race length from the 2021 race clocking in at an impressive 3 hours, 58 minutes, and 45 seconds.
What is the Average Distance for a NASCAR Race?
One of the unique features of NASCAR is that there’s no mandated track size or distance. Each event has a unique distance, which helps establish the number of laps the cars take around the track.
For example, two 500 mile races happen each year at Talladega Superspeedway, the Geico 500, and the YellaWood 500. NASCAR drivers go around the 2.66-mile track 188 times to complete the 500-mile race during these races.
The NASCAR Cup Series features both oval races and road races on its schedule. Road races tend to be shorter than oval races because it takes the NASCAR cars longer to go around a road course. For example, Toyota/Savemart 350, which takes place in Sonoma, California, is only 218 miles long to account for slower driving on the road course.
How long is a 400 NASCAR race?
How long is a 500 mile NASCAR race?
Atlanta Motor Speedway is 1.5 miles (2.41 km) long and a 400-mile race that requires 260 laps to complete.
How long is a 300 Lap NASCAR race?