10 Longest NASCAR Race Tracks

Before we begin, it is useful to know how NASCAR measures a race track. Officially, they measure track length from the point 15-feet in from the outside wall. This means that at many tracks the drivers are traveling a shorter distance than advertised (but not by much).

Here are the longest NASCAR race tracks.

Denny Hamlin leading the 2008 Aaron's 499 alongside David Stremme.
2008 Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Auburn Pilot/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Talladega is the longest race track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. This 2.66-mile high-banked oval is one of two race tracks on the circuit that requires the use of restrictor plates to keep the speeds under control. Without the plates to limit horsepower, a ​Sprint Cup car could reach speeds here around 235 miles per hour.

Talladega opened in 1969 amid controversy as the drivers boycotted the race because of the extremely high speeds. Even in 1969, qualifying laps were averaging over 199 MPH. More »

The tri-oval after the 2010-2011 repaving
Jeff/Wikimedia Commons/CC By 2.0

Daytona International Speedway is the other race track (along with Talladega) that requires cars to use the horsepower-limiting restrictor plates. As a result, this ​2.5-mile high-banked tri-oval features average speeds much slower than would be otherwise possible.

The qualifying record is over 210 MPH but that was set in 1987, the last year before restrictor plates were mandatory. Since the restrictor plates have been implemented, qualifying speeds have been around 189 MPH. More »

The 2000 United States Grand Prix was the first event at IMS to be held clockwise.
Rdikeman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Tied with Daytona and Pocono at 2.5 miles Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the great icons in all of motorsports.

This track is relatively flat with just 9 degrees of banking in the corners so drivers are on the brakes at the end of the two long straights. This keeps speeds reasonable (the qualifying record is a little over 186 MPH). More »

Victory Lane at Pocono during pre-race ceremonies at the 2005 Pocono 500
Michael Greiner/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

This is the last of the three 2.5 mile tracks. Pocono Raceway bills itself as "The Superspeedway That Drives Like a Road Course." The triangle-shaped track has three different corner lengths and bankings making it very difficult to set up a car and to drive well. Pocono is, in a word, unique.

That unique shape and challenging setup has kept speeds down. While drivers can top out at over 200 MPH at the end of the frontstraight, the qualifying record is just 172.533 MPH. More »

Cars drive through the Esses during the 2014 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
PStark1/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Watkins Glen is the longer of the two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. The "short course" portion of this New York State race track that NASCAR uses measures 2.45 miles.

This is a twisty, challenging road course. The frontstretch is a downhill plunge to a hard right-hander. Shortly after that, the drivers charge uphill through a series of esses and out onto the long backstretch. Drivers have to work hard for every inch of the 2.45-mile laps here. More »

Racing action after a restart at the 2014 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
N8huckins/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Michigan is the older of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup 2.0 mile 'D' shaped ovals. Cale Yarborough won the first Sprint Cup race here in 1969.

Michigan features three different grooves in the corners. Wide and fast this track can make great racing or it can make a good race to nap through. The wide track also keeps the number of cautions down which sometimes allows the leaders to get away from the pack. More »

View of Auto Club Speedway from center of the grandstand.
Lvi45/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

California Speedway was modeled after its Michigan twin. California is also fast and wide but features slightly less banking in the turns with only 14 degrees.

California opened in 1997 and has seen a number of fuel mileage battles as the fast, wide racing surface limits the number of cautions.

By way of comparison between the two two-mile 'D' ovals; California's qualifying record is just a bit over 188 MPH which Michigan's is over 194 MPH. More »

Sonoma Raceway
JGKatz/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Infineon Raceway is the shorter of the two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Originally it measured 2.52 miles but, the track layout has changed over the years. Recent events have been on the modified 1.99-mile winding, hilly road course.

The tight corners and dramatic elevation changes keep the speeds down here. The qualifying record is just over 94 MPH average for one lap. More »

Pre-Race Events at the 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500.
Alex Ford/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Although ninth on this list Atlanta Motor Speedway is the fastest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule. The qualifying record here was set by Geoffrey Bodine at 197.478 MPH.

Originally Atlanta was a 1.5-mile true oval. However, in 1997 the track was flipped and a quad-oval was added to the frontstretch which bumped the official distance up to the current 1.54-mile length. More »

10
of 10

Six Tracks Tied at 1.5 Miles

The IndyCar Series racing at Chicagoland
willowbrookhotels/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Last on our list are the six different tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule that all measure exactly 1.5 miles around. Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway all measure a mile and a half.

More than a quarter of all race tracks on the schedule measure exactly 1.5 miles making this by far the most popular race track size on the circuit.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
McCormick, Steve. "10 Longest NASCAR Race Tracks." ThoughtCo, Aug. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/longest-nascar-race-tracks-2471954. McCormick, Steve. (2017, August 8). 10 Longest NASCAR Race Tracks. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/longest-nascar-race-tracks-2471954 McCormick, Steve. "10 Longest NASCAR Race Tracks." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/longest-nascar-race-tracks-2471954 (accessed November 18, 2017).