NASCAR 101: Part 3 – NASCAR Track Types

Tamhas Woods

After getting to grips with the scoring system (and gaining your PhD in Mathematics from Cambridge University!), it is important to learn about the different NASCAR track types.

Certain NASCAR constructors thrive on very specific tracks or surfaces, but there are four main NASCAR track types to look out for on the 2017 calendar.

NASCAR Track Types

NASCAR Track Types across the 2017 calendar


Short tracks offer the smallest margins for error but demand plenty of speed and power. They are, theoretically, the most challenging. Notable short tracks include Bristol, Tennessee, and Ridgeway, Virginia.

The latter is home of Martinsville Speedway, which was once notorious for having two (highly disruptive) pit lanes. To this day, it is unique for having concrete on the turns, instead of asphalt. As a result, Martinsville demands the very best control at corners!

Picture Source: Kivett Productions


Intermediate tracks are around 1.5 miles in length. It is best suited to all-rounders.

Some particularly well-known Intermediate tracks include Concord, North Carolina and Homestead, Miami. As mentioned in part 2, Homestead is the location of the season finale, where a champion is crowned.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Motor Speedway (in Concord) annually hosts the Coca Cola 600. A respected part of the calendar, ts length is unrivalled.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is an intermediate track - one of four NASCAR track types
Picture Source: Hendrick Motorsport


Unsurprisingly, a high top speed and good fuel efficiency is the order of the day. There is a lot of license to roam on these tracks, with some unfancied drivers producing shocks being down the years.

Even to NASCAR novices, Daytona and Indianapolis may ring a few bells.

Superspeedway (Restrictor Plate)

Though Daytona is the ideal locale for an entertaining season opener, it is one of two Superspeedway tracks that falls into the subtype of Restrictor Plate.

For safety reasons, authorities ensure that teams fir restrictor plates to NASCAR vehicles at Daytona and Talladega. Restrictor plates decrease horsepower, and prevent the car from reaching its highest potential speed.

The Daytona 500 contains all the ingredients for a crash-fest, which is part of the spectacle. Cars reach 200mph in a heavily congested field. The cars are very powerful but technologically outdated too. 40 drivers have met their fate on the oval since the first race in 1959.


There are only two road tracks on the NASCAR calendar. They are in Sonoma, California and Watkins Glen, New York. Instead of being oval, the tracks are more like an F1 circuit, with left and right turns.

Part 1: Basics

Part 2: Points System

In Part 4, we look at the key drivers under each constructor. Stay tuned!

Start the discussion

to comment