NASCAR is a sport with a notorious history, since its first drivers were moonshine bootleggers who got their racing experience by running from the law. What started as a barely-above-the-law venture, to a legend that generates more than $3 billion per year. There are many racetracks in the NASCAR family, but here are five with an interesting story behind them.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is best known as the home of the Indianapolis 500 race, but it also plays host to the Brick Yard 400, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. The Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 take place on a 2.5 mile oval course, while the other races take place on different configurations of track. The Speedway was established in 1909 and it has played in integral role in racing history ever since.
Talladega Super Speedway
The Talladega Super Speedway is located in East Central Alabama and is the largest race track in all of NASCAR. The track is 2.66 miles long and home to races such as the Adams 499 and Amp Energy 500. It has a seating capacity of 143,231 but attendance has been as high as 170,000 because fans are allowed to watch from the infield. NASCAR founder Bill France helped to found this track in the late 1960’s.
The Iowa Speedway is located in Newton, Iowa and has helped to transform a town that was economically devastated when Maytag Appliance closed down their factory there. The track was designed by NASCAR hall-of-gamer Rusty Wallace and purchased by NASCAR in 2013. It is known as the “fastest short track on the planet.” The track itself is 7/8ths of a mile of asphalt, and the speedway boasts 25,000 permanent seats.
The Darlington Raceway hosted its first race on Labor Day weekend in 1950, which was attended by over 25,000 fans. Located outside of Darlington, South Carolina the Raceway features a unique egg-shaped track. When the raceway was being constructed the design had to be changed because the land owner didn’t want his nearby minnow pond to be disturbed. Also known as “the track too tough to tame” Darlington Raceway is home to the Southern 500 race.
Daytona International Speedway
The first Daytona 500 race was held at the Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 1959. The Daytona 500 has been referred to as “the great American race,” and was broadcast by CBS in its entirety for the first time in 1979. This birthed a whole new audience of NASCAR fans, and helped to launch the franchise to success. In 2001 The Daytona 500 was the site of a fatal crash which took racing legend Dale Earnhardt’s life. The track’s infield is home to Lake Lloyd, which also hosts powerboat races. The track was founded by Bill France in 1958.
Sources: indianapolismotorspeedway.com, encyclopediaofalabama.com, iowaspeedway.com, darlingtonraceway.com, sbnation.com, nascar.com