Top 5 Hardest NASCAR Tracks
Any NASCAR driver will tell you the best track is the one you can win at. But where will you find the best racing, the biggest events, and the most exciting fan experience? What are the best race tracks in NASCAR? Find the answers below, as well as more details on the best tracks on the schedule.
What are the most difficult tracks to race in NASCAR?
- Daytona International Speedway
- Talladega Superspeedway
- Bristol Motor Speedway
- Martinsville Speedway
- Darlington Raceway
1. Daytona International Speedway
Built in 1959 by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, is a piece of racing history and host to the Daytona 500, the biggest race of the season. Don’t miss the festivities of Daytona Speedweeks during the week leading up to the race!
The track received a major facelift in 2013, transforming it into a state-of-the-art, modern racing facility. Daytona features a 2.5-mile tri-oval track surface with turns banked at 32 degrees and a design optimized for high-speed excitement. Stick around, and on other weekends, Daytona International Speedway hosts IMSA, SCCA, ARCA, AMA Superbike, and Motocross events.
2. Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega Superspeedway, affectionately called “Dega,” is the original superspeedway and remains the ultimate race track for high-speed NASCAR racing. Opened in 1970 in Lincoln, Alabama, the track owns the records for fastest lap and fastest race in NASCAR history.
Talladega is the largest oval on the schedule, at 2.66 miles in length with a tri-oval configuration. With racing speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, Talladega has been home to some of NASCAR’s most terrifying crashes. Talladega Superspeedway is a must-visit race track for racing fans who love speed and big wrecks.
3. Bristol Motor Speedway
Known as “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” “Thunder Valley,” and “The Last Great Colosseum,” Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, is the best place to see old-school racing the way it was during NASCAR’s golden era. With a traditional half-mile oval configuration, Bristol is the most popular short track on the schedule.
Like some other tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway hosts two NASCAR races per year; one in the spring and one in the fall. However, unlike any other track, Bristol transforms its paved surface into a half-mile dirt track for the spring event, called the Bristol Dirt Race. The heat-based format of the Bristol Dirt Race replicates the short track dirt racing of the early days of NASCAR. Whichever race you attend, Bristol’s compact size means every seat is a good one!
4. Martinsville Speedway
Called “The Paperclip” because of its unique stretched-oval shape featuring tight corners, Martinsville Speedway is the oldest short track in Virginia and another one of NASCAR’s classic race tracks. Built in 1947, Martinsville is a favorite with drivers and fans alike; it has been a mainstay on the NASCAR schedule for more than 70 years running.
Races at Martinsville are steeped in tradition, including the trophy: a towering grandfather clock made by local clock company Ridgeway Clocks, which has become part of NASCAR iconography. Martinsville Speedway is the only remaining NASCAR track with a classic two-pit lane setup. For the maximum old-school racing experience, catch the spring race, which is run at night under the lights, just like your local short track.
5. Darlington Raceway
Another piece of history, Darlington Raceway is called “The Track Too Tough to Tame” because of its abrasive and challenging track surface and irregular oval shape. The track opened in Darlington, South Carolina, in 1950, becoming the first on the NASCAR schedule longer than a mile, at 1.336 miles in length.
Darlington Raceway is distinctive because of its egg-shaped track, which provides different challenges for drivers at each end of the track. Catch the Darlington races on Labor Day weekend and you will see most cars (across all three series) running funky vintage paint schemes for Darlinton’s annual NASCAR throwback weekend.