Some sports fans find it too boring to sit and watch cars race around any type of circuit, whether they are F1 or NASCAR. It can seem repetitive and long-winded. But, people should understand that these races exist for a reason.
Official NASCAR Races must have 120 laps (or 300 miles) to be accepted. But, this allows for a lot of flexibility. The longest NASCAR Race is 600 mile, 400 lap Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Bristol Speedway has 250 laps on its just over half-mile track and 133.25 miles of dirt.
In today’s article, we’re taking a closer look at the length of NASCAR races, how each race is structured and the reasons behind it all. Hopefully if you’ve ever thought It was too long for a NASCAR race. This article might help you gain more understanding.
What is the NASCAR Race’s Traditional Length?
Although there are differences in the distance covered, the NASCAR race lasts about three hours and covers 200-250 laps on the circuit. This is often the source of people’s ire when it comes to the length of NASCAR races, because 200 laps sounds astronomical.
It’s crucial to remember, however, that when compared to the intricate circuits of the likes of Formula 1, NASCAR laps can be much shorter than other sports, sometimes taking less than one minute. For the race to be meaningful, it will take more laps.
To be officially recognized as a NASCAR race, it must run at least 120 laps (or 300 miles depending on the place). No race with fewer laps or miles would be considered a “proper” and recognized NASCAR race.
Invariably, the 200 laps or more are divided into stages. Depending on the race, there are usually 3-4 stages. For longer events such as the Coca-Cola 600, the 4-stage race is reserved.
Each stage winner can earn bonus points towards their NASCAR championship status. The first 2 stages of the race will cover at least 120 laps to make the race “official.” Drivers can be penalized by having their laps rescheduled.
These laps will then need to be made up. This is a huge, but exciting problem.
500-Mile NASCAR Races
NASCAR is most famous for its 500-mile races. Of which, there are only 3. These events are considered to be the crown jewels, and they include:
- Daytona 500 – at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
- Coca-Cola 600 – at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
- Southern 500 – at Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC
Both the Daytona 500 race and the Southern 500 race are 500-mile races. The longest NASCAR race, however, is the Coca-Cola 600. While the Coca-Cola 500 is the longest, it’s the Daytona 500 that has pride of place as the real prime jewel in these 3 races.
How long is the Daytona 500 NASCAR Race Race
200 laps are taken around the 2.5-mile trioval course of Daytona 500. The first and second stages have 65 laps each, while the final stage has 70 laps. While it is currently regarded as the most prestigious race in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s actually not the oldest. The race’s first edition was held in 1959, nine years after the 500-mile inaugural race. The Southern 500 dates back to 1950.
Daytona 500 is also renowned for having the largest prize pot. 2021’s total prize money was $23.6million, of which $1.5 to $2 million were each awarded to the winners.. Although specifics are rarely shared, these are best guesses made based on known purse sizes. This race is the largest in the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR Legend Richard Petty has 7 wins at the Daytona 500. Chevrolet holds the record for most manufacturer wins, with 24 wins.
What is the length of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Race?
The Coca-Cola 600 — Originally known as the World 600 — is the longest race not just in total distance, but also in number of laps. It is 1.5 miles in length so it will take you 600 miles to reach the Charlotte Motor Speedway track.The drivers must complete 400 laps. The Coca-Cola 600 is divided in 4 stages with each stage having 100 laps.
This is not only a unique length, Coca-Cola 600 is also renowned for changing driving conditions. It begins at 6:20 p.m. on Memorial Day Weekend. It is still sunny at this time.
A third of the race is gone by this point. The light gradually changes to dusk, then the last third of the night is under the stadium lighting. These drivers are faced with unique challenges because of the changing light conditions. The Indy 500 also has a fascinating connection to this race.
Darrell Waltip is the driver with the most wins (5 wins), while Chevrolet has the most wins (25 wins).
How long is the Indy 500 NASCAR Race Race
Readers might wonder why we haven’t gotten to the Indianapolis 500 yet, but that’s actually because the Indy 500 isn’t a NASCAR race but an IndyCar racing. Still, it’s an older race going all the way back to 1911, and also includes 200 laps of the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It does also have a connection with NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 because it happens on the same day, but earlier on. There are even some drivers who do something called “Double Duty” where they race in both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 races. We have a complete article about Double duty Here
NASACAR races are held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Every year, there is the Brickyard 400.
Shortest NASCAR Races
The NASCAR Cup Series has the NASCAR Cup Series’ most short races at the Bristol Motor Speedway (Tennessee) and Martinsville Speedway (Virginia). They have lap lengths of just 0.526 and 0.53 miles, respectively.
Even with a race of 200 laps, the total mileage is just over 100. These races, which are more common at 250-255 laps, still put them around 134-135 mi.
These races are shorter than the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, and they don’t lack excitement. TBristol Motor Speedway is famous for its 26- to 30-degree banking at the turns, and up to 10 degrees banking on the straight sections.
It may seem short, but it takes a skilled driver who can maintain their composure over 250 laps when there is so much banking.
Martinsville Speedway allows only 12 degrees banking at turns. The straight sections are entirely flat. Drivers must maintain a perfect acceleration in every corner to be able to stay ahead on straight sections.. It is extremely difficult to maintain that pace for more than 250 laps.
NASCAR races can vary in length from 130 miles to 600 miles depending on where they are held. The coca-cola 600 race is the longest, while the Bristol races are the shortest.
Officially, however, the race must run more than 120 laps (or 300 miles) to be considered part of the season.