We all know the huge impact that NASCAR has, and continues to have, on our country and its fans. But did you know that the sport also has a huge influence on the city where we live? This article is going to take a closer look at how big is Colorado National Speedway, and how the stadium’s size reflects the popularity of NASCAR in the area.
The History Of The Track
The history of the track actually dates back to 1911, when it first opened as a dirt track. It was originally called Union Avenue Speedway, and was located north of Denver in what is now South Denver.
In 1919, the track was paved and became a dirt track again, but this time it was called the National Speedway. It would eventually switch to asphalt and begin using the name National Speedway in 1929. That year, the stadium’s grandstands were expanded to include additional seating and more room for the spectators. A new clubhouse was also built.
The track continued to expand, adding lights in 1935 and a press box in 1940. Unfortunately, World War II ended all construction on the track. It wasn’t until 1947 that the track was reopened and it began holding its first NASCAR race.
The Track Is Big
The Union Avenue National Speedway is a very iconic structure that has been a part of the Denver landscape for over a century. The track itself measures 70 feet wide and 420 feet long, with 25 degree banking in both directions. These numbers might not seem all that impressive until you realize that they put the track’s overall size at over 170,000 square feet. It’s a lot of space.
The grandstands that circle the track are also quite large, and hold up to 36,000 spectators. The structures are made of wood and metal, with a classic red and white color scheme. Each stand is eight stories tall and features terraces, shaded walkways, and sweeping staircases.
When the track was first built, an admission fee of $5 was charged for adults and $2 for children. It wasn’t until the track’s third NASCAR race that ticket prices were raised to $10 and $5, respectively. In 1935, the track also introduced the first $100,000 winner’s bonus. This was followed by a $25,000 advance payment in 1946, and finally a $50,000 advance in 1948.
NASCAR Is HUGE In Colo Springs
Although NASCAR hasn’t always been popular in Colorado, recently the sport has taken off as more and more people have become interested in it. The population of Colorado Springs has more than doubled since 2000, rising from just under 500,000 to almost 1.1 million people today. With more people comes more interest in the products and entertainments that the city offers. One of these products is NASCAR.
It isn’t an accident that NASCAR has become so popular in Colorado Springs and other areas of the state; the sport is a perfect fit for the outdoor lifestyle in the area. The racing is action-packed and there is always the possibility of a late-night/early-morning finish. The tracks are also close to the homes of many fans, so they can easily attend a race and then head home to bed. It’s a win-win situation for NASCAR and Colorado.
The Future Of The Track
The future of the track looks promising, as the stadium’s owners have stated their intentions of expanding the capacity. In 2016, the track’s architects began renovating the stadium, adding a completely new north end zone and other important changes to increase the track’s safety and the fan experience. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, at which point the track will be expanded to nearly 200,000 square feet.
Along with the capacity increase comes a rebranding, with the track’s new nickname being the Summit Speedway. The change was made in order to fit in with the rest of the NASCAR circuits, which are known as Camping World Truck Series, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and Monster Energy NASCAR Xfinity Series.
When you think about it, the number of people who went to see NASCAR in person in 2018 would probably surprise you. The attendance at the Summit Speedway was the highest it’s been in years, largely due to the increased popularity of the sport. If you are a fan of the Camping World Truck Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, or the Monster Energy NASCAR Xfinity Series, then the Summit Speedway is the place for you. The track has also become a mecca for up-and-coming drivers, as it offers a great opportunity for them to showcase their talent and impress sponsors.
This season, the track will hold two events, the season-opener on Friday, April 12 and the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27.