If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a fan of NASCAR or have at least considered becoming one. One of the sport’s most recognizable tracks is Homestead Miami Speedway, located in Homestead, Florida. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people come together to watch some of the best NASCAR drivers on the circuit battle it out on what is arguably the most famous oval in the country.
Since the track opened in 1996, Homestead Miami Speedway has been on a steady upward trajectory when it comes to attendances and revenues. In fact, the track now boasts an overall attendance average of over 92,000 per year – a testament to the sport’s growing popularity in the area. Additionally, with over 70,000 seating capacities, the track regularly hosts some of the biggest sporting events in the country. From the NASCAR Grand Prix to the Masters, the All-Star Game, and more recently, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Homestead Miami Speedway has established itself as one of the top-tier tracks in the country. In this article, we’ll explore the track’s current standing and its place in motorsport history.
Homestead Miami Speedway opened in April of 1996 and was designed by NASCAR legend Roger Penske, who also helmed a similar track in Los Angeles, California, known as California Speedway. The track’s designers intended for it to be a smaller version of California Speedway, but with a more intimate atmosphere. According to the website of civil engineer and planner Michael Van Der Heyden, “the track was built with an optimal layout for speed and a memorable aesthetic that’s different from other motorsport venues.”
Prior to its opening, several names were tossed around as potential homestead owners. After all, Penske was one of the most famous names in motorsport at the time, having won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, the Daytona 500 in 1973, and the Mexican GP in 1975. At the time, he owned both Michigan and Ontario tracks, in addition to his native Florida track. It was ultimately established that he would own and operate the Homestead Miami Speedway – a track that would go on to become arguably his greatest legacy.
One of the distinguishing features of Homestead Miami Speedway is its design. Although it was modeled after the typical oval track, the designers opted for a triangular shape, which they claim provides optimal speeds and a memorable racing experience.
Indeed, according to the website of Van Der Heyden, who also oversaw the track’s layout, planning, and infrastructure, “the banking and turn structures were specifically designed to work together to create an exhilarating race experience.” Additionally, the site claims the track is “paved with a special mix of asphalt that provides better traction for the cars and better flow for the spectators.” Finally, the designers aimed for a smoother and more comfortable surface, which they feel makes a difference in the overall experience for the drivers and the fans alike.
Attendances And Revenues
Attendances at Homestead Miami Speedway consistently hovers around the 20,000 mark each year, with the 2017 edition attracting an overall crowd of just over 92,000. While that might not seem like a massive audience compared to some of NASCAR’s other tracks, keep in mind that this is a much smaller track. California Speedway, for example, seats nearly 300,000 people and Talladega Superspeedway, the most popular track owned by motor racing powerhouse, Richard Childress, holds a staggering average attendance of over 100,000 per year.
When it comes to revenues, Homestead Miami Speedway is no slouch. The track now boasts an annual operating income of over $70 million, which is largely due to its extensive hospitality operations. Additionally, it is one of the top-tier tracks when it comes to naming rights, with companies like MasterCard and Nationwide Insurance regularly shelling out large sums of money to be associated with the track. Finally, with increased competition from other sports and the emergence of esports as a viable career option for young adults, the track is set to undergo a continual rise in popularity.
That being said, the economic impact the sport has on the local community is undoubtedly huge. In fact, according to research conducted by the Sports Marketing Group, NASCAR’s 25 tracks across the country account for a total economic impact of over $10 billion each year.
Given its size and location, it’s no wonder that Homestead Miami Speedway plays a big role in the local economy. However, the impact it has on the community is far-reaching and extends far beyond the sport itself.
The Evolution Of NASCAR
One of the things that make Homestead Miami Speedway particularly special is the fact that it was built during a time when NASCAR was in the midst of a true evolution. During the 1980s and 1990s, several tracks were built across America. Some were modeled after their native lands, like the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Others were built in the shape of a racetrack, like Talladega and Daytona. Finally, there were tracks built from the ground up, like California and Las Vegas.
Among these, Homestead Miami Speedway stands out as one of the most memorable tracks. Even now, when recalling the early years of the current NASCAR era, fans, drivers, and even some current competitors can still get misty-eyed as they speak of that era.
In many ways, Homestead Miami Speedway epitomizes the golden era of NASCAR. It was a time when the sport was growing in popularity and drawing enormous crowds. Additionally, it was a time when the drivers were heroes, due in large part to the charismatic personalities of Dale Earnhardt and other big names from that era.
It is difficult to put into words the impact these two men had on the sport. Dale Earnhardt was instrumental in popularizing NASCAR in the United States, with his eponymous race in 1993 attracting a record crowd of 171,000 people. Additionally, he would go on to become the all-time winningest driver in the sport’s history, not to mention that he won the championship in an unprecedented nine straight years.
Not only was Earnhardt a legendary driver, but he was also a local hero, named for the county he represented in NASCAR. Similarly, the year that the stadium opened, fellow driver Alan Kulwicki won the championship and became a local legend, too.
These drivers were responsible for establishing the popularity of NASCAR in the ’90s. However, it was not only the drivers who helped make the sport popular during this time. The tracks also evolved to match the growing interest in the sport. Some of the most notable changes included:
- The advent of seat belts and roll cages in vehicles.
- The shift from concrete to asphalt as the primary surface material.
- The increasing number of drivers
- Decreasing number of cautions and average lap speeds.
- Sporting events, particularly NASCAR, expanding their reach to a global audience.
- And last but not least, the increasing entertainment value, as exemplified by tracks like Homestead Miami Speedway.
The result of this combination of factors is that today, Homestead Miami Speedway is a track that evokes the nostalgia of many for the golden era of NASCAR. The triangle shape is reminiscent of the ovals of old. The sight of drivers battling it out for the lead in a scenic and picturesque setting is still very much in the minds of people who grew up watching the sport in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.
Something that might not be apparent is just how much trivia there is about Homestead Miami Speedway. A quick glance at the track’s Wikipedia page will tell you that there is a lot of content about this little gem of a track. If you read further, you’ll find out that the page is fairly well-stocked with tidbits of information, ranging from detailed architectual information to average attendances and revenues over the years. With so much content available on one page, it’s no wonder that people might get a little bit lost when researching details about the track.
Thankfully, we’ve done the research for you. In this article, we’ll tell you about every single thing you need to know about Homestead Miami Speedway, including its layout, capacity, and attendance records. Additionally, we’ve provided a full timeline of the track’s history, from its inception to the present day. At the end of the article, you’ll find a small selection of images that span the entire history of the track, from its original construction to present day. This should make it easier for you to find any details you might be looking for regarding Homestead Miami Speedway.