If you’re from Michigan and you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how big is Michigan International Speedway? What’s the deal with that Ann Arbor racetrack? Is it really as big as people say it is? Who cares about auto racing anyway, right? Let’s find out!
For starters, let’s settle on the definition of ‘big’ and ‘small’ in this case. The dimensions that matter are:
- The length of the track:
- The track width:
- The height of the grandstands:
- The area that the track occupies
Now, a few definitions. A ‘lap’ is a single circuit around the track. A ‘mile’ is one thousand (1,000) laps. A ‘straight’ is one thousand (1,000) miles. A ‘gainer’ is one (1) lap in the opposite direction from which you came. A ‘flagman’ is the person who waves the green flag to start the race and who usually walks around the track with a red flag to bring it to a complete stop at the end. A ‘checkered flag’ is shown to signify the end of the race.
So, here’s how big is Michigan International Speedway:
- The track length:
- A little over a mile (0.9 km)
- The track width:
- Narrow (0.9 km)
- The height of the grandstands:
- Around ten feet (3.0 m)
- The area that the track occupies:
- About a twenty-two (22) acre (9.3 ha) rectangle
And here’s the skinny: Michigan International Speedway is 1.609 miles (2.5 km) long. That’s the total length of the track. It measures 0.9 km (0.6 mi) around the inside, which is a very short, flat 0.9 km (0.6 mi) part of the track. The rest of its length is on the outside, which is a bit more than 2.0 km (1.3 mi). That tracks width makes it one of the widest racing tracks in the world. Think of it as a giant quarter circle. The inside of the track is also very narrow, just 100 feet (30.5 m) wide. The track is banked (curves in the roadbed) on both sides. This makes for exciting speeds and a lot of passing. The track is so smooth that cars can reach 160 miles per hour (256 km/h). There’s an asphalt ‘oval’ in the middle of the track. The infield is surrounded by a very tall wall that separates it from the track. This ensures that people in the stands have a great view of the action.
Let’s examine the figures for a minute. First off, the length is very close to a mile. That makes it around 1.6 miles (2.5 km) long. As we said, the whole track is 1.609 miles (2.5 km) long. The straight is the same length, but it extends from the start to the finish line. So, the distance between the two does not add up to 2.609 miles (4.0 km), which would be the case if the track were a circle. This is why we have the oval. To recap, at 1.609 miles (2.5 km) long, the track is very close to being a mile. So is the breadth, at 934 feet (282 m), which makes it a bit less than a mile across. The height of the grandstands is 10 feet, just like at the top of this page. So is the area that the track occupies. This is a bit smaller than people think because the wall that surrounds the infield adds some length. Otherwise, this would be a perfect rectangle. Last but not least, let’s have a look at the cars. We mentioned them a bit earlier in the article. The cars at Michigan International Speedway are the same as any other race track. There are midgets, funny cars, muscle cars, and what have you. The biggest difference is that the cars are really, really small. They’re like driving on a pebble park track. The biggest cars would fit comfortably in the infield at an NCC race track. In fact, one could even sit in the cockpit of a typical NASCAR vehicle and feel right at home.
So, there you have it. If you’re from Michigan and you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how big is that Ann Arbor race track. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not as big as people say it is. It’s actually a fairly small oval. With a capacity of around 73,000, it’s not exactly a house of horrors (for drivers, at least). The cars are also very small. So, if you’re looking for a fix of auto racing, maybe head somewhere else. But, if you’re a hardcore NASCAR fan, you might want to consider staying in Michigan a bit longer. The racing is fun, but it’s not really that big. You’ll get your money’s worth. If we compare the figures for the 2 tracks, we get a clear winner in terms of size. At a quick glance, it seems that the shorter the track, the bigger the crowd. And that’s probably because shorter tracks are generally faster. When a driver passes by quickly, cars seem to stop in their tracks. It’s the same with midgets and sprint cars. These are mainly for kids, but there’s still a large following of fans. When it comes to NASCAR, the shorter the better. It’s no wonder that everyone goes to Las Vegas for the big races. Even if you’re not a big drinker, you’ll have a blast at the gaming tables. This is where the real fun is. You’ll find all races there, except for the Indianapolis 500, which is always held in May. So, if you want to see the most action, head to the Strip in Las Vegas during the summer. Otherwise, stay in Michigan and go to Ann Arbor during the winter for some ice racing. Either way, it’s still a bargain. You’ll have an experience that not many people get to have. And, at the end of the day, that’s what life is all about. Experiences. Never forget that.