How Big Is Susquehanna Speedway? [Fact Checked!]

It’s almost impossible to put into words how big an impact motorsport has had on this country. For those who grew up in the 80s and 90s, it’s hard to imagine a world without NASCAR. The sport was and still is a huge part of American culture.

What is NASCAR, where did it come from and what makes it so special?

Put simply, NASCAR is an acronym for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. It was founded in 1945 and is one of the most popular sports in America. Its peak year was arguably the 1960s, when an estimated 25 million Americans attended the races. These days, that seems like a distant memory.

Since its inception, NASCAR has grown from local race tracks to become an international sport with hundreds of courses around the world. It continues to grow, with new courses being built in places like China and India. The sport is so popular that in some places, children are taught to drive cars as part of their education.

As for where did NASCAR come from, the first races were held in the early 1900s at electric motor parks called ‘auto roads’ (hence the name ‘NASCAR’). These were basically outdoor speedways built on dirt or asphalt and were solely intended for motorcycle racing. There were no fences, trees or other vegetation around so the riders were essentially taking their lives in their hands.

The first course was probably the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which opened in 1909. The most famous auto road was undoubtedly the Indianapolis 500, which was first raced in 1912. For many years, ‘racing’ was literally all there was in terms of spectator sports in this country, with the Indianapolis 500 and the Kentucky 400 being the only annual sports events that most US citizens would have witnessed. After a few years of stagnation, NASCAR changed the game with the creation of superspeedways, which are essentially large indoor arenas that have several lanes. The superspeedways helped the sport grow and attracted more and more people. It wasn’t long before other forms of motorsport, such as Formula One and IndyCar, adopted the design as well.

Although NASCAR has grown significantly, it still only encompasses a small part of the automobile racing spectrum. The most famous and widely-recognized racing series is the Indianapolis 500, which is run in May and commemorates the original ‘Indianapolis 500.’ The first running of the race was in 1911 and has since gone on to become one of the most popular annual sporting events in the world. The following is a list of some of the other major international and national racing series that NASCAR has spawned:

  • The American Le Mans Series
  • The Canadian Super Series
  • The United Kingdom’s legendary Tour de France automobile race
  • The 24 Heures du Mans, a French endurance race
  • The Japan Automobile Racing Club’s Super Formula
  • The Australian Supercars Championship
  • The FIA World Endurance Championship
  • The Spa 24 Hours
  • The 12 Hours of Sebring
  • The 24 Hours of Daytona
  • The Le Mans 24 Hours
  • The Road America 500
  • The Virginia Motor Speedway
  • The Autobahna Thai Auto Race
  • The ADAC GT Masters
  • The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Tourenwagen Masters)
  • The FIA World Endurance Championship
  • The FIA World Rally Championship
  • The World Touring Car Championship
  • The FIA World Indoor Championships
  • The 24 Hours of Le Mans

While most of these are single-day events, some of them (such as the Le Mans 24 Hours) are multi-day events and can last for several weeks. The Indy 500 is the only one-day event on this list, and it lasts for a little more than a month. The full spectrum of auto racing can be found at online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

It would be impossible to cover every detail about this incredible sport, so here’s a short video from the NASCAR website that provides an overview of the sport:

Why Is NASCAR Popular?

It’s important to point out that while most people know what NASCAR is and where it comes from, not everyone knows why the sport is so popular. The short answer is that it’s incredibly engaging to watch. The competition is close and the crashes are extremely brutal. In most cases, the cars are totally destroyed after hitting the wall. That means everything from the engine to the driver is exposed, increasing the potential for injury. Every year, the ‘injury bug’ seems to hit the sport hard, with fans lamenting the absence of stars such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The excitement of the races cannot be replicated by simply reading about them or watching the highlights on TV. You have to be there to understand what all the shouting and banging on the side of the track is about. The intensity of the competition is certainly one of the reasons why the sport is so appealing, as is the danger involved in some of the events.

Then there’s the whole ‘American-invented!’ thing. The fact that NASCAR was founded by and is named after an American is significant. The United States has always been regarded as the standard bearer of innovation and new technology, with many inventions and concepts being first developed there and then being adapted abroad. Naturally, this is also why many people were baffled and turned off by the ‘polar vortex’ of 2018, as they didn’t understand why the world’s greatest inventors and engineers couldn’t come up with a way to make things easier for them.

Many people also enjoy how corporate America is represented in NASCAR. The sport is primarily funded and owned by large corporations, with the wealthiest being the most successful teams. These teams are often times synonymous with American business and success. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that NASCAR epitomizes the American Dream.

How Big Is Susquehanna Speedway?

As we’ve established, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the most famous of the five speedways that make up ‘The Circle,’ the official name of the site where the Indy 500 takes place. The other four are:

  • Kansas Speedway
  • Texas Motor Speedway
  • Sonoma Race Track
  • Nashville Speedway

These are all very respectable racetracks and some of the most important ones in the country. The following is a list of all the annual sporting events and tournaments that take place at these facilities:

  • The Indy 500
  • The Kentucky 400
  • The Daytona 500
  • The Brickyard 400
  • The Camping World Truck Series’ Championship
  • The ARCA Racing Series
  • The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
  • The NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • The NASCAR Gander Mountain Truck Series
  • The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series
  • The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
  • The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
  • The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
  • The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
  • The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
  • The NASCAR Mexico Series

Some of these series are held at more than one track, with the Indy 500 being the exception. There’s also the Grand Prix of America, an invitational road race that was first held in 1912 and is one of the ‘legends’ of American sports. It was designed to be an Olympics-style competition, with teams of amateurs competing for cash prizes.

What Is The ‘IndyCar’ Series?

If you’re looking for the definitive guide to racing in the United States, then you should probably head over to Wikipedia.org and read up on the IndyCar Series.

The IndyCar Series is the top racing series in the United States and was originally founded in 1990 (though it didn’t become an IndyCar Series race until 1992). The series is named after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and crowns the ‘indycar’ champion each season. The following is a list of some of the other major racing series that the IndyCar Series has spawned:

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