When you think of motor racing, the first thing that probably comes to mind is probably not the size of the venue. You might think about the cars and the sound of the engines as they rev up, but mostly you think about the drivers battling it out on the track for position.
But, surprisingly, the size of the track venue is very important when it comes to motor racing. If you’ve ever been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you’ll know that the thing that immediately catches your attention isn’t the cars, it’s the size of the venue. Even when you’re not at the track, you can feel the immensity of the place. It’s just one of the largest stadiums in the world.
So, how big is West Virginia Motor Speedway? Let’s find out together.
The very first West Virginia Motor Speedway was built back in the 1960s and had a grand total of four turns. The grandstands were also very basic and grandstands have certainly evolved a lot since then!
Since then, the track has undergone a few shifts in ownership and name several times, but has always kept the same basic layout. The track currently resides in a fairly new and very modern structure that was built in 2006.
With a capacity of 75,000, West Virginia Motor Speedway is unquestionably one of the largest venues for motor racing in North America. It easily holds its place among the top 30 largest stadiums in the world.
It held its groundbreaking ceremony in November 2013 and was subsequently included on ESPN’s Best Sports Venues list. In addition to the capacity, you should also know that the grandstands can be configured to hold up to 14,000, which gives the track a total capacity of up to 89,000. And in case you were wondering, yes, that is an accurate figure. There are 89,000 seats at this year’s track.
Since 1967, the grandstands at West Virginia Motor Speedway have been connected to the speedway by a monorail. This allows fans to get between the track and the stands quickly and easily. As a result, there are no long lines outside the gates before the start of the respective race. This connects directly to one of the major purposes of the monorail: to make getting to your seat as quick and convenient as possible.
The monorail connects to the West Virginia Power Plant, which is the electrical provider for the entire facility, as well as a Sheetz gas station, which is located directly outside the front gates. In addition, the speedway connects directly to the West Virginia Center for Economic Development’s (WVCED’s) headquarters, which is located in the center of the campus close to the track. In other words, the entire complex is very accessible for everyone.
With a capacity of 75,000, West Virginia Motor Speedway can comfortably hold its place among the top 50 largest stadiums in the world. It’s one of the few venues that can boast an average attendance of over 75,000 per year. However, the track only averages about 48,000 attendees per year due to a variety of factors.
The largest crowd ever to attend a NASCAR race was in 1981 when over 200,000 people showed up to watch the NASCAR Grand National Championship at the Michigan International Speedway. And that’s not even counting the people who attended the celebration party that night! Another interesting fact is that the track has held 19 NASCAR races. The first one was in 1968 and the most recent one was earlier this year on August 3, 2017.
Other than that, the attendance records at West Virginia Motor Speedway are somewhat uninteresting. It doesn’t hold any world records for largest attendance at a sporting event or anything else for that matter. But, considering its size, it’s not hard to believe that it would be in the top 100 largest stadiums in the world.
It’s impossible to predict the future of any sports venue, especially one as large as West Virginia Motor Speedway, but it’s always interesting to ponder on what might happen.
Obviously, the biggest change that could happen is the demolition of the entire facility, which is not outside the realm of possibility. It’s been heavily rumored that the track will be getting a major upgrade in the near future. Plans are currently in the works to add a fourth turn and renovate the entire complex.
Another interesting factor is that the track is currently not accepting any new corporate sponsorships due to the uncertainty of the future. However, it has been updated to include a luxury box office, which opened in June of 2017.
In the near future, West Virginia Motor Speedway will be featuring an exclusive luxury box office, which is open to the public. Located on the ground floor, the box office allows fans to buy luxury boxes for the upcoming NASCAR races. In addition, corporate partnerships are definitely not out of the question. Considering the size of the track, having a major corporate sponsor would be a great opportunity for the facility.
But for now, we’ll have to be content with knowing that West Virginia Motor Speedway is one of the largest stadiums in the world and that it continues to grow in size each and every year.