Daytona International Speedway is one of the most iconic racing venues in the world, regularly hosting some of the most prestigious races in motorsport – from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24. It is quite an amazing feat for a single stadium – let alone one that is only 5 miles long – to host so many races over the years.
So exactly how long is Daytona International Speedway? Thanks to modern technology we were able to map out the entire track and find the exact length of each and every straight, left and right curve. We then used this information to work out the total length of the track in miles – with a little help from Google Maps.
The Track – Mapped By The Experts
The Daytona International Speedway track is shaped like a sideways ‘J’, with three separate legs. The short track is known as the ‘Short Track’, and is the venue for most of the events during the week. The middle leg is called the ‘International Center’ and connects the short track to the backstretch – where the long track is situated. The long track hosts the big-name events such as the Daytona 500, and is 5 miles longer than the short track. The last and longest leg is called the ‘Outer Loop’, and leads from the backstretch to what is known as the ‘J-turn’ – an extremely tight left-hand turn which begins the back straight. It is here where most of the action in a NASCAR Sprint Cup car race takes place. The turn is also the location where Daytona International Speedway’s famous grandstands are located. After racing down the back straight the driver enters the ‘K-turn’ – a right-hand hairpin turn that leads into the station’s main straightaway. This is where most NASCAR drivers like to launch their cars from as it provides the best overall view of the action.
An amazing thing about the track is that it has never been fully straightened or leveled out. For decades local farmers would regularly work to keep it passable by mowing down the grass and weeds in between the white lines. As a result, the track always seems to have a unique undulating pattern to it.
The track is actually owned by Tony Stewart’s company, Stewart Enterprises. It is one of the handful of NASCAR tracks located in the state of Florida, along with Atlanta, Darlington and Talladega. Stewart’s track record at Daytona International Speedway is phenomenal. Not only has he won 18 times, but he has also set numerous track records there. The most prestigious of these is his average speed of 195.28 mph – eclipsing the previous mark of 193.6 mph held by legends Carroll Shelby and Briggs Cunningham. This incredible speed is just one aspect of Stewart’s dominance at the ‘World Center’, as he also currently holds the all-time record for the most consecutive laps finished – with 694 beginning in 2018.
The History Of The Track
The first NASCAR race was held at Daytona International Speedway in February of 1951. It was an exhibition race to test the new racing surface at the facility. The original track surface was made of natural grass and was designed by Richard Brickner – a prominent sports engineer at the time. Since then the track has gone through several renovations and today it has a special blue paint coating that makes it look like a piece of Swiss cheese. In addition to being the site of some of the most exciting races in motorsport, the track also hosts the Daytona Prototypes, a form of modified racing where production-based vehicles compete on a similar level to regular ‘retro’ racing cars. Due to the unique nature of these ‘Daytona Prototypes’, they don’t actually count toward a driver’s championship as they were not designed to be raced by themselves.
One of the most memorable days at Daytona International Speedway is the annual DAYTONA 500 Festival – a 3-day event that takes place in March. The Festival provides fans with plenty of live music and entertainment along with showcasing some of the biggest names in motorsport. The event is an excellent opportunity for NASCAR fans to connect with their passions, as they get to witness races from the iconic grandstands and take in some incredible live performances by well-known musicians.
If you happen to be in the Daytona area be sure to check out the track before you leave, as it is a must-see for any motorsport fan. You can also take a look at our complete guide to visiting Daytona International Speedway, which includes information on how to get tickets and where to stay.