The 2019 NASCAR season was filled with surprises as the season came to an end and fans found themselves craving more. Some teams and drivers dominated the headlines while others remained under the radar but the one constant was unpredictability.
Although the season was filled with twists and turns, one constant remained, the Stafford Motor Speedway. The small ovals in Stafford, Texas, served as the backdrop for many of this year’s biggest moments. Whether it was Kevin Harvick’s improbable comeback or Kyle Busch’s championship quest, the speedway’s track layout provided the perfect backdrop for all the action.
The question is, how long is Stafford Motor Speedway? The short answer is four turns and 110 yards.
Here’s a detailed look at the layout of this historic 0.385-mile oval:
Starting at the back of the track, we find Turn One. This is the first and only turn on the track, located at the very end of the straightaway. It forms a clockwise loop behind the grandstands. You can see a picture of the first turn here.
Turn Two is the second turn and it begins at the top of the hill. It is a flat corner, meaning that cars coming into this turn must reduce their speed. When a car hits the throttle here, it launches down the backstretch. You can see a picture of Turn Two here.
Turn Three is known as the “English Turn” due to the fact that it resembles the corner at the end of the famous English racing track, Silverstone. It is a left-hand turn that begins at the top of the hill and leads to the first braking area. You can see a picture of the third turn here.
Turn Four is the last of the four turns and it is also the shortest. It’s a tight corner with no real room for error. If a car hits this turn too fast, it will hit the wall hard. The fourth turn is sometimes called “The Wall”, after the famous Berlin Wall, which was built around this corner in the 1960s.
The last car to hit the wall is considered the winner of the race. It’s no wonder why this turn is so dangerous; you need to be very precise when executing this move.
The fact that there are only four turns means that there is not a whole lot of room for error. Even with today’s cars being much more powerful, you still need to be precise. This is one reason why NASCAR has not totally adopted the IndyCar-style of driving. It still clings to some old-school traditions. Some might even say that NASCAR is a little bit safer because of it. It still takes a very specific set of moves to master this unique style of driving.
The Final Stretch
As you approach the finish line, which is located just past the fourteenth pole position, you will find one of the most daunting stretches of road in all of motorsport. There are several options available for drivers to choose from when it comes to how they handle the final lap. Some like to drive as hard as they can and pull away, looking for a gap that they can fill up quickly. Others prefer to pit and come back later, once they have a clear track ahead of them. Still others like to run wide, taking the corner at full speed and hoping for the best. It really depends on the driver and the situation they are in.
In the end, it’s the finish line that matters and it is there, at the end of this long, dark, lonely stretch of road that each and every driver hopes to cross in style. Whether you’re battling for 1st place or sitting in the back trying to make your way to the front, the end is undoubtedly the most daunting part of any motorsport race. You’re coming in to make a stop, but it’s the end of the road and you’ll be faced with making the right decision. Will you push on to the checkered flag or will you settle for second, third or even fourth place?
Stafford Motor Speedway may not be a whole lot of things, but it’s certainly unique. It’s one of the few remaining real asphalt ovals and it still has the ability to thrill fans and excite drivers every time they go there. It might not be the most famous track in NASCAR, but it’s certainly one of the most historic. If you live in or near Stafford, Texas, be sure to make a stop at the track during one of its many racing weeks. You’ll find a completely different experience there than you get anywhere else in NASCAR. For old-school drivers and fans, the nostalgia will be real.