One of the things that make NASCAR so interesting is its ability to constantly surprise us. While we knew that drivers would be racing on the various tracks across the country, it is still shocking to see which ones are visited frequently and which are considered ‘outposts’ of sorts.
Each year the caravan of campers heads to what is arguably the most iconic of NASCAR short tracks. While most races are run on superspeedways and NASCAR certainly keeps those interesting, it’s the little road courses that make the sport so unique and appealing.
Here we’re going to take a look at what camping spots were the most popular last year at Kunckey Speedway in Millington, Tennessee. Keep in mind that this is just one of the many NASCAR short tracks, so these figures can vary slightly from track to track.
The Grandstand Was Most Popular
If you’ve ever attended a NASCAR race you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about when we say that the grandstand is one of the most interesting areas of any track. It’s not just that you’re able to get a great spot from which to watch the race, but you’re also able to get a good seat in the grandstand for any other event that may be going on at the same time.
We could sit here all day and discuss how awesome the fan experience is in the grandstand, but that would take us waayyyyy beyond the scope of this article. Let’s get to the crunchy stuff.
Last year at Kunckey Speedway there were 15,094 seats available in the grandstands for the final race of the season. That’s a lot of people interested in football and other forms of entertainment in between races.
The track itself is a 2.95 mile, asphalt oval with just 3 turns. While it may not seem like a lot of road course, considering the surface area it covers, it’s actually quite a lot. It would be easy for the cars to skid out there and for the drivers to lose control. You don’t want to be going into a corner too fast or too slow, either.
The catch is that there’s not a whole lot of room between the seats. For instance, between the apron and the track, there’s a narrow band that’s only 4 feet wide. The trackside camping spots are just as crowded, so make sure that your vehicle can fit comfortably between the white lines or you’ll find yourself in the middle of the pack when it comes to tailgating. Just kidding..
Pocono Was A Close Second
While the grandstand was the most popular area at Kunckey Speedway, it was actually the Pocono campground that came in a close second, just 65 miles down the road. The stands at Pocono are simply incredible with their large size and excellent sightlines, making this one of the best places to catch a NASCAR race. It’s not just the grandstands, either, as much as we’d like to believe that the food and the beer help, the atmosphere at Pocono is what makes it special.
It’s also one of the longer tracks on the schedule, at 7.9 miles. That’s a lot of miles for a short track, especially considering how many corners there are. There’s a lot of fast and furious action at Pocono, keeping fans engaged all race long. The turns are pretty sharp, too, which makes it more interesting for the drivers. You’ll see cars in the air and flipping over, which really adds an extra element of danger to the proceedings.
Even more remarkable is that there are only 16,097 seats available at Pocono. Considering that this is a large stadium, it would make sense that there would be at least 18,000 spots available. The demand for these seats is certainly there as evidenced by the fact that people are camping out for days in hopes of getting a spot. Unfortunately, this is one place on this list where reality meets fantasy and it’s not a pretty sight to see.
Miller Motorsports Park
We’re not done with the superspeedways yet, but it’s time for another one of those ‘road course’ articles, so let’s take a quick detour.
First stop on our tour is Miller Motorsports Park, located in Williamston, North Carolina. The stands at Miller are actually quite small considering the size of the track. There are only 6,000 seats available, which is only about one-third of the size of a football field. It’s one of the weaker tracks on the schedule, with only 20 laps in the longest race and only one bump in the track. It’s also one of the newer tracks, having opened its gates just three years ago.
Even more remarkable is that there are only 12,500 seats available at Miller. Considering that this is a fairly new track, it would make sense that there would be a few kinks to work out. The demand for these seats is certainly there, evidenced by the fact that people are camped out for days in hopes of getting a spot. Unfortunately, this is one place on this list where reality meets fantasy and it’s not a pretty sight to see.
New Hampshire Was Third
Here we come to perhaps the most iconic of all NASCAR short tracks, the Daytona International Speedway. This 2.5 mile, flat oval is the longest of all the tracks on the schedule and is therefore considered the ‘mother’ of all short tracks. The stands at Daytona are simply incredible, with a capacity of 125,000, giving it the title as the most-attended track in the country. It’s not just the capacity either, as the stands pack in to see the NASCAR race. It’s one of the older tracks, having first opened its gates in February of 1959. The only drawback to this track is that it’s pretty damn cold in the summertime, with the temperature rising above 70 degrees only twice during the season.
The most remarkable thing about Daytona is that there are only 12,500 seats available, which is shockingly low. This is a big oval with lots of room. Sure, a lot of those seats are in the bleachers, which are essentially boxes on stilts, but there’s still room for a lot of people. Demand is certainly there, evidenced by the fact that people are camping out for days to get a spot. Unfortunately, this is one place on this list where reality meets fantasy and it’s not a pretty sight to see.
Martinsville Was Fourth
The fourth stop on our short track tour is Martinsville, which is located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. This 1.9 mile oval has 20 degree banking in a couple of spots, making it one of the most dangerous tracks in the country. The stands at Martinsville are quite small as well, holding just 8,900 fans, though those that are there are certainly make the most of it. The fans at Martinsville are quite passionate about their team, going so far as to show up in the wee hours to see their boys go fast.
The most remarkable thing about Martinsville is that there are only 12,000 available seats. This is a smaller track than the others on this list with only three corners and two esses. It doesn’t cover a lot of ground, which is why there are only 12,000 available seats. The demand for these seats is certainly there, evidenced by the fact that people are camping out for days in hopes of getting a spot. Unfortunately, this is one place on this list where reality meets fantasy and it’s not a pretty sight to see.
Texas Was Fifth
Our final stop is of course Texas, which is located in Dallas, Texas. This is the second largest track in the country, after Daytona, having a capacity of 175,000. It’s one of the older tracks on the schedule, having first opened its gates in May of 1961. This may surprise you since Texas is known for its large size, but inside the gates, it’s actually a small track. The stands at Texas are quite small as well, holding only 15,400 fans, though those that are there make the most of it. It’s quite surprising how many fans there are at this track, considering its size. It seems as though everyone in North Texas is either a fan of the Texas Rangers or the Dallas Cowboys. It’s quite the sporting event when the grid lines are drawn and the cars are lined up.