Let’s start from the beginning. Imagine you’re driving on a long straightaway in NASCAR. You’re in third gear, and it feels like you’re going quite quick. Your tires are gripping, the temperature is perfect, and the asphalt is smooth as glass. Suddenly, you notice a slight bend in the road ahead of you. You think nothing of it, until you come to a 90-degree turn in the road. Then, all of a sudden, the steering wheel is in the wrong place, and you’re adjusting to make the turn. That’s the kind of situation you can encounter at a NASCAR race track. That’s curve angle.
Now, on to the next question. You’re approaching the turn, and you notice a small sign warning you about curve angle. What does that mean to you?
- The warning sign means there’s a curve ahead—
- You need to watch out for this turn—
- You need to slow down—
You’re probably thinking that a curve is something you need to pay attention to. After all, when you’re driving on a curved road, things feel a little odd. Let me reassure you that curves are nothing to be afraid of. They can be quite entertaining, actually. When you come to a complete stop at a curve, the adrenaline rush is amazing. When you’re approaching a curve at speed, it can feel a little disconcerting. That’s why you need to be careful and mindful of your speed and what’s ahead of you on the road.
The Many Types Of Curves At Daytona
There are many different types of curves at a NASCAR racetrack. You might even say that there are as many different ways to navigate a turn as there are turns at a NASCAR race track. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
- The name is “triple-dog leg,” and it’s a very fast, very long curve with concrete barriers on each side (photo below). You need a full course clearance form to enter this curve. Even if you’re not going fast, this curve is going to slow you down. It takes a lot of steering and patience to navigate this corner. Not for the faint-hearted. When you’re in the right-hand lane, it feels like you’re driving on an expressway. In fact, with zero traffic, you’ll probably get there before you even know what happened. This is one of the most exciting curves at Daytona. It really adds a new dimension to the race. You come around it three, four times during the entire race. It always catches you by surprise because it’s not something you’re used to seeing. It can’t be described in words. You just need to experience it for yourself.
- Another one—
- And another one—
- This next one is called the “dogleg” and it’s also quite long and has concrete walls on both sides. You’re going to travel a lot on this one, but it doesn’t slow you down much because there are no guardrails on either side of the road. This corner is similar to the triple-dog leg, but you have less curves in front of you so you can pull off earlier. In other words, it feels like you’re diving into a pool with no end in sight. You won’t see this one often, either. There are a lot of cars around you, and it’s usually quite chaotic. It can be dangerous, too, so be careful. Also, a good tip for this one is to use cruise control when you approach it. That way, you can remain focused on the road ahead and not worry about your speed (photo below). Once you’re in the curve, it’s all eyes on the road ahead. The excitement of the gamble is what makes it special.
- And this is my personal favorite. The double-apex curve is a bit like the veer rule at an autoracing track. In other words, it requires a certain amount of steering to navigate. Once you’re in the curve and it starts to feel like your wheels are turning in the same direction as your hands, you’re in for a treat. This is one of the most exciting curves at Daytona. You come around it twice during the entire race. The name itself means that it has two peaks (photos below). One of the best things about this corner is that it has no impact on your speed. That’s because there’s no physical barrier between you and the oncoming traffic. In other words, you can’t hit any walls when you enter the curve. The road ahead simply opens up, and that’s what makes it so exciting. When you see other cars swerving and braking to avoid hitting someone, it makes you want to throw it in yourself.
- Now, you’re probably getting the picture. There are lots of curves at a NASCAR race track, and there’s always something new to experience. Also, don’t forget about the kinks. There are kinks (small bumps or hills) all over the place at a NASCAR track. Some are easy to miss while others are quite tricky. You can’t always expect that the road is going to be smooth all the time. Sometimes it can be bumpy, especially in the afternoons when the track is still wet from the morning’s drizzle. Kinks can add a new dimension to any drive. You can take them lightly or you can get stuck in one. It’s all up to you.
As you can see, there are lots of types of curves at a NASCAR racetrack. Many of them can be tricky to maneuver, especially at speed. That’s why it’s always a good idea to slow down and take your time when approaching a curve. It’s also wise to look out for the signs that there are curves ahead. Knowing this information in advance can help you prepare yourself for the inevitable slowdown. Remember: curves are fun, but they are still curves. They can’t be avoided entirely.