Are all 1.5-mile tracks really the same??

Dale Wilkerson                                        March 2011


During the Sprint Cup race Sunday afternoon, I noticed one of the announcers comparing the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the Atlanta Motor Speedway. I believe the phrase that was used was the Las Vegas is very similar to Atlanta.


Now both tracks are 1.5-miles in length, each facility plays host to the Sprint Cup Series for one race per year, and both speedways are owned by Bruton Smith and his company Speedway Motorsports Inc. After that there are no other comparisons.
So are more people looking at the length of the tracks and saying that all the 1.5-mile tracks are the same? That would be like saying Daytona, Pocono, and Indianapolis are the same because all three measure 2.5 miles in length.


Homestead, Charlotte, Kansas, Chicagoland, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Texas, and Las Vegas all measure up as 1.5 mile speedways, but inside these eight tracks are three designs.
Charlotte was the first double-dog leg track. The front stretch has two bends, which gives fans a better look at the cars. Texas was modeled after Charlotte when it was built in the mid nineties. Atlanta was built as a true oval, but the double dog leg was installed there during a remodeling that took place around the same time Texas was being constructed. And surprise surprise, these three tracks are SMI tracks.
The cookie cutter term was applied to Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway because each track currently looks so much like Charlotte Motor Speedway, but that tag applies even more to Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky and Chicagoland. These tracks have tri-oval shape and the banking at each track is very similar.
Homestead was first designed to be a smaller version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This track has seen two complete makeovers including the current configuration which has this track looking a lot like the original layout of the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Las Vegas and Kentucky are also owned by SMI while Kansas, Chicagoland, and Homestead are owned by the International Speedway Corporation.
No, all 1.5-mile super speedways of NASCAR are not the same. Race fans have their favorites and just like the fans have a choice between Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, and Ford, fans spilt their allegiance when asked which track is their favorite.