The 10 Most Famous Tracks In NASCAR History

By Brandon Raper

The 10 Most Famous Tracks In NASCAR

Atlanta Motor Speedway
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NASCAR's popularity is rising as fast as it ever has. The innovation of the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format adds playoff pressure, and famous drivers like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are still at the top of their games.

However, that's just part of the equation. These famous tracks weave NASCAR history into its future, and they're just as big an attraction for the fans. Let's take a closer look.

10. Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway
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10. Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway

Darlington is a true piece of NASCAR lore, having hosted its first Southern 500 thanks to the efforts of Bill France, Sr. back in 1950. The track “too tough to tame” is actually an asymmetrical oval, making it even more difficult for teams to get setups that work equally well on both ends. Quite simply, if you don’t like Darlington, you don’t like NASCAR.

9. Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma Raceway NASCAR Sprint Cup
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9. Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma Raceway NASCAR Sprint Cup

Whether you know it as Sonoma, Sears Point, or “Infineon” Raceway, the track in northern California’s mountainous wine country brings the local terrain into play with over 160 feet of elevation changes. Despite some questionable renovations to the track over the years, it’s still one of the most enjoyable courses on the NASCAR schedule, and road courses always keep things close.

8. Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup
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8. Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup

Twice a year, drivers get to take off the restrictor plates and let it all hang out. The next best thing? Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile quad-oval, features pedal to the metal action as NASCAR takes the stage on Labor Day weekend every year. At nearly 55 years old, this old dog still holds its own.

7. Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup
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7. Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup

Say what you will about road course racing, but for all of Sonoma’s “improvements” over the years, Watkins Glen lives on as an old-school, bump and run track. Want to find a way to show your friends that racing isn’t just a bunch of rednecks turning left? Show them the end of a Watkins Glen shootout.

6. Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway Coca-Cola 600
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6. Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte’s schedule proves just how highly NASCAR thinks of the track, as it hosts the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend (following the Indy 500) and the Sprint All-Star Race. It’s also – not coincidentally – the home of NASCAR and several of its teams, making it one of the key attractions in all of racing.

5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indy may be known for the 500, but the open-wheel guys don’t get all the glory. The Speedway has only hosted NASCAR for 20 years, but there’s something about crossing that yard of bricks that gets every driver’s heart beating just a little bit faster. This is heaven for race fans and drivers alike.

4. Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville NASCAR Sprint Cup
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4. Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville NASCAR Sprint Cup

Martinsville Speedway is the oldest track in NASCAR, and you can feel the history at each and every race. It’s actually shorter than Bristol, but its lack of significant banking makes it a unique challenge all its own. The “Paper Clip”, as Martinsville is lovingly known, is a classic piece of old-school racing.

3. Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup
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3. Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup

Welcome to “Thunder Valley”, where one of NASCAR’s shortest tracks is also among its most popular. Think about it – cram 43 of the most powerful cars on the planet onto a half-mile track in a huge bowl. Things are going to get intense. Bristol is unlike any other track on the NASCAR schedule.

2. Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega NASCAR Sprint Cup
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2. Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega NASCAR Sprint Cup

If you’re looking for a pure racing adrenaline rush, look no further than Talladega. Built with the sole intention of being the longest, fastest track in NASCAR, drivers push themselves and their cars to the limit, all hoping to avoid “The Big One”. Speeds of over 200 mph make this a test of character and will.

1. Daytona International

Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup
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1. Daytona International

Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup

Home of NASCAR’s most famous race, the Daytona 500, it just makes sense that Daytona International is the sport’s most famous track. Opened in 1959 by William France, Sr., this 2.5-mile superspeedway is one of the greatest sites in all of motorsports to this day. This is NASCAR's crown jewel, and rightfully so.

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