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NASCAR is the most exciting racing event in the US, and there is always a massive turnout of fans. Even if some people watch all NASCAR races on a screen, they wish to witness some of NASCAR’s biggest races live. While there are a few big races in NASCAR there is one that stands above all the rest. Let’s see what is NASCAR’s biggest race in this article.
NASCAR’s biggest, most famous and most viewed race is the Daytona 500, which occurs annually in February. Other big NASCAR races are Coca-Cola 600 (longest race) and NASCAR Championship Race. These three are the most important and largest NASCAR races.
If you are a NASCAR racing fan you probably know all there is to know about the Daytona 500, so we will try to put some little know, as well as better known facts about the largest race of the season in an infographic below as well.
Every year the fans, from November through December and January, impatiently wait for big NASCAR racing events, which are highly entertaining and enjoyable. NASCAR races especially season openers like the Daytona 500 are the most popular races with the most viewers and the fact that is on a 2.5 mile oval with the ever present threat of the “big one” they keep viewers interested and totally involved in the race from start to end.
We will take a look at this most iconic of races below, we are going to discuss the biggest races in NASCAR:
NASCAR’s Biggest Races: Daytona 500
The biggest and most anticipated event of NASCAR is the Daytona 500, which takes place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida every year. The Daytona 500 was first inaugurated in 1959. It is a 500-mile race which means there are 200 laps in the race because Daytona Speedway is a 2.5-mile track.
The Daytona 500 is the first 500-mile race every year in February. True NASCAR fans wait for Daytona 500 all year, and there is a huge turnout of people. The Daytona 500 has many memories linked to it, both good and bad.
One of the darkest moments in the history of this race was when Dale Earnhardt Sr. crashed his car and eventually died. After this incident, many rules and regulations changed in NASCAR to ensure the maximum safety of the drivers.
On the other hand, if we look at the good parts of the Daytona 500, Richard Petty is the most successful driver of this race; he won the race seven times. The 2022 champion of the Daytona 500 is Austin Cindric.
The ticket to watch Daytona 500 live can range between $95 to $695; everyone can choose their preferred package. On the other hand, the winning driver of the Daytona 500 race gets around $1.5 to $2 million. WHich is an awesome way to start your season! It’s the biggest race and the biggest payout of the year.
Undoubtedly, the Daytona 500 is an exciting event, so people from all states and in fact from all over the world travel to Florida to watch it.
NASCAR’s Biggest Races: Coca Cola 600
The longest race in NASCAR is the Coca Cola 600, which takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The event occurs yearly on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The Charlotte Motor Speedway is 1.5-miles long, which means there are 400 laps to complete a 600-miles mark.
The first Coca Cola 600 took place in 1960, soon after the inauguration of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Another interesting fact about Coca Cola 600 is that it takes place in the afternoon; it starts in the daylight and ends well after sunset. Meaning drivers have to deal with changing light conditions and changing temperatures ( and therefore track conditions in their 600 mile drive.)
Darrel Waltrip is the five times champion of the race; hence he is the most successful driver of Coca Cola 600. Indeed, it is an interesting event for NASCAR fans and keeps them intrigued throughout the race.
NASCAR’s Biggest Races: NASCAR Cup Series Championship Final
The race at the beginning of November is the last of the 36 races of the NASCAR Cup Series and barring a runaway leader it is the final chance for 4 drivers ( from 16) to take the championship. It occurs every year in early November and marks the end of the season. Held at Phoenix Raceway, Arizona, Cup Series Championship ranks among the biggest NASCAR races. It is a 312-miles race and requires 312 laps as the Phoenix Raceway is 1 mile long.
The race is loved by the fans of NASCAR and receives a huge turnout and plenty of viewers on TVs at home every year to see who will take the NASCAR championship crown.
As Daytona 500 is the biggest NASCAR race, we are going to share some interesting facts about it:
- The location of the Daytona 500 has been Daytona International Speedway since 1959. Before this track, all races took place at Daytona beach.
- Daytona 500 is a 500-miles race that requires 200 laps on a 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway track.
- Hendrick Motorsports has won eight Daytona 500 races with five different drivers.
- Darrel Waltrip did an ‘Ickey shuffle’ dance to celebrate his Daytona 500 win in 1989. Moreover, he won the race on the 17th of February, which he believes is his lucky number.
- Although Dale Earnhardt’s first NASCAR race was in 1975 it took him till 1998, despite 7 NASCAR championships to win the Daytona 500. It would be the only time he won.
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a car crash during Daytona 500; it is considered one of the most horrifying moments of NASCAR.
- Danica Patrick is the first female to win a pole position in the Daytona 500.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Daytona 500 is undoubtedly the biggest and most interesting NASCAR race. The fans travel from all over the US to witness this amazing event. The Daytona International Speedway is among the most popular NASCAR tracks, and the event takes place at the start of every year as a great opening, official one at least, for the NASCAR season. Although with the introduction of a street circuit in Chicago in 2023 for that year at least we think that might be the most interesting race! Its the first time its been done!
As a rough estimate, every year, more than 150,000 people come to watch the Daytona 500 live. Since it is the biggest NASCAR event, people wait all year to see it live. It is attended by fans from all over the world.
A NASCAR race takes about 1.5 to 3 hours, but some of them can take much longer, i.e., up to 6 hours. Sometimes the time frame extends due to various delays during the race. This is why we say pack for the day, no matter how long the race is supposed to be in our How long is a NASCAR race article here.
As you now know, Daytona 500 is the biggest NASCAR race and its the season opener to boot. There are a few big races through the season, the Coca cola 600, the Southern 500 but for viewers and fame there is only one Daytona 500!