What is the Fastest Track In NASCAR?

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While all NASCAR race cars are built to be equal ( well mostly) not all tracks are and from the half mile ovals of Martinsvilles to the sweeping turns of Talladega and road, dirt and now even Chicago’s street circuit all clustered in-between they all provide something different for race goes and fans during the season. As NASCAR is a sport built on speed, and plenty of it, we are taking a look at which NASCAR track is the fastest in the article below.

Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is known for being the fastest NASCAR track, with a highest recorded speed of 204.5 mph in the last 5 years. The track is a 2-mile oval layout, with 18-20 degree banking, wide straights, and repaved surface, which all contribute to the high speeds achieved by drivers.

Now just before we jump into the meat and bones of which is the fastest NASCAR track, we have a quick mention for Talladega and its unbeatable record. Yes we know all about Bill Elliott’s flying lap, and even Rusty Wallace’s even more flying lap ( is this a thing?) but those were 30 years ago. Times, if not speeds have moved on, and with new cars, restrictor plates, and what speeds you are actually going to see on the track we take a look at the current fastest track (with some honorable mentions).

What is the Fastest Track In NASCAR
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What Is The Fastest NASCAR Track Now?

Currently, and somewhat surprisingly, Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is thought of to the current fastest track in NASCAR due to a few combining factors.

  • Firstly, the 2-mile long oval layout provides drivers with long wide straightaways, which allows drivers plenty of room, and safety margins, to keep the floor to the floor and max out those 600 plus horses.
  • Secondly, the high banking of 18-20 degrees provides excellent grip for the tires, allowing drivers to carry more speed through the turns. Although its not as high as Daytona or Talladega, or even Bristol, it is high and steep enough to plant the car into those sweeping turns. Which we take a look at next.
  • Thirdly, although there are many Oval racetracks in the NASCAR season, not all are cookie cutter ( despite the claims by some, there are dog legs, egg shaped, and as is the case for Michigan International Speedway a D Shaped Oval with shallow turns. this allows drives to enter, and therefor exit corners with much greater speeds than ovals with sharper corners.
  • Fourthly, the width of the corners and straights at MIS gives drivers more room to maneuver and more leeway. It creates multiple racing lines, which allows for better passing and racing and drivers don’t interfere with each other as much.
  • And Finally, the M.I.S. track was repaved in 2012 and is a smooth well maintained surface providing good traction, which all helps grip and top end speed.

With all of these factors combined, Michigan International Speedway provides an ideal environment for NASCAR drivers to reach their top speeds and provides fans with exciting, fast-paced racing.

Look for Kevin Harvick on this track aiming to take 6 career victories here if you are reading this in 2023, it’s almost like a home track for him! ( the Firekeepers 400 is on August the 7th – in case you were wondering)

What is the Top Speed at Michigan International Speedway

The top speed recorded at Michigan International Speedway, located in Brooklyn, Michigan, USA, is 212.809 mph, set by Bill Elliott in 1987. Michigan International Speedway is a two-mile (3.2 km) D-shaped oval track, and is one of the faster tracks on the NASCAR circuit.

A CART Race car did do the lap in 30.8 seconds but we are looking at NASCAR here, and obviously there are pretty dramatic differences between the two.

What is the Fastest Track In NASCAR
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Why Is Michigan the Fastest NASCAR Track?

Although we touched on the reasons why Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is considered the fastest current tracks on the NASCAR we spell it out for you in the list below.

  1. Banking: The 18-degree banking in the corners, 12, in the front straight and 5 in the back provides good grip and allows drivers to keep their speed up.
  2. Length: Michigan International Speedway is a two-mile (3.2 km) D-shaped oval track and is one of the longer oval tracks used by NASCAR.
  3. Surface: MIS was repaved in 2012 and has a smooth surface, which helps to kee the tires on the road, and the speeds at the top.
  4. Wide racing surface: The track is also relatively wide, allowing for more options for drivers to pass and avoid trouble / slowing down.
  5. Not restricted to 510 Horsepower like the superspeedways ( Daytona and TalladegaOpens in a new tab.) can use the 670 Horsepower configuration.
  6. D shaped Oval, as mentioned above the corners are wide and sweeping and can be taken close to flat out.

So for speed, although marginally, Michigan International Speedway sits at the top of the very fast pile. However many still think Talladega is the fastest NASCAR track and we take a quick look, as we will have an article on this on its own, why Talladega is considered the fastest NASCAR track below.

Why is Talladega considered the Fastest NASCAR Track?

There is no doubting that Talladega Superspeedway, and the Daytona Superspeedway, are some of the fastest tracks in NASCAR. With long straights and high steep banking in the turns, Talladega has actually produced highest speeds recorded in NASCAR both officially and unofficially.

This is now a little different, and we wont labour the point as you likely know, if you dont you can check out the articles on fastest NASCAR ever, or the talladega article we have on the site, but quickly before restrictor plates were introduced NASCARs were much, MUCH faster, and they were slowed down to help make the sport safer for both drivers and spectators. – Look at the links for more.

This explains why in the table below the top speed is actually 20+ miles an hour faster than Michigan, and Talladega or Daytona in the current NASCAR era.

Some Talladega Track Facts in the table below and a link to an article all about Talladega as well.

Talladega FactStatisticNotes
Lap Record44.008Bill Elliot in 1987
Top Recorded Speed228.66 mphBill Elliott in 1987
Number of races Held100 +as of 2023
Most Wins7Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon
Date Built1969
Banking33 degree corners
20 on straights
Length2.66 miles
What is the Fastest Track In NASCAR
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Why is Talladega no Longer the Fastest NASCAR Track?

Since the introduction of restrictor plates in NASCAR back at the end of the 1980s, and even today with the tapered spacers that restrict air, the two superspeedways – and Atlanta although always being fast will not again be the fastest tracks in NASCAR. These spacers reduced the NEXT Gen car from 670 horsepower, to around 510 horsepower and consequently also top speeds.

While this is still a lot of power, it does mean that tracks with a little extra length but no restrictions will run faster than the Superspeedways until the day finally arrives when NASCAR once again allows these race cars to run unrestricted.

Top Recorded Speeds At NASCAR tracks

Date (D,M,Y)CircuitDriverTop NASCAR Speed
15/11/1997Atlanta Motor SpeedwayG.Bodine197.478 Miles per hour
16/03/2018Auto Club SpeedwayK.Harvick188.744 Miles per hour
05/04/2019Bristol Motor SpeedwayR.Blaney132.076 Miles per hour
09/10/2014Charlotte Motor SpeedwayK.Busch198.771 Miles per hour
13/09/2013Chicagoland SpeedwayJ.Logano189.404 Miles per hour
11/04/2014Darlington RacewayA.Almirola184.145 Miles per hour
09/02/1987Daytona International SpeedwayB.Elliot210.364 Miles per hour
03/05/2019Dover International SpeedwayC.Elliot165.960 Miles per hour
14/11/2014Homestead-Miami SpeedwayB.Keselowski181.238 Miles per hour
26/07/2014Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayK.Harvick188.889 Miles per hour
13/11/2015ISM RacewayJ.Johnson143.158 Miles per hour
03/10/2014Kansas SpeedwayK.Harvick197.773 Miles per hour
07/07/2017Kentucky SpeedwayK.Busch190.282 Miles per hour
04/03/2016Las VegasMotor SpeedwayK.Busch196.378 Miles per hour
28/03/2014Martinsville SpeedwayRoss Chastain112 average ( haul the wall)
15/08/2014Michigan International RacewayJ.Gordon206.558 Miles per hour
19/09/2014New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayB.Keselowski140.598 Miles per hour
01/08/2014Pocono RacewayK.Larson183.438 Miles per hour
06/09/2013Richmond RacewayJ.Gordon130.599 Miles per hour
22/06/2019Sonoma RacewayK.Larson95.901 Miles per hour
30/04/1987Talladega Super SpeedwayB.Elliot212.809 Miles per hour
03/11/2017Texas Motor SpeedwayK.Busch200.915 Miles per hour
09/08/2014Watkins Glen InternationalM.Ambrose129.491 Miles per hour

Note that these speeds are subject to change as technology and conditions evolve, or if Ross Chastain is allowed to Hail Melon, and haul the wall at Martinsville again.

Here is a sample table comparing the main characteristics of five NASCAR tracks: Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), Talladega Superspeedway (TS), Daytona International Speedway (DIS), and Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS):

CharacteristicMichigan International Speedway (MIS)Texas Motor Speedway (TMS)Talladega Superspeedway (TS)Daytona International Speedway (DIS)Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS)
Length of Track (miles/km)2 miles (3.2 km)1.5 miles (2.4 km)2.66 miles (4.28 km)2.5 miles (4.0 km)1.54 miles (2.48 km)
Track LayoutOvalQuad-OvalOvalTri-OvalQuad-Oval
Surface MaterialAsphaltAsphaltAsphaltConcreteAsphalt
Surface – Last Repaved20122017200620101997
Banking (degrees)18-5°20 – 24°33°31°28°

Note: The top speed records listed are the fastest speeds recorded in a NASCAR race car at each track and are subject to change over time.


So due to the high banking, longer length that traditional 1.5 mile ovals, relatively recent resurfacing, shallow turns and importantly the ability to run 670 Horsepower configured NASCAR race cars here Michigan sits at the top of the pile. It is basically as close to a super speedway as it can be without being one, and regularly sees 200 miles an hour.

So if you are a speed freak then get yourself to Detroit, and on the way you can try your hand – legal speeds please, at the chicago street circuit on your way through. it might take you a little longer than the race though.



Al lifelong Motor Racing Fan, with a particular love of NASCAR and IndyCar racing. Been in and out of cars of varying speeds since i was a child and sharing what i have learnt here.

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