Oval track racing

Oval courses are permanent motorsport race tracks, which have as a circuit, as opposed to road or street circuits, only curves in one direction. Most of them are left-handers; The course will so traveled counterclockwise. The up to four curves exhibit a very different depending on the course elevation (german banking). This particularly high speeds are achieved on oval courses. This frequently encountered in the U.S. haul mode is called there " Speedway ". Smaller oval race tracks, on which about Motorcycle speedway events take place, are not oval courses in the strict sense.

  • 3.1 Classic Oval
  • 3.2 D- Oval
  • 3.3 egg shape
  • 3.4 Tri-Oval
  • 3.5 Quad - Oval
  • 3.6 Special forms


Oval race tracks, there is practically only in the USA, just there but far more often than normal race tracks. In Europe, the Euro Speedway Lausitz and the Rockingham Motor Speedway, the only courses of this type are currently Historically also existed at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza oval, on which in the 1950s took the Formula 1 race in Italy.

The former "fastest track in the world " (original German media quote the late 1940s ), the German borderland ring surrounding the city Wegberg near Monchengladbach, is an egg-shaped oval scale, originally built with concrete lining. The oval shape is relatively uneven, and the cant minimal.

Other oval courses are located in Motegi (Japan), Puebla (Mexico), Welkom (South Africa), Rafaela (Argentina ) or Melbourne (Australia). The significance of these ovals is very limited for international racing. Only in Motegi take place throughout the races ChampCar and later the IndyCar Series since 1998. The Euro Speedway and Rockingham had the Champ Cars twice each guest. In Puebla local races of the NASCAR take place, the other routes were ever used by any internationally acclaimed series.

Types according to length of the route

Short Track

So-called short tracks, ovals with a length of less than a mile - the shortest only a quarter - can be found in the United States in every major city, most of them but find only regional events. Routes such as the Mansfield Motorsports Park or the Martinsville Speedway are hardly excessive. At these distances, the pace between curve and straight line differs greatly. Other routes, such as the Bristol Motor Speedway, on the other hand are extremely excessive.

General is to say on Short Tracks that they exude a stadium atmosphere, because they are surrounded on all sides by some of the towering grandstands. Viewers can see the entire track from almost every seat, but there are problems with poorly thereby partially withdrawing exhaust gases. Such short tracks are quite comparable to a modern Colosseum. On many Shorttracks local races are held almost every weekend.


Also in the United States are widely used as the only designated Speedway oval courses with a duration of one to two miles. In part, this term is also commonly used for all oval courses. Many of these routes are not real but rather Oval D-shaped or rounded triangle, so that the start and finish line is actually a very long corner or has a kink. Many of these routes are also so greatly exaggerated that the speed is not much different between straight and curve, it is enough easy to get off the throttle ( " Lupfen ").

The only really used Speedway under two miles outside of the USA is the Autódromo Miguel E. Abed in Mexican Puebla. In the 1990s and 2000s were also still used by the Champ Car and the IndyCar Series following the Emerson Fittipalti Speedway in Brazil, the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Britain and the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. The latter held 2010 from the last official race. He also became famous that here with Danica Patrick for the first time a woman has won in a world-renowned big racing series.

Super Speedway

Very large lines with a length of two miles and more are called super speedways. These are typically focused on either formula or to NASCAR racing. On these very high speeds are achieved, which can not usually distinguish between straight and curve. Also, virtually all oval courses actually used outside the United States belong to this type and were most often built to attract a race of IndyCar World Series.

The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the fastest circuits in the world. On them the formula cars of the IndyCar Series make a circular cut of up to 400 km / h

The specialized NASCAR Speedway Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway have a very strong increase ( about 30 °). In the NASCAR Sprint Cup restrictor here are used in addition, so that the performance of the vehicles halved to just over 430 hp to limit the top speed to around 200 mph for safety reasons.

Outside the United States is still the Euro Speedway Lausitz designed as a Super Speedway race track. In the years 2001 and 2003 there is a race in the American CART or CCWS championship took place in each case. Since then, there have been no further this race on this oval. The American NASCAR was in contrast to the Japanese Twin Ring Motegi there never to visit.

Types according haul mode

Furthermore, the courses differ also in the number of curves. Most ovals have four curves, from which one but only two really perceives. For the Americans, a curve is usually divided into Turn 1 and Turn 2 (or Turn 3 and Turn 4 ). Here are the odd number ( Turn 1 and Turn 3 ) entry into a curve to. Turn 2 and Turn 4, however, are the exits. The second curve is on some routes, but also referred to as " Chute ", as it is the better course for the driver, which curve is meant. " Curved lines " are as simple straight tolerated. At the start and finish is the S / F straight, the back straight, the back straight. Other courses, such as Indianapolis, though also have four curves, but there are four individual 90 -degree curves, connected by long or short straights.

Classic Oval

The classic oval racing circuits consist of two long straights, which are connected by two long bends. The first oval tracks in the U.S., the Milwaukee Mile (1903 ) and the Nashville Speedway (1904 ) belong to this group.

D- Oval

With a D- Oval is one of the two long straights of an oval, usually the start -finish line, created in the form of a long arc. This bow can be driven like a straight line and thus enables high average speeds. This design was mostly used in the super speedways, as in the two two-mile Michigan International Speedway twin routes / Texas World Speedway, which were built in the late 1960s, or the California Speedway opened in 1997.

But there are also Shorttracks and speedways, which are created in D-form. This includes a mile-long stretch Rockingham Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway, the short ovals Richmond International Raceway and Myrtle Beach Speedway or the newly built Iowa Speedway.

Egg shape

A special form has the Darlington Raceway. Here the oval " ovoid ", i.e., the first two curves have a greater radius than the latter two. This layout was created because a farmer on his property did not sell and the track was built anyway.

But the Twin Ring Motegi and the Gateway International Raceway were built in the mid 1990's in this egg shape. Because of such routes not matching at every turn vehicle setup is practically possible, these routes are considered particularly difficult to drive.


A case of modern ovals widespread form are courses with three curves, so-called tri- oval.

Distinction is made here as subspecies ovals that have been created in real triangular shape and modified D- ovals. In the triangular ovals, curves are simply numbered 1, 2 and 3. The third line here has a special name (usually Long Straight Short or straight).

The Pocono Raceway is an example of an oval in classical triangular shape. He is regarded as Superspeedway With its length of 2.5 miles. However, each of the three curves has a different curve radius and a different elevation. This asymmetry, it is very difficult for the teams to coordinate a car well. Pocono is often referred to ( a Superspeedway, like a road course runs her ) because of its low elevation as "The super speedway did drives like a road course ." The only German oval course, the Euro Speedway Lausitz is also a triangular tri- oval.

The built in the years 1997-2001 racetracks Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway formally belong with the tri- ovals. However, they have no classical form triangles, but are modified D- oval. Instead, the start -finish line to create as a long bow here, a kink would be installed, which counts as a third curve, so to speak.

Quad Oval

A quad - oval has, as the name implies, four independent curves, which are numbered 1 to 4. As with the tri- ovals, there are also sub-forms:

In the first form, the ovals having a true square shape. This is the case, which has the shape of a rectangle, for example, at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But even the English Rockingham Motor Speedway is one of the quad- ovals, this in contrast to the race track in Indianapolis but is not symmetrical. The Emerson Fittipalti Speedway in Brazil is designed as a trapezoid.

In the second form the quad - oval is modified tri- ovals. Instead of a kink in the start and finish line, there are two kinks, which are connected by a short straight. Some famous NASCAR race tracks were built in this form. The pioneer here was the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the 1990s, then the formerly existing as a classic oval Atlanta Motor Speedway was converted into this form. Finally, the Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1997 has this particular form. All three of these racetracks incidentally include Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and are a trademark of this track owner.

Special shapes

There are also numerous individual oval shapes that have usually arise from topographical concessions for the construction or where the oval should be distinguished from other particularly. A particular example was the 1980 closed Trenton Speedway, in the basic form was indeed an oval course, but had a slightly bent inwards backstretch.


Oval courses are, especially from the point of view of the actors, an art in itself. European motorsport fans refer to such courses as something derogatory like " pasta pot ", which is supposedly the same. If, however, the approximately 25 different rates for the NASCAR Sprint Cup compares once you notice even the layman that no oval are the same. It indeed always travels only in left direction, but are curve radius, superelevation, cant straight, curve number, and many other peculiarities of each route to be observed.

Oval racing

Race on the oval circuit racing has a long tradition. Originally ordinary horse racing tracks were also used for automobile racing. Can still be found, for example, some motor sport events (including, but rally special stages ) instead of trotting tracks. Opened in 1907, the first only built for motorsport competitions racetrack, the oval of Brooklands in the UK, which had two different lengths and banked steep curves. From a former horse racing track in Milwaukee also an oval course with banked curves and a solid surface was formed. The Milwaukee Mile, developed in 1903 and is still in operation.

Most oval track racing, the so-called slipstreaming plays a very crucial role. Headwind makes it the frontrunners always hard to out down a lead, while the following drivers can easily follow in the slipstream of the leaders. In fast oval courses due to the superelevation no braking or shifting is required. During an overtaking maneuver on normal round courses usually take place in the braking zone of a curve, the vehicles can drive around long side by side on oval courses. Thus, the field remains tightly closed. Of fundamental importance, therefore, is also the race strategy, which is often referred to as " high-speed chess ." Most of the time the race is about to stay on the lead lap - known in English as "stay on the lead lap", whereas the exact position of secondary importance. Only at the end of the race is being fought right around the positions. Due to the elevation in the curves can be inside and out of date. Thus the leader is almost impossible to shut down by a battle line the curve. In extreme cases, it may happen that a leadership position is the beginning of the last lap undesirable because it is so by the slipstream just an easy target. Legendary in this regard is a race in the Champ Car Series 2000 at the Michigan Speedway, in which Juan Pablo Montoya lost the lead just before the last lap, Michael Andretti, then recaptured again to be overtaken again and at the end still the race thanks to the wind shadow of a lapped vehicle razor-thin win.

In autumn 2008, the NASCAR race in Talladega led 28 of 43 drivers on at least 1 full round. This is a new record in NASCAR.

Find pit stops if at all possible, only during one of the very numerous racing neutralisations place, otherwise a circular residue of a round is almost inevitable with round times of 20 to 30 seconds; not uncommon in Bristol (lap time 15s ) also considerably more. A pit stop at the wrong time can thus destroy any chance of a good position; if the very end, however, a stop can be avoided by green, but this can also be a really inferior car a chance.

The American racing series NASCAR Sprint Cup ( touring car ) runs almost exclusively on oval courses. The American IndyCar Series ( formula cars) contributes slightly less than half of the race on oval courses. The American Champ Car Series also had few oval races on the calendar. There are also smaller classes, such as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or ARCA. Also one of the major motorsport events ever, the Indianapolis 500, will be held on an oval course. There are also numerous small, regional and unknown Oval series.

In Europe there is with the SCSA an organization that NASCAR has as a role model. So far, oval racing in Europe but have not been successful.

Many oval tracks have now been installed lighting, by race can be continued or started well after dark. This night races are among fans as a special attraction. Especially in the NASCAR series, there are many so-called night race on routes such as Daytona, Bristol, Richmond, Charlotte ( Lowes ) or Darlington.

List of paved oval tracks

There are several dozen in the U.S. alone asphalt or concrete oval tracks, in almost every major city or town. All over the world there are more than 100 pieces. This is a sample list of some well-known of these oval tracks. Criteria for the entry of Shorttracks have a minimum length of 0.4 miles (0.64 km) and the organization of a national race in the three NASCAR series and the IndyCar Series. In the speedways and super speedways virtually all modern routes are listed because their number is manageable.