Here are the fastest race tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. While Talladega has the all-time official NASCAR track record, this list is sorted by fastest qualifying speed since 2000.
By limiting this list to speeds since 2000 I am throwing out three of the fastest qualifying track records in NASCAR history.
- Bill Elliott's 212.809 MPH lap at Talladega in 1987
- Bill Elliott's 210.364 MPH lap at Daytona in 1987
- Geoffrey Bodine's 197.478 MPH lap at Atlanta in 1997
NASCAR occasionally changes the rules to keep speeds down in the name of safety. This is the list of the fastest modern
NASCAR Sprint Cup race tracks.
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A fresh repave of Michigan International Speedway in 2012 set the stage for Marcos Ambrose
to shatter the old track record by nearly nine MPH. His lap of 203.241 MPH in June of 2012 put Michigan International Raceway solidly on top of this list.
The top 38 drivers in that race all posted speeds higher than previous number one Texas Motor Speedway's record lap of 196.235.
Michigan's new smooth surface makes it the king of speed.
Daytona International Speedway is another race track where teams are required to use restrictor plates. The official track record is again held by Bill Elliott who posted a 210.364 MPH lap to sit on the pole for the 1987 Daytona 500.
Since 2000 the fastest qualifying lap belongs to Danica Patrick who drove the new Gen 6 car to the Daytona 500 pole at 196.434 MPH.
Texas Motor Speedway was repaved during the 2006 season providing an entirely different racing surface for the drivers when they returned during The Chase for the Cup. Brian Vickers took advantage of the smooth surface and posted a 196.235 MPH lap to take the pole. This vaulted Texas into first place as the fastest race track on the modern Sprint Cup schedule.
Until 2006 Atlanta Motor Speedway had held the title of NASCAR's fastest speedway since it was reconfigured during the 1997 season. However it must now settle for third on the list with the quickest qualifying lap posted here since 2000 belonging to Ryan Newman at 194.690 MPH. Newman has held this track record since 2005.
In 2012 Atlanta feel another spot to third on the overall list when Carl Edwards took the pole for the 2012 Daytona 500.
In 2005 Elliott Sadler set the Charlotte Motor Speedway track record. Sadler clocked in with a 193.216 MPH lap to vault Charlotte Motor Speedway up to the fourth spot on this list. Speeds jumped nearly five MPH from the previous year as a result of the track being smoothed and repaved.
When people think of fast NASCAR race tracks Talladega Superspeedway usually comes to mind first. Talladega holds the all-time NASCAR track record as Bill Elliott sat on the pole with an incredible 212.809 MPH lap in 1987. However, since NASCAR mandated restrictor plate use at Talladega and Daytona in 1988 speeds have been reduced.
Since 2000 the fastest qualifying lap at Talladega was David Gilliland's 191.712 MPH lap from 2006.
After a 2012 repave job Kasey Kahne lead a qualifying field that blistered the old track record and put Kansas on this list. Kahne laid down a 191.360 MPH to insert Kansas into the list and bump Indianapolis Motor Speedway off of the list.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway saw it's track record shattered by almost ten miles per hour in 2007. Kasey Kahne put his Dodge on the pole with a 184.855 MPH lap which laid waste to Kahne's own previous track record of 174.904 MPH.
Kyle Busch then edged that record up to 185.995 in 2009. This closed the gap on 9th place Indianapolis but didn't change Vegas' position on this list.
In 2011 Matt Kenseth added nearly three miles per hour to the track record with his 188.884 MPH qualifying lap. This caused Vegas to jump up to seventh on this list.
Kasey Kahne reclaimed the track record in 2012 when he posted a 190.456 MPH lap during qualifying but Las Vegas remained seventh on the overall list.
California Speedway is similar to Michigan Speedway but doesn't have quite as much banking in the turns. 14 degrees versus Michigan's 18 degrees. This difference in banking accounts for the six mile per hour difference in track records.
Kyle Busch is the track record holder here. Kyle ran this 188.245 MPH lap in qualifying for the February 2005 Auto Club 500.
Jimmie Johnson holds the track record in Chicagoland with his 2005 lap of 188.147 MPH. Again comparing this race track to Michigan Speedway. Chicagoland and Michigan have the same amount of banking and both tracks are 'D' shaped ovals. However, Michigan is a two mile race track while Chicagoland is just 1.5 miles around. This difference accounts for the roughly six mile per hour difference in speeds.