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5 International Oval Tracks NASCAR Should Go To

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When we think about NASCAR moving to international venues, we typically think about road courses, as that is typically what those countries have as race tracks. However, there are a select few oval race tracks that exist outside of the United States. A few of which American stock car racing has even been hosted before!

A big thanks to Arnout Kok for helping me research this list!

1. Twin Ring Motegi (Japan)

Japan is a place that NASCAR could easily look at expanding to, especially with Toyota being in the sport. The track is 1.549 miles long and banked at 10 degrees in the turns. It also has an egg-shape similar to Darlington or a reversed Gateway.

If it had a direct comparison to a current NASCAR Cup Series track, Gateway is probably the closest comparison. The track was opened in 1997, and it has hosted American professional auto racing on multiple occasions. It hosted 14 IndyCar races between 1998 and 2011, including Danica Patrick’s only IndyCar win in 2008.

It has also hosted NASCAR before, including a K&N Pro Series points race in November of 1999 won by Kevin Richards. The track also hosted the third NASCAR Thunder Special in Japan, a 311 mile race in November of 1998. It was Mike Skinner’s second consecutive victory in Japan.

2. Venray (Netherlands)

Venray is based in Ysselsteyn, Netherlands. It consists of two race tracks with a 0.25 mile flat race track inside of a 0.5 mile high-banked race track. The track has hosted many events including the NASCAR Euro Series.

The closest comparison to this track in NASCAR today would probably be a slightly smaller Richmond. It also resembles high-banked U.S. short tracks such as Slinger Speedway.

According to their website, they also host events such as karting and street stocks as well. It does not have a NASCAR Euro Series date on the schedule for this season. However, if you are in the area, there is still plenty of racing happening at the track week-in and week-out.

3. Lausitzring (Germany)

Have you ever thought, “What if Pocono’s straightaway was on the other side of the track?” Well, that is some of what they did at the Lausitzring in Germany. The venue features a bunch of different race tracks, but its oval track is actually a triangle.

Its shape is exactly the same as Pocono, but it is about a half-mile shorter coming in at 2.023 miles according to RacingCircuits.info. The frontstretch is actually on what would be considered the short chute on the actual Pocono. The track hosted IndyCar races in 2001 and 2003, with Kenny Brack and Sebastian Bourdais winning these races.

4. Phakisa Freeway (South Africa)

Phakisa Freeway was built in 1999, and it was built specifically to try to bring NASCAR to the venue. The track looks very similar to the intermediate tracks built in the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s a 1.5 mile long tri-oval with 12 degrees of banking in the corners.

The closest comparison to this track would probably be Kentucky Speedway, given the flatness of the track. Most 1.5 mile tracks have had banking added, meaning NASCAR may want more banking at this track if they want to race there. This is primarily because of the racing product on flat race tracks being questionable at best.

However, this track has hosted American auto racing before. In 2010, the ASA Series ran the Free State 500 at the track, where former NASCAR winner Geoff Bodine participated.

5. Calder Park (Australia)

With NASCAR recently having Supercars stars racing in the series, maybe expansion to Australia is on the table. The Calder Park “Thunderdome” in Melbourne, Australia has hosted professional racing on it before, including both Supercars and NASCAR.

The track is 1.119 miles long and shaped as a quad-oval similar to Charlotte. It also has 24 degree banks in the turns. there is no direct comparison to this track, but it seems similar to a combination of the length of Darlington with the shape and width of Charlotte.

NASCAR hosted an exhibition race here in February of 1988. Neil Bonnett won with Bobby Allison and Dave Marcis rounding out the lead lap. Kyle Petty and Michael Waltrip also participated, finishing 10th and 14th respectively.

The options are few, and some of these tracks probably need some renovations. However, the fact that it is an option for NASCAR to go to oval race tracks outside of the United States is a very interesting proposition.

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