Short Track Racing
In North American auto racing, particularly with regard
to NASCAR, a short track is a racetrack of less than
one mile (1.6km) in length.
Short track racing, often associated with fairgrounds
and similar venues, is where stock car racing first
got off of the back roads and into organized and
regulated competition. Many traditional fans and
purists still see short track racing as the "real" NASCAR,
because the lower speeds make "paint swapping", where the
bodies of the cars actually rub against one another,
practical without a very high likelihood of serious
accidents. In fact, NASCAR sanctions such "club" racing,
offering the Whelen Weekly Series as a national championship
for the drivers. In some cases a NEXTEL Cup star
or two will race in a weekly short-track event held
usually on a short track near that week's race, or
in a midweek special, such as the Slinger Nationals
at Wisconsin's Slinger Super Speedway, a quarter-mile
track (but is not NASCAR-sanctioned).
In recent years, there has been a gradual push
away from short track venues for Nextel Cup (the
highest level of NASCAR) in favor of longer tracks.
This is due to larger venues having accommodations
for more fans (although the short track in Bristol,
Tennessee, Bristol Motor Speedway, now has over
160,000 seats) and higher speeds.
Dirt track racing is a type of auto racing performed
on oval tracks. It began in the United States
before World War I and became widespread during
the 1920s and 30s. Two different types of racecars
predominated—open wheel racers in the
Northeast and West and stock cars in the South.
The open wheel racers were built for racing,
and the stock cars were ordinary automobiles
modified to varying degrees. Dirt track racing
is the single most common form of auto racing
in the United States. There are hundreds of
local and regional racetracks throughout the
nation: some estimates range as high as 1500.
The sport is popular in Australia and Canada
also. Many of the cars may also race on asphalt
short tracks during the racing season.