Founded in 1948, NASCAR has grown into one of the most popular motorsports in the US, with millions of people tuning in to watch the season-opener and thousands more taking the stands at the circuits. Today, NASCAR covers more than 1,500 races on over 100 tracks, while its drivers are earning millions of dollars in salaries, sponsorships and team ownership ventures.
Want to hear more NASCAR facts and stats? We have the data, figures and trivia on all things NASCAR.
So, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
Top NASCAR Facts
1. NASCAR has three main series.
But how many NASCAR races in a year take place per series?
NASCAR’s top series, the NASCAR Cup Series, features 36 weekly races starting in February with the Daytona 500 and finishing at the beginning of November with the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
The other two are the Xfinity Series and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. The first consists of 33 races and features drivers who are aspiring to reach the NASCAR Cup Series. The latter, created in 1995, uses modified pickup trucks and covers 20 races in the season.
2. NASCAR drivers can lose between five and ten pounds during a race.
(Vernon Morning Star) (CBS Sports Network) (Sportscasting)
Temperatures in NASCAR cars can reach as high as 170 degrees, causing drivers to sweat profusely and lose as much as 3% of their body weight. Matt Di Benedetto, for instance, lost 10 pounds during the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series race in New Hampshire.
But, sweating might actually help drivers in the long run.
Do NASCAR drivers wear diapers? is one of the most commonly asked questions about the sport. Well, drivers do spend hours stuck in their cars, so fans speculating on this issue is not that strange. However, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. told FOX Sports, drivers relieving themselves during a race is not that common as they tend to lose a lot of body water through sweat.
3. NASCAR drivers aren’t obligated to own a street driver’s license.
They must, however, obtain a specific NASCAR license granted by the regulating body. And it’s not just drivers—facts on NASCAR reveal that everyone on the racing team also needs a license to ensure maximum safety. License costs range between $110 and $205, but they provide one million in insurance and are valid on all NASCAR racing tracks.
4. A NASCAR driver’s heart rate varies between 120 and 150 BPM.
This exceptionally high heart rate is only noted among marathon runners, making NASCAR a seriously demanding sport. What’s more, this heart rate is maintained for over three hours, i.e. the average length of a NASCAR race.
5. NASCAR race tracks have the biggest seating capacity among sporting events.
(HotCars) (RacingCircuits.info) (World Atlas)
NASCAR circuits can seat more people than the biggest soccer stadium. Surprised? Well, according to NASCAR facts and stats, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the biggest racing venue, can seat 257,325 (or 400,000 if we add infield seating). Just for comparison, Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in North Korea, the largest one in the world, has a seating capacity of “just” 150,000.
And the list of massive seating capacity doesn’t end here! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is followed by the Texas Motor Speedway (181.655), the Bristol Motor Speedway (160.000), and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (142.000). No wonder NASCAR attendance numbers were off the charts in the past!
6. 24 of NASCAR Hall of Famers were inducted solely as drivers.
(The NASCAR Hall of Fame)
According to NASCAR Hall of Fame facts, a total of 43 people were inducted as drivers, 19 of whom were nominated as drivers, owners and/or broadcasters. Eight people were inducted for their accomplishments as owners, four for their role as promoters and another four as crew chiefs.
7. The founder of the sport, Bill France Sr., was one of the first five inductees to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
(The NASCAR Hall of Fame)
He was joined by his son Bill France Jr, Richard Petty, aka The King, driver and team owner Dale Earnhardt Sr., and legendary driver Junior Johnson.
The 2021 honorees, on the other hand, include nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik, former driver Red Farmer, and Dale Earnhardt Jr, son of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
8. G-forces are powerful during NASCAR races.
Drivers experience two to three two and three Gs on turns. These G-forces could knock a driver unconscious since they limit the blood flow to the brain. Besides that, they can also cause painful necks and neck injuries. Taking that into consideration, NASCAR drivers must perform special neck and neck muscle strengthening exercises before racing,
9. No drivers have lost their lives since NASCAR started implementing head-and-neck restraints.
The restraints system, introduced in 2001, has gone a long way towards protecting drivers from injuries. In fact, the last driver to receive fatal injuries in a NASCAR race was Dale Earnhardt Sr, who lost his life in 2001 after getting involved in a three-car crash during the last lap of the Daytona 500.
NASCAR Viewership Statistics
10. The 2021 NASCAR All-Star race was watched on TV by 2.73 million people.
NASCAR viewership trends skyrocketed during the most recent NASCAR All-Star race, making it the most-watched All-Star event in the sport since 2017. Actually, viewership rose by 12% from 2019 and 31% from 2020.
At the same time, the NASCAR Xfinity race drew 1.1 million viewers on FOX Sports, a 16% increase over the 2019 event. In contrast, NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series brought in 625,000 viewers, a 10% growth from 2020 and a whopping 74% increase from two years previously.
11. The 2013 Daytona 500 had the highest viewership in the last decade.
(Sports Media Watch)
The 2013 Daytona 500 race had the highest viewership (16.651 million) and the highest rating (9.9) in the last ten years. Going back to 1979 (the first time the race was shown on TV), the 2006 competition was the most-watched with 19.355 million tuning in. It also had the highest rating of 11.3.
Outside of the ultra-popular Daytona 500, the 2015 Atlanta NASCAR race, stats and facts show, was the most-watched TV broadcast of all time, drawing in 9.5 million viewers on Fox and earning a final rating of 5.6.
12. The 2021 season-opener scored the lowest ratings in years.
Viewership for the first race of the 2021 season fell to an average of 4.83 million.
Even more disappointing—this number is a 35% drop from the previous lowest figure on record, i.e. the 7.3 million viewers in 2020. The delayed start of the race combined with declining viewership numbers due to the pandemic caused ratings to decrease to 2.8.
13. NASCAR fans are predominantly white males.
Unsurprisingly, 78% of NASCAR fans are male and have an average age of 42. Recent surveys on NASCAR demographics further reveal that the fans are married (73%), homeowners (81%) and have an income between $35,000 and $50,000. Most of them are also employed full-time and have 3.4 cars per household.
NASCAR Industry Stats
14. In 2020, NASCAR lost between $150 million and $175 million in ticket revenue.
Due to Covid-19 lockdowns, only 15 of the standard 36 NASCAR races in 2020 were attended by spectators. As per NASCAR statistics, the organisation lost between $150 and $175 million in ticket sales that year. In comparison, total NASCAR ticket revenue in 2018 stood at $193.6 million.
15. Worth $315 million in 2019, Hendrick Motorsports is the most valuable racing team.
The Hendrick Motorsport team also made the most in revenue that year ($172 million).
Ranked as the second most valuable and second most profitable NASCAR team is Joe Gibbs Racing, bringing in $135 million. Joe Gibbs Racing is valued at $230 million.
Stewart Haas Racing ($165 million worth; 103 million in revenue), Richard Childress Racing (valued at $160 million and raking in $130 million) and Team Peske ($152 million worth with revenue of $76 million) complete the list of the five most valuable teams.
16. NASCAR salaries have decreased significantly over the years.
In 2019, the ten highest-paid drivers made around $120 million, much lower than a decade ago when they earned $180 million. Today’s NASCAR numbers show much lower salaries than the average of $3 million a few years ago, mostly due to sponsorship problems and a decline in viewership.
17. NASCAR’s official tyre sponsor Goodyear received the most branded posts and the most sponsorship value after the 2021 running of the Daytona 500.
The Daytona 500, which took place on February 14, 2021, recorded a total of 5,840 posts on social media, an incredible 7.9 million interactions as well as 76.7 million video views. NASCAR’s official profile takes the lead here with 3.4 million interactions and 61 million video views.
When it comes to brands and the number of posts, Goodyear (598 branded posts) is followed by Ford (591), Sunoco (480), Chevrolet (474) and Toyota (335).
18. 57% of NASCAR fans have more trust in products offered by NASCAR sponsors.
On the other hand, the same sentiment is expressed by 16% of the general public regarding Olympic sponsors.
Also, 71% of NASCAR fans, statistics reveal, “almost always” or “frequently” choose a product in some way involved with the sport. By contrast, only 47% of golf fans said the same about the sponsors of that sport.
Facts About NASCAR Cars
19. NASCAR vehicles run on special fuel.
Because the engine of a NASCAR race car is bigger than an average vehicle, it requires special fuel to keep it running. The fuel, called 98 octane, is purer and specifically made for NASCAR cars by the refineries.
Since 2004, Sunoco has been the official fuel of NASCAR. NASCAR fuel facts reveal that this refined product has fuelled over 15.5 million miles of competition and over a thousand victories.
20. A NASCAR engine only lasts for one race.
Engines of everyday road cars usually last over 100,000 miles; however, NASCAR engines last for about 500 miles.
Even though the same version of the engine is used for the whole season, NASCAR engine facts show it is serviced and rebuilt after every race. Still, as of 2018, new NASCAR regulations require that the same engine being used in multiple races, with 13 short-block engines being used over two full race weekends.
21. NASCAR cars can achieve high speeds of over 200 miles per hour.
(Driven Motorsport Tickets) (Sportscasting)
A NASCAR car, facts and figures note, averages 321km/h, which is slower than a Formula One car (that can go as high as 360km/h). Moreover, NASCAR vehicles can accelerate from 0 to 96km/h mph in just 3.4 seconds. Lastly, stock cars can reach up to 750 horsepower, unlike typical road cars, which can only get to 300 horsepower.
22. NASCAR cars must weigh at least 3,400 pounds
In order to ensure maximum safety and fairness, NASCAR race cars must weigh no less than 3,400 pounds, 200 pounds of which falls to tires alone. This limit also includes oil and water, but not the drivers.
One of the most interesting facts about NASCAR, though, is that all races have left-hand turns. For that reason, NASCAR cars must weigh at least 1,625 pounds on the right front and rear sides so that the weight won’t help drivers make those turns.
23. The number 2 car has had the most wins in NASCAR history.
Brad Keselowski’s win at the April 2021 Talladega Superspeedway marked the 100th victory for the No.2 car, making it the car number with the most wins ever.
When it comes to manufacturers, however, it’s Chevy that takes the lead, securing 788 wins, far ahead of Ford with 696 and Toyota with 148 wins.
NASCAR Driver Statistics and Facts
24. Richard Lee Petty was the most successful driver in NASCAR history.
This second-generation race car competitor (his father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500) is considered the best NASCAR driver of all time. Aptly nicknamed “The King”, Petty has won the NASCAR Championship seven times, becoming one of only three drivers to achieve this record (along with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmie Johnson). On top of that, he has broken two more records—winning the Daytona 500 seven times and coming first in 27 races in the 1967 season, ten of which were consecutive wins.
He is also the driver who has the most wins in NASCAR history, having finished first in a total of 200 NASCAR races throughout his career.
25. Kyle Busch was the highest-paid driver in 2020.
With combined earnings of $17.8 million, Busch made it to the top of the highest-paid drivers in NASCAR last year. This legendary driver competes in all three series, earning a total of 213 wins as well as record-breaking 97 NASCAR Xfinity Series and 59 first-place finishes at the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
Right behind Busch is Jimmie Johnson, one of the most successful drivers of all time, who has combined earnings of $17.6 million.
Denny Hamlin, who earned $14.6 million, rounds off the top three highest-paid drivers in NASCAR last year.
26. With a net worth of $300 million, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the wealthiest NASCAR driver.
Son of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the richest driver of all time, thanks to his earnings from racing, as well as the profit he gets from his media production company, auto dealerships and bars. NASCAR driver stats also indicate that Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most loved drivers of all time-he was —he was voted NASCAR’s “Most Popular Driver” 13 times in a row.
27. Sara Christian was the first woman to compete in a NASCAR race.
In addition, she was also the first and only woman in the history of the sport to finish in the top five with her personal best at the 1949 Pittsburgh’s Heidelberg Raceway. Sara Christian paved the way for other female drivers in NASCAR, including Danica Patrick, Johanna Long, and Shawna Robinson.
28. Only two African American drivers have competed in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
(The Washington Post) (WTOP)
The first black driver to win a race in NASCAR’s Cup series was Wendell Scott in 1963. Even though he beat second-place finisher Buck Baker by two laps, he only received the trophy 58 years later when it was presented to his family.
It also took almost 57 years for other African American stock-car racer to come on the scene.
Bubba Wallace, who debuted in 2013, was the second Black driver actively racing in a NASCAR series, while Rajah Caruth, who has been signed to take part in a limited series of 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series, will become the third.
NASCAR Track Stats and Facts
29. The Daytona International Speedway was first opened in 1959.
(History) (Daytona International Speedway)
Even though the Daytona International Speedway is not the first NASCAR-based track (that was the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina), this is one of the most important ones in the sport to this day. Also founded by Bill France Sr, this 2.5 miles long (4.02 km) raceway is home to the most prestigious event in NASCAR, the Daytona 500.
30. The Talladega Speedway is the longest NASCAR oval track.
(Essentially Sports) (Travel Channel) (NASCAR)
Measuring at 2.66 miles, this race track can accommodate 80,000 to 175,000 fans, NASCAR attendance figures show. , NASCAR attendance numbers reveal. The Talladega Superspeedway, situated on the former Anniston Air Force Base in Alabama, has seen some of the most exciting races in the history of this motorsport, including the fastest qualifying mark (212.809 mph set by Bill Elliott back in 1987) and the fastest 500-mile Winston Cup race (2 hours, 39 minutes and 18 seconds set by Mark Martin in 1997).
However, of all the NASCAR race tracks, Road America is the longest. At 4.048 miles, this Wisconsin circuit hosts the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series once a year.
Nascar History Facts
31. The passion for stock car racing started during the prohibition era in America.
(World of Speed)
During the prohibition, bootleggers enhanced their cars, enabling them to haul more weight and go faster while travelling on twisty backroads. When they were not busy hauling alcohol, bootleggers would use these stock cars to race against each other. Fairgrounds soon saw a financial opportunity in this and started charging tickets so visitors could watch them race, thus giving rise to the stock car competitions we know today.
32. NASCAR was officially incorporated in 1948.
Founded by William “Bill” France Sr., amateur car driver and car repair shop owner, NASCAR became the governing body for stock car competitions in North America, producing and promoting car races since its formation. France served as the first president of the organisation, leading it until 1972 when he was succeeded by his son Bill France Jr. NASCAR today is run by his second son, Jim France, so it’s still pretty much a “family business”.
33. The first Strictly Stock NASCAR race took place on June 19, 1949.
The inaugural Strictly Stock competition, which took place at the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina, was watched by 13,000 fans. The race comprised 200 laps over 150 miles, with cars reaching speeds of around 68 mph. The winner of the first official NASCAR race was Jim Roper, ing claiming the $2,000 prize after Glenn Dunnaway, who originally finished first, was disqualified for using illegal modifications to his 1947 Ford.
One of the little known facts about the history of NASCAR—back then, people used the same cars they drove on the streets. Today only highly-customised cars take part in NASCAR races.
34. Lee Petty won the very first Daytona 500 race.
The first Daytona 500 was a bit of a messy affair, NASCAR facts and history show. Johnny Beauchamp was crowned the champion; however, 61 hours later, Lee Petty took over the title after newsreel footage revealed that Petty was two feet ahead of Beauchamp at the finish line.
NASCAR Future Trends
35. The NASCAR Next Gen car will debut in 2022.
(The Associated Press)
The Next Gen car, which was set to premiere in 2018, will not only revolutionise stock car races but will also encourage interest and investments in the sport. Namely, since 2012 (when Dodge left NASCAR), there have been only three manufacturers, so the hope is that The Next Gen will appeal to new manufacturers, especially with the development of hybrid technology.
36. Celebrities getting involved in NASCAR may boost viewership.
A survey on trends on NASCAR carried out before the start of the 2021 season found out that 30% of black adults are more likely to watch the sport because of the launch of the new team, 23XI Racing, owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan and pro driver Denny Hamlin. The team’s driver is Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in the sport at the moment.
Also, 29% of sports fans are more likely to watch the races due to the launch of the Trackhouse Racing team, partly owned by Latin entertainer Pitbull.
37. NASCAR was one of the first major sports to resume activities after the pandemic.
(The Associated Press)
Like other major sports in the US, NASCAR saw double-digit losses in viewership due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. However, after implementing tight protocols, it became the first sport to compete a full season in 2021.
The enforcement of security measures did not go smoothly, though. By August, four drivers were forced to miss a race because of Covid-19 protocols, raising the question of whether drivers have to be vaccinated or will a negative test be enough for them to compete.
38. Interest in NASCAR betting is on the rise.
(USA TODAY) (NASCAR)
So far, sports like basketball and football generate the lion’s share of sports betting, with motorsports falling way behind. In fact, less than one-tenth of one percent of sports wagers have been placed on motor racing.
However, these trends are about to change as more people are becoming interested in NASCAR. Live betting is said to push this trend forward, with industry experts expecting in-race betting to make up 70 to 75% of the overall handle in about five years.
At the Finish Line
Not even the coronavirus could deflate the enthusiasm surrounding NASCAR races. Despite declining viewership numbers and drivers’ salaries, NASCAR facts and stats show that this sport still retains its loyal fan base. What’s more, big names are getting involved in the sport, attracting new fans who are sure to bring NASCAR back to its glory days.
- Athletic Panda
- CBS Sports Network
- Daytona International Speedway
- Driven Motorsport Tickets
- Essentially Sports
- Money Inc.
- Morning Consult
- Performance Research
- Rookie Road
- Rookie Road
- Sports Media Watch
- Sports Media Watch
- SportsPro Media
- SportsPro Media
- SportsPro Media
- SportsPro Media
- The Associated Press
- The Associated Press
- The NASCAR Hall of Fame
- The Washington Post
- Travel Channel
- USA TODAY
- Vernon Morning Star
- World Atlas
- World of Speed
- Yahoo Finance