Steep learning curve: How banking works in NASCAR

December 13, 2013, NASCAR.com

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Take it to the bank: This is one of NASCAR's most important on-track features

Banking -- in the NASCAR world, it comes down to more than just dollars and cents.

In fact, they're not related at all.

In our sport, banking refers to the degree of incline present on the racing surface at each track. This measurement is present at every speedway, but the amount of banking varies from track to track.

Banking is designed to help a car's downforce and velocity through a turn, while minimizing lateral slip. The main purpose of banking is to ensure safety for everyone involved, as tracks with steep banking allow cars to go faster without losing grip or traction, especially through turns.




The steepest of all tracks where NASCAR holds national series events is Talladega Superspeedway, where the main turns are pitched at a robust 33 degrees.

Conversely, the banking is relatively flat at certain tracks, such as the 7 degrees at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the 9-degree turns of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A handful of tracks on the NASCAR circuit feature progressive banking, where the higher line through the turns has more banking. This allows cars taking the longer way around the track to carry more momentum than those in the lower (and shorter) grooves, producing an equalizer and more competitive racing.

Atlanta Motor Speedway
-- 24-degree banking in turns
-- 5 degrees of banking on the straight

Auto Club Speedway
-- 14-degree banking in turns
-- 11-degree banking in frontstretch
-- 3-degree banking in back straightaway

Bristol Motor Speedway
-- 24- to 28-degree banking in turns
-- 6- to 10-degree banking in straights

Charlotte Motor Speedway
-- 24-degree banking in turns
-- 5-degree banking in straights

Chicagoland Speedway
-- 18-degree banking in turns

Darlington Raceway
-- 25-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2
-- 23-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4

Daytona International Speedway
-- 31-degree banking in turns

Dover International Speedway
-- 24-degree banking in turns
-- 9-degree banking in straights

Homestead-Miami Speedway
-- 18- to 20-degree banking in turns
-- 3-degree banking in straights

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
-- 9- to 12-degree banking in turns

Kansas Speedway
-- 17- to 20-degree banking in turns
-- 9- to 11-degree banking in frontstretch
-- 5-degree banking in backstretch

Kentucky Speedway
-- 14-degree banking in turns
-- 8- to 10-degree banking in tri-oval
-- 4-degree banking in straight

Las Vegas Motor Speedway
-- 18- to 20-degree banking in turns

Martinsville Speedway
-- 12-degree banking in turns

Michigan International Speedway
-- 18-degree banking in turns
-- 12-degree banking at start/finish line
-- 5-degree banking on backstretch

New Hampshire Motor Speedway
-- 2- to 7-degree banking in turns
-- 1-degree banking in straights

Phoenix International Raceway
-- 10- to 12-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2 and backstretch
-- 8- to 9-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4
-- 3-degree banking on frontstretch

Pocono Raceway
-- 14-degree banking in Turn 1
-- 8-degree banking in Turn 2
-- 6-degree banking in Turn 3

Richmond International Raceway
-- 14-degree banking in turns
-- 8-degree banking on frontstretch
-- 2-degree banking on backstretch

Talladega Superspeedway
-- 33-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2
-- 32.4-degree banking in Turn 3
-- 32.5-degree banking in Turn 4
-- 16.5-degree banking in tri-oval
-- 3-degree banking on backstretch

Texas Motor Speedway
-- 24-degree banking in turns