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NASCAR isn’t the only race in town

When talking about auto racing, most people think of NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Racing. It is perhaps the most popular sport in America. Along with NASCAR, there are three other main types of auto racing in the United States: Formula 1, Champ Car, and the Indy Racing League. Together, these four racing groups offer a variety of competitions and challenges for drivers and exciting experiences for racing fans.


The Formula 1 racing calendar starts in March and runs through October with 18 races in 18 different countries. The American race is held at Indianapolis Speedway, with the 2006 meet taking place on July 2. The race covers approximately 190 miles or 73 laps at the Indy speedway.

Formula 1 cars have open cockpits, open wheels, and are very low to the ground. They are made with one main goal in mind: speed. Extremely fast speeds define Formula 1 racing.

The chassis, which must be fine-tuned by the racing team, is made of ultra-light materials such as carbon fiber, allowing the cars to glide around the track. They also have wings at the front and rear, which are designed to keep the cars close to the ground and help them reduce air resistance. Every aspect is dedicated to precision and speed and therefore an unnecessary feature like bumpers has been removed. The intimate cabin is in the middle of the vehicle, giving the machine a strong center of gravity. All of these elements help make them extremely aerodynamic and fast – their speeds are in excess of 200 mph.

One of the biggest challenges for the drivers of these cars is the complex circuit they travel. The Indianapolis track has 13 turns, including hairpin turns that require the driver to downshift fast from a speed of nearly 200 mph to 86 mph and then 36 mph. The driver then pushes the throttle up to 160 mph. This all happens during a five-lap sequence that covers about 1/2 mile on the 2.6-mile course. Many Formula 1 races are held on city streets that are turned into racetracks just for that event.

Along with blinding speed, light vehicles and complex courses come the dangers of this sport. When a car going 200 mph loses its grip on the track, spins, and pokes itself into an retaining wall, other drivers have to instantly adjust. If they don’t, the results can be deadly.

Of the four main categories of auto racing, Formula 1 is the least popular in the United States. Perhaps this is due to the international nature of their venues (there is only one race in the United States), coupled with the fact that the races are held biweekly, unlike NASCAR which is held every week except Easter Sunday. .


The 16-race Champ Car World Series begins in late March and runs through mid-November. Fourteen of his races are in the US, Canada, or Mexico, and two other contests are held in Australia and South Korea. Bridgestone is the title sponsor of Champ Car (Champ Car is short for Championship Car).

Although some of the races are held on ovals, most of the contests are held on road courses. In fact, many of the races take place on city streets that have been converted into a racetrack for that weekend. Cities that have established temporary runways include Long Beach and San Jose, CA; Houston, TX; and Denver, CO. Although some are shorter and others a bit longer, most Champ courses are about 2 miles in length. Like their Formula 1 counterparts, Champ Cars reach speeds approaching 200 mph.

Champ Car tracks, for the most part, are shorter than Formula 1 tracks and also have fewer turns and are more gradual. You’ll find that Formula 1 tracks feature between 12 and 20 turns with at least one tight series of hairpin turns, while Champ Car tracks average about 9 turns and while they certainly demand tight maneuvers, they don’t offer the complex angles and extremely narrow. of Formula 1.

Because Champ cars race on ovals along with street courses, they are heavier and have a longer wheelbase. Oval courses with their lack of turning encourage higher speeds, and these speeds put more pressure on a car; thus, a Champ Car’s wheelbase is stronger but less agile than Formula 1 cars. These less maneuverable wheelbases are one of the main reasons Champ Cars don’t have to navigate the odds. ultra tight curves of the fairways that their counterparts have.

There is certainly a rivalry between US-based Champ Car enthusiasts and international Formula 1 fans that focuses on which is the best circuit, has the most competitive races and the best teams. Looking at each type of car, it is difficult to tell the difference between them. They are very similar but each one has unique characteristics.

Formula 1 racing cars run on gasoline and are not turbocharged, while the champions burn methanol and use the turbo. Champ Cars also use grooveless tires, and are allowed to run a set of softer composite wheels, giving them an advantage over other cars, making the race outcome less predictable.

Some racing fans prefer Champ Car to Formula 1 due to the fact that lead changes are more feasible in the former and also because the less stringent tire rules allow for creativity that can produce excitement and positive results on the track. .


The Indy Racing League (IRL) sponsors races primarily on oval tracks, with the centerpiece being the Indianapolis 500, held every year on Memorial Day weekend at Indianapolis Speedway. The schedule, which has the fewest races of the four major racing organizations, produces 14 events. The IRL season starts at the end of March and lasts until the beginning of September. The only road course in this series in 2006 is the Infineon in Sonoma, CA and the only race held outside of the US is held at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.

The IRL was founded in 1996 and has gone through several growing pains ever since. Like the Champ Car World Series, its cars are open-wheel race cars with a center cockpit. At first the IRL had a hard time attracting the best riders; however, as the organization gained credibility, it was able to attract some competitive drivers.

In 2007, as part of an environmentally friendly policy, all IRL cars will run on ethanol. Indy track cars have tires that are similar to those used on Formula 1 cars, while their agility and weight are similar to those of Champ racers.

Of the four racing groups, the IRL may be the weakest when it comes to financial stability and name recognition. Many fans, sportswriters and officials interested in single-seater racing have called for the unification of the IRL and Champ Cars, creating one organization with the best drivers and most competitive racing. Many feel that American Indy car racing would benefit from the strength of having a single group in charge, resulting in a less diluted product and helping to establish dominance over Formula 1.


Even if you don’t know what the letters stand for or have never been in a NASCAR sanctioned race, everyone knows that NASCAR is about stock car racing. Stock cars are simply racing cars that take road models or stock stocks as the base from which the racing car is created.

The Nextel Cup Series, NASCARS’ premier event, begins in February and ends in November. In addition to being the longest racing season, NASCAR also boasts the most events – 39! Plus, they have the most drivers: 50 compared to the 20 or so involved in each of the other organizations.

NASCAR races are held on road courses, ovals, irregular-shaped tracks, and circle tracks. Three things that make NASCAR popular are the consistency of its schedule, the expert machines, crews and drivers, and the organization’s ability to be innovative while continuing to uphold tradition.

The look of stock cars, as opposed to Formula 1, Champ Car, or IRL race cars, makes NASCAR the people’s race because we all drive vehicles that look like Jeff Gordon’s cars. Sterling Martin and Jimmie Johnson maneuver every week. Few of us can see ourselves behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, but many of us drive a Chevy like Tony Stewart, a Dodge like Kyle Petty or a Ford like Dale Jarrett. This connection fans make to the stock car certainly helps spread the popularity of the circuit in the US.

Also, unlike the other three organizations, NASCAR runs its races every week. It’s exhausting, but it also creates a great competitive atmosphere and a huge following that wants to know if Sterling Martin will take out Jeff Gordon like he did last week; and if he does, what will Gordon do about it?

Stock car racing tends to include lots of lead changes, driver matchups, and athletic pit stops. Additionally, NASCAR conducts all of its races in the United States, giving the entire circuit a specific national focus.

While NASCAR isn’t the only game in town, they are the best known and most organized, offering fans weekly competition with an intensity and drive that no other racing organization has rivaled. The other groups certainly have their following and produce a great product, but Formula 1 may be too elitist to reach out to Americans the way NASCAR has. Champ Car is more entrenched in America, but it lacks weekly head-to-head competition and the IRL has been unable to exploit the Indy race car mystique.

You may want to check out the top four racing organizations and their events. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you might find something unique to Formula 1 that you might enjoy as well. Champ Car lovers should be able to get into the non-stop nature of stock car racing. Formula 1 folks may enjoy the variety that NASCAR offers, while real life enthusiasts may like the international flavor of Formula 1.

Then again, these camps and their loyalties may not be interested in crossing over to the other side.


If you think sports betting is limited to the four main sports (American football, basketball, baseball and hockey), think again. Several online sportsbooks offer racing fans the chance to cash in on their favourites. You can easily find odds online on which driver or team will win a race, capture pole position, or finish in the top three.

The cars are running – take part in the excitement on the day of the race.


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