Analyzing World Wide Technology Raceway

·3 min read

If it seems like there have been a lot of inaugural races recently, that is because there have been. Longstanding contracts with two principal partners, Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) expired in the past couple of years and the sanctioning body now has the liberty to change the schedules radically – which they have in some imaginative ways.

Forward-thinking individuals in both organizations have decided to lease in-demand tracks, such as SMI did in 2021 with the Circuit of the Americas and how they are considering bringing a race to the Nashville Fairgrounds in the near future. ISC will completely reconfigure Auto Club Speedway from its current two-miles to a Bristol Motor Speedway style short track.

The result is that fans are getting to see a much greater frequency of new venues that challenge drivers' skills than at any other time in the Modern Era.

In 1974, Pocono Raceway hosted their first race. It would not be until 1988 that Phoenix Raceway came on board to break up the monotony. We count the major reconfiguration of Richmond Raceway as a new course and it debuted that same year. In 1989 Sonoma Raceway was added.

In the mid-1990s, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1993), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval (1994) joined.

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Six tracks debuted from 1997 through 2001. These were Texas Motor Speedway (1997), Auto Club (1997), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1998), Homestead-Miami Speedway (1999), Kansas Speedway (2001) and Chicagoland Speedway (2001). Kentucky Speedway was added in 2011.

From 2018 through 2021, six new tracks have been added: The Charlotte Motor Speedway road course (2018), Daytona International Speedway road course (2020), Bristol Dirt Track (2021), Nashville Superspeedway (2021), the Indy road course (2021), and COTA (2021). The 2022 season will see a seventh new track in World Wide Technology Raceway; next year, Auto Club will become the eighth new venue.

That doesn't mean we are left entirely in the dark, however. WWT Raceway was on the Xfinity calendar from 1997 through 2010 and during that span, four active Cup drivers won races there. The Camping World Truck Series has visited the course since 1998, with a brief hiatus from 2011 through 2013, and five drivers in the Cup field this year have wins. The list of those winners is at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, this track will probably have some solid comparatives with the short, flat tracks of Phoenix, New Hampshire, Richmond, and Martinsville Speedway.

Banked at 11 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, it is like New Hampshire. A flatter nine degrees in 3 and 4 may make that corner race like Phoenix. At 1.25-miles in length, we will probably give less thought to Richmond and Martinsville when race time rolls around.

This track is also egg-shaped like Darlington Raceway, which will add to the challenge. If the asphalt proves to be overly course, it might fit with the rough-surfaced tracks.

2022 Race
June 5, Inaugural race

Active Winners
None: inaugural race

(Other series)
Kevin Harvick: 2 Xfinity races, 2000 & 2001 and 1 Truck race, 2010
Brad Keselowski: 1 Xfinity race, 2010 (last for series)
Kyle Busch: 1 Xfinity race, 2009
Martin Truex Jr.: 1 Xfinity race, 2004

Ross Chastain: 1 Truck race, 2019
Justin Haley: 1 Truck race, 2018
Christopher Bell: 1 Truck race, 2016
Cole Custer: 1 Truck race, 2015
Bubba Wallace: 1 Truck race, 2014

Short, flat tracks
17: Kevin Harvick
14: Kyle Busch
13: Denny Hamlin
8: Kurt Busch
7: Martin Truex, Jr., Joey Logano
6: Brad Keselowski
2: Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott
1: Aric Almirola

Top-5s
Short, flat tracks

58: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch
51: Kevin Harvick
35: Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski
30: Martin Truex, Jr.
26: Kurt Busch
15: Chase Elliott
14: Kyle Larson
10: Ryan Blaney
8: Aric Almirola
3: Christopher Bell, William Byron, Austin Dillon
2: Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, Ricky Stenhouse. Jr.

Current Streaks
None: inaugural race

First-time Winners
None: inaugural race

2021 Race
None: inaugural race

Short, flat tracks: Richmond, Martinsville, Phoenix, Gateway, and New Hampshire

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Atlanta Motor Speedway
Auto Club Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt)
Charlotte Motor Speedway (oval)
COTA
Darlington Raceway
Dover International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway
Kansas Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Martinsville Speedway
Phoenix Raceway
Richmond Raceway
Talladega Superspeedway