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Knowing the basics of a NASCAR race will make you less of a neophyte and more of an informed fan. You can also get an understanding of how tough it is on the drivers and teams by knowing how many different tracks the series travels to and the length of each race.
But keep in mind that a NASCAR race isn't just a single race. NASCAR races are often referred to as ‘events ‘, because in addition to the actual race, there is practice and qualifying that all happen prior. In the Nextel Cup series, the practice and qualifying can happen as many as three days prior to the race although it's usually the previous day. Most Busch and Truck series races compact their practice, qualifying and race all into one day.
Forty-three cars make up a NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series race. Thirty-six trucks make up a full field in the Craftsman Truck Series. The tracks on the circuit range in size from .526 to 2.577 miles in length and include two road courses. The individual races are anywhere from 100 laps to 600 miles in length.
If you can't get a ticket to a race on Sunday, try going on one of the preceding days. Most tracks charge either a nominal fee of nothing at all to watch practice of qualifying and it might be a great introduction to NASCAR without having to sit through a 500-mile race.