Figure 8 racing

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Figure 8 racing late 1940s at the Indianapolis Speedrome
Overhead shot of the track Indianapolis Speedrome
Night racing

Figure 8 racing is a form of banger racing in which automobiles race on a track that purposely intersects itself, increasing the risk of collisions. Figure-8 racing is most common and popular in the United States and Canada, in contrast to the oval-track banger racing seen in Europe.


Racing is done on a track shaped like an 8. The cars cross paths at the center of the 8, which is known as the "crossover" or "The X". Because of this layout, crashes are common. Figure 8 racing is a unique sport that requires strict attention to detail and timing to successfully navigate the crossover. In Canada figure 8 racing takes place as a part of demolition derby events. Two obstacles, often concrete blocks or vehicles are placed in the demolition derby ring to form a figure 8 track.


Figure 8 track racing began right after World War II in the late 1940s. The track may have had an overpass so that the cars did not cross each other's paths. Most historians believe that the first track where drivers crossed each other's paths was the 1/5 mile long Indianapolis Speedrome.[1][2] The sport received nationwide publicity when it was frequently televised on ABC's Wide World of Sports in the 1960s, usually from the Islip Speedway in Islip, New York.[3][4]


The cars used are often standard cars, but are usually modified for lightness and safety, by removing the window glass and often adding a roll cage.[5] A wing much like a sprint car may be placed on the roof to increase downforce. The cars' bodies are typically made out of sheet metal. All manner of vehicles have been used. School buses have become popular, especially at county fairs, because of their extended exposure for crashes.[5]

World championship[edit]

The oldest operating figure 8 track in the United States is Indianapolis Speedrome in Indianapolis. The track has been in operation since the 1940s. It hosts the annual World Figure 8 race, which is considered the world championship event.[6] The first 3 hour long endurance race was held in 1977.[7][8]

Notable Figure 8 tracks[edit]

Note that many of these speedway tracks have configurations that allow for both standard oval racing and figure-8 races.



  1. ^ 3-Hour Figure World Championship 2004, John Stark, The Cheers magazine, 2004, Retrieved January 30, 2007
  2. ^ History of Figure 8 racing
  3. ^ Figure 8 News
  4. ^ The Garage Blog
  5. ^ a b Barrett, Joe (August 14, 2010). "Hold Tight, Kids: School Bus Races Rock County Fairs". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ World Figure 8 Stats - Speedrome -Home of the World Figure 8 Championship
  7. ^ Suffolk Life Newspapers - A Night At The Track
  8. ^ Figure 8 USA

External links[edit]