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Do Nascar Cars Have Reverse?


Are you a big fan of car racing, especially Nascar? You might have seen these cars zoom forward against one another at the highest speed possible. This might make you wonder. Do Nascar cars have reverse?

The short answer is yes. There is a reverse gear in every Nascar car. However, drivers do not require it while racing, and hence fans never see it in action.

Keep reading to learn more about the reverse gear and other gears in Nascar cars.

Reverse Gear in Nascar Cars

Nascar is one of the biggest stock car racing championships around the world, attracting millions of fans. Over 1500 races are held every year. The cars are slightly different from Formula 1, although the concept of racing remains the same.

Nascar Cars

People have assumed that Nascar cars do not have an inbuilt reverse gear, as one need not go backwards while racing. However, all Nascar cars have a reverse gear. It is one of the statutory requirements for a car to be eligible to race.

Drivers seldom use reverse gear when racing. It can be dangerous to switch to reverse gear at high speed, as cars behind you can collide. Moreover, race cars generally have front suspension. This means that the car can go forward easily but not backwards.

Nascar drivers may employ reverse gear in certain cases as follows

During a Wreck

In the unfortunate event of a car hitting the sidelines or bumping into another car, the driver has to shift to reverse gear to untangle the car.

Nascar emphasizes the safety of drivers and hence has introduced multiple devices to protect them. Check out the Hans Sport III Device on Amazon.

Missing the Pit Box

Sometimes drivers may miss their pitstop and park a little ahead. As a result, they need to go backwards to go to their respective pit box with the reverse gear. However, the chances of this happening on-air are very low.

Sometimes, the pit crew prefers to push the car back to the pit box. Hence the driver may not need to shift to reverse gear at all.

In or Out of the Trailer

Sometimes, the driver has to shift to reverse gear to move the car out of the trailer where it is parked. One may also need to shift to reverse to park the car inside. This is not part of the race and hence fans of Nascar never see the reverse happening.

What are Gears in Nascar vs Formula 1 vs Normal Cars

Formula 1 is the biggest competitor to Nascar in the world of car racing. However, the cars are built differently in both. So let us take a look at how the gears in the cars function when compared to normal cars.

NascarFormula 1Normal Cars
All Nascar cars use a manual transmission.The cars have a sequential automated manual.These cars come in both automatic and manual transmissions.
The cars have a stick shift to switch between gears.No stick shift. The clutch is automatic but the driver has to press paddles on the steering wheel.It depends on the type of transmission. Manual cars have a stick shift. Automatic transmissions do not.
The clutch pedal is rarely used. Drivers shift gears by speed matching.The steering wheel paddles are used instead of the clutch.Drivers use the clutch pedal in manual, but barely in automatic.
Nascar cars have a four-speed gearbox, but they may become six in the future.F1 cars have an eight-speed gearbox.These cars generally have five or six forward gears.

Unlike normal non-racing cars, Nascar and F1 cars must adhere to several stringent requirements. This is why the transmissions and the speeds are fixed uniformly across all cars of a class.

However, all these cars have reverse gear. It is mandatory to have one irrespective of the type of car. Non-racing cars use reverse gear more often than racing cars.

What are some other misconceptions about Nascar Cars?

Besides the supposed lack of reverse gears, there are other misconceptions that many fans of Nascar have. Let us look at some of them.


Nascar Cars Take a Long Time to be Built

People believe that such advanced cars require months for their construction. In reality, it only takes an average of 10 days to build an entire Nascar car from scratch. Each car requires a maximum of 300 person-hours before it is ready to race.

In comparison, many other race cars take more than three months. Nascar has cracked the code in building efficiency.

There is no Horsepower Limit

Since it is a power steering and racing competition, people often assume that Nascar cars can wield as much horsepower as they want.

However, as stated before, Nascar lays down huge emphasis on the safety of its drivers. For example, the board limits the horsepower of all Nascar vehicles to 875. This ensures that no driver can go at dangerous speeds.

By limiting the horsepower, Nascar also makes it a level playing ground for all cars. No car can go at an abnormally high speed.

In comparison, most cars in Formula 1 have a horsepower of 1000 or more. Unfortunately, this also makes it more difficult to reverse.

Nascar Engines Can Run for Long Distances

Another common misconception is that Nascar engines are long-lasting. Fans believe that Nascar engines can last for thousands of miles.

In reality, each Nascar engine is designed to run only up to 1000 miles. Since every race is done at a very high speed, the engine gets worn out quickly. So after each race, engineers dissect the car, remove the engine, and rebuild it.

Formula One cars can last up to an average of 1300 miles, based on the same principle. To put it in perspective, the average automotive engine used in normal SUVs can cover a distance of 1,50,000 miles in its lifespan.


Nascar is a very reputed championship with dedicated drivers and enthusiastic fans in large numbers. The races attract a myriad of fans to the stadium. With a lot at stake, drivers have no direction to go but forward.

Hence one may easily assume that Nascar builds its car without reverse gears. However, they indeed have reverse gears. Rare models even have two reverse gears.

It is almost poetic to make someone assume that you can not go backwards. But, that is the beauty of Nascar drivers.

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