In most sports, the venue is simply a stage where the action takes place. In NASCAR, however, tracks aren't mere backdrops - they're lead characters that influence the drama unfolding on their paved surfaces.

NASCAR venues vary by size and shape. The circuit includes half-mile short tracks, 2.5-mile superspeedways and road courses. They also come in different geometries, ranging from rectangular Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the amorphous Infineon Raceway.

Even if tracks share a similar shape, variations in banking and paving materials differ from one facility to another. Teams must adjust their strategy and car setups accordingly, or else they're doomed to lose.

This guide will brief you on the 22 tracks that make up the NASCAR's Nexte Cup circuit as well as introduce you to one of the season's biggest races, the Daytona 500: Click HERE to download the guide.