Underwriting Ratings for Auto Racing - Revisited
Oval track racing has one of the largest participant bases for auto racing within the U.S. - and Gen Re’s North America Life underwriters have recently completed a detailed analysis of activity on these tracks which lead to a revision of our rating guidelines. From Abbottstown, Pennsylvania and Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Zanesville, Ohio and Zephyrhills, Florida, we mapped 952 short tracks throughout the U.S. Every state has at least one short oval track; Washington D.C. has none. Which states have the most tracks? Pennsylvania has 51 and Iowa is a close second with 50. We also found that 80% of oval tracks are dirt or clay with the balance being asphalt, and 85% are 1/4 to 1/2 mile in length.
NASCAR’s and ARCA’s premier series were considered separately in our analysis as professional stock car racing. These series compete primarily on speedways and superspeedways (a track 2 miles long or more) where cars achieve much higher speeds relative to short ovals.
Drivers racing around short oval tracks drove a variety of four-wheeled competition vehicles. The largest group we found were participants racing Stock Cars in classes ranging from small four cylinder, front wheel drive imports to custom tube frame vehicles with 800 horsepower V8 engines. The second largest group of drivers were racing Modifieds which were found to be more consistent in physical size and performance to each other, with one exception being the extreme class of Super Modifieds. The smallest group of drivers were racing Sprint Cars. Sprint cars have many variations in size and performance capabilities, from small frame vehicles such as 1/4 midgets to full-sized 360 Winged Sprints. We also tabulated participants in juvenile classes and novelty-type events such as School Bus, Trailer and Skid Plate racing.
Oval track drivers compete in championships sanctioned by individual tracks or by sanctioning bodies holding regional championships which take place at tracks in states near to each other. There are over 200 regional series in the U.S. for Stock Cars, Modifieds and Sprints.
Mortality and morbidity risks for drivers vary depending on a number of different factors- specific characteristics of the competition vehicles and race tracks, speeds, and safety standards mandated by the various sanctioning bodies.
Gen Re has been tracking motorsport mortality data for more than 10 years and has statistics for multiple decades. This data coupled with our in-depth knowledge of the types of risks inherent to motorsport activity led us to adopt new rates for the types of racing described here. We invite you to take advantage of our expertise and updated ratings by submitting your auto racing risks facultatively to Gen Re.