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Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by phartman, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Visited another old racetrack this past week...the track at North Wilkesboro that had been on the NASCAR cup circuit. Spooky. There are spirits about. A highly recommended stop. A Bruton Smith property. Better go visit while it's still there....

    http://www.savethespeedway.net/

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    The Uphill Downhill Track. From turn 4 to turn 1 there is a 17' elevation difference. Downhill on the front stretch, uphill on the back stretch. These old racetracks had real character. When you are inside- looking at the track- it has a personality all of its own. You couldn't possibly be anywhere else. You know you're at N. Wilkesboro. These new tracks? Anywhere USA. What a shame.

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    The caretaker for the Speedway. Lives on the property. Keeps the grass cut, feeds the stray cats that show up every once-in-a-while. Full of stories. Our visit passed way too quickly. An encyclopedia of knowledge about the glory days of NASCAR. Very nice gentleman, welcomes visitors. Other than he and his pug, Bill, it's pretty quiet at North Wilkesboro these days.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  2. travj31
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    travj31 Member
    1. Pittsburgh Area Rodders

    looks like a cool track... how long has it been closed?
  3. cookiemonster131
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    cookiemonster131 Member

    it is a great track, and i drive by it frequently
  4. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Closed is a relative term. There is a group that is trying to promote Late Model Races at the track and had one scheduled for earlier this summer. Mobbed with fans on Saturday night, but got rained out. Sunday reschedule was a bust. There is interest in using it as a testing facility, but the racetrack surface is turning to seed and has quite a bit of grass growing up through it. Needs some work.

    The Cup Tour last raced there in 1996.

    Here is a graduate thesis on the history of the track from the website. Great stuff.:

    http://www.savethespeedway.net/history.html
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  5. amodel25
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    amodel25 Member

    I had an opportunity to walk the track back in 1995. An awesome piece of racing history. The difference in elevation from the front stretch to the back is very obvious when you are standing there.
  6. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

  7. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  8. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    From the dirt track at Starkey, a suburb of Roanoke, VA. The pics from the dragstrip there have been featured from time to time here on the HAMB. All of it is now gone. Housing development. More here:

    http://www.vaautoracing.org/

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    In case you want to try and find the site today...it's a softball field, I'm told.

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  9. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

  10. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Interesting database of historical N.C. speedways. Many more than I ever imagined.

    http://www.ncdirtracing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4395


    Airport Speedway, Charlotte c.1935
    Angola Speedway, Jacksonville
    Asheville Airport Speedway, Asheville c.1960 1/4m
    Asheville Fairgroungs, Asheville c.1940 1/2m
    Asheville Motor Speedway, Asheville c1960-61 1/3m
    Asheville-Weaverville Speedway aka Skyline, Weaverville c.1950-57
    Carolina Beach Speedway, Wilmington, NC
    Colletsville Speedway
    Saw Mill Speedway aka J&J, 1/4m
    Atlantic District fairgrounds, Ahoskie, c.1952 1/2m
    Belmont* c.1940s 1/8m
    Bennett Speedway, Bennett, c.mid 50s 1/4m
    Biscoe Speedway, Biscoe, c.1952
    Blair Speedway/Tri-CitySpeedway/Tri-State Speedway, High Point, c.1947-54 1/2m
    Capella Speedway, Winston-Salem, c.1948
    Caswell County Raceway, Leasburg, c.2004
    CC Motorsports, Bethany, c.1999 1/8m
    Chadbourn Speedway, Chadbourn
    Charlotte Speedbowl Betties Ford Rd.Charlotte, c.1950
    Chase City, c.1950
    Clingman Speedway, Rhonda, c.1977-2001
    Clinton Fairgrounds, Clinton, c.1936
    Concord Fairgrounds, S&D site Concord, c.1925-34, 1/2m
    Concord Speedway aka Widenhouse-Cadwell Speedway, Concord, c.1949 1/2m
    Diamond Speedway, Stokesdale, c.1960s
    Dunn Legion Speedway, Dunn, c.1949-71
    Edmonds Speedway, Edmonds, c.1950s, 1/4m
    Fairview aka Hollywood, Asheville, c1949
    Fayetteville, c.1937, 1/2m
    Fayetteville, c.1948, 1/2m
    Frankiln Speedway, Franklin, c.1968-75, 1/4m
    Gastonia Fairgrounds aka Spindle City Speedway, c.1953-64, 1/3m
    Goldsboro Speedway, Goldsboro, c.1952-55, 1/2m
    Greenhill Speedway, Mount Airy, c.1956, 1/4m
    Greensboro, on US220, c.1957
    Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds, Hickory, c.1946,
    High Point Motor Speedway, c.1940-42, 1m
    Hooker Speedway, Sparta, c.mid70s
    Jacksonville Speedway aka Onslow, Jacksonville, c.1952-64, 1/2m
    Jet Motor Speedway, Stem, c.1968, 1/2m
    Kings Mountain Speedway, c.1954, 3/8m
    Lakeview Speedway, Lexington, c.1948-49, 5/8m
    Lakewood Speedway, Denver, c.L1940s-52, 3/4m
    Laurinburg*, c.1934, 1/2m
    Legion Speedway, Wilmington, c.1954
    Lumberton*, c.1954
    Marion Speedway, c.1957-E70s
    Midland Dustbowl, Midland, c.1948-E50s, 1/2m
    Morehead City*, c.Mid50s, 1/2m
    Mont Airy Speedway, c.1946-47, 1/2m
    North Davidson Speedway, Midway 15m S of W-S, c.1995-90, 1/8m
    Peace Haven Speedway aka Winston-Salem Speedway, W-S, c.1948-57, 1/2m
    Pender County Speedway, Rocky Point, c.1979-87, 1/2m
    Ponderosa Speedway, Oakboro, c.M60s, 1/2m
    Reidsville*, c.1948
    Rimer/Rimertown Speedway, Cabarrus County
    Roanoke Rapids, c.1936, 1/2m
    Roaring River Speedway, c.1978-86, 3/8m
    Salisbury Super Speedway, c.1932-41, 58-61, M60s, 1/2m
    Sanford Motor Speedway, c.L60s, 1/4m
    South Side Park, W-S, c.1935, 1/4m
    Sportsman Park aka Elizabeth City, c.1950s, 1/4m
    Statesville Speedway, c.1948-49, 1/2m
    Tri-City Speedway, Creedmore, c.1952-68, 4/10m
    Tri-State Motor Speedway, Greensboro,
    c.1034-35
    Union County Speedway,
    Weddington,c.Mid1960s, 1/4m
    Wadesboro*, old horse track SE of town on
    52, maybe at Intersecton of 52, Country Cllub
    Rd and Covington Thomas Rd., c.1948-53,
    1/2m
    Wadesboro*, c.1956-58, 3/4m
    Washington*, c.1950-52
    Whiteville Speedway, c.1964-65, 1/2m
    Williamston Fairgrounds, c.1934-39, 1/2m
    Wilmington Coastal Fairgrounds, c.1937-49, 3/4m
    Woodland* c.1934, 1/2
  11. Great thread, phartman. Love to see the old photos and history of the early days of stock car racing. ...Don.
  12. slickhale
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    slickhale Member

    great info. now i have more stuff to search for next time i'm virginia. looking at that map i'm pretty sure i've been to the softball fields that are where the starkey track was many times, i had no idea.
  13. arkiehotrods
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    arkiehotrods
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    I agree, great thread! Thanks!
  14. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    The old Raleigh Speedway, aka Southland Speedway. Located between Capital Boulevard and Wake Forest Road near the Beltline. Demolished in 1967, RIP.



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    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  15. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    N.C. State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh (different place than the track above). Saw the last Cup race on dirt there. Here is the dedication of the state historic marker from YouTube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeSxiu6DC-Q


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    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  16. OahuEli
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    OahuEli
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    Is South Boston still open? Got to see a couple races there back in the '90s.
  17. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    A great old track, another one that formerly was on the Cup circuit. South Boston is home of the Burton Brothers. The track is used from time-to-time primarily for late model races. Lots of character (and characters).

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    Took this pic of a junkyard just up the road from the track. Evidence of the glory days is everywhere you look.

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  18. Rex Stallion
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    Rex Stallion Member

    Wow ! the stands look way better than our local track. What happened?
  19. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    What happened at North Wilkesboro? Lost the date to Talledega Speedway, and that was the beginning of the end. NASCAR decided that fans wanted bigger and something that appealed to the masses. They tried to homogenize out the character of these old speedways. What a mistake that turned out to be.

    The seats are unique. Metal folding chairs with the back legs cut off and welded to a plate anchored in the concrete. A hillbilly way of making bleachers with seatbacks, but hey, that's what we love about the place.

    A very cool site to visit. Can't recommend it highly enough.

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  20. NASCAR turned it's back to the "old school tracks" and the "old school fans" and they're feeling the repercussions now. All of those empty seats at those miserable "cookie-cutter" 1 1/2 mile speedways are not just because of the economy.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  21. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

  22. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    The other Charlotte track you never heard about....

    A 1/2 mile clay track located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Queen City was built in the late 60s and only survived a year or two. Located at the end of a runway at Douglas Airport, the neighbors complained about the noise of the racetrack. The track was forced to cease operation shortly after.

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  23. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    And from nearby Shelby, NC....note the promoter from way back when! :eek:


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  24. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    From Southland Speedway (Raleigh) posted earlier....

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  25. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    From the old Myrtle Beach Dragstrip, now a housing development. Just off 601 west of town on the way to Conway. Near where the NASCAR track is now. Pics I look in the late '60s. A very nice dragstrip, ahead of its time....

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    Stills from a grainy home movie shot at the racetrack after it was abandoned in the '70s.

    http://z3.invisionfree.com/Shadyside_Dragway/index.php?showtopic=9890&st=0&

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    The staging lanes and launchpad was a single paved area, but the two lanes had a broad grass strip in between them. Very progressive for the time.

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  26. racer67x
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    racer67x Member

    that NRA car in the junkyard looks like it was driven by the other "Man in Black" Jerry Glanville..he was another who made his money in football then blew it racing..lol.
    also,Daytona has the same setup with the old steel chairs..must have been a popular way of building bleachers back in day down south.
    cool thread,thanks!
  27. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)


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    Man oh man you have a good eye. You're right!

    http://www.racingwest.com/drivers/jerry-glanville/


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  28. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Champion Speedway, Fayetteville, NC. Used on the Cup circuit in the '50s, demolished and now part of an industrial park. NASCAR driver Rex White won his first race there (not a picture of the track, just of Mr. White. Check out those fancy driving shoes.He must have been sponsored by Carolina Boot Company.)


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  29. phartman
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    phartman Member
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

  30. ClutchDumpinDan
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    ClutchDumpinDan
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    Great thread! Go Pete go! :D

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