This year, NASCAR is celebrating 75 years of racing. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was founded on February 21, 1948, by Bill France Sr and has since become one of the premier auto racing associations in the world. Since its founding, NASCAR has been home to many of the world’s top racecar drivers, including Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, among others. There’s no doubt that through the last 75 years, NASCAR has built a rich history and legacy throughout the United States.
Unfortunately, however, as time has gone on, some of that history has fallen by the wayside. Just like drivers, sometimes NASCAR tracks fade into history. While many historic tracks remain today, plenty have been lost to the sands of time. In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at several of those tracks.
Perhaps the most famous defunct track, Rockingham Speedway was a fan-favorite speedway up until its final cup series race on February 22, 2004. The track would continue to hold races or the truck series and ARCA series but for the most part is unused. The flat, one-mile oval track was opened on October 31, 1965, when it held The American 500, a 500-mile race that was eventually won by Curtis Turner. For the entirety of its existence on the cup circuit, Rockingham would hold a pair of races each season, holding one race usually early in the season and then holding one race, usually the Carolina 500 in June. The speedway still holds events and some races but does not hold any NASCAR-related races.
The Trenton Speedway dates back all the way to 1900,48-years before NASCAR was founded. NASCAR would start coming to Trenton in 1958 for the Northern 300 where it ran in 1958, 1959, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. Described as a “kidney bean” shaped track, Trenton originally started as a half-mile dirt track for the first 41 years of its existence before becoming a mile oval direct track in 1946. It would make the switch over to asphalt in 1947 before adopting its kidney bean shape in 1969. Trenton would go out of service in June of 1980 before being torn down a few years later.
Located in Laurel Maryland, the Beltsville Speedway was also known as the Baltimore-Washington Speedway during its brief existence. The asphalt, half-mile track opened in 1965 and held just a mere 7,000 races but was a popular track as it held races each year from 1965 through 1970. Overall, 10 NASCAR races were held at the track each year between 1965 and 1970. However, after 1970, NASCAR would not return to Beltsville and it would eventually be closed in 1978. Maryland racing fans can bet on NASCAR, another auto racing series, and more by checking out the latest sports betting promos and more at the top sportsbooks in Maryland.
Texas World is not too far in the past, only closing down officially in 2017, however, it’s been a long time since it last held a NASCAR race. The superspeedway was built in 1967 just outside College Station, Texas. The track over its history would only have a brief relationship with NASCAR. Its first race was held in 1969 and it would hold a total of eight races between 1969 and 1981. Richard Petty won three of those eight races with other legends such as Bobby Issac, Buddy Baker, Darrell Waltrip, and Cale Yarborough also picking up victories.
Perhaps one of the more popular speedways on this list, the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway was a staple of NASCAR’s Cup series from 1958 through 1984. The half-mile oval course opened all the way back in 1904 and has gone through several facelifts since its opening. The Speedway still stands but has not hosted a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1984’s Coors 420. It also held the Pepsi 420 annual event year from 1958 through 1984. NASCAR’s Busch Series and Truck Series would also run Nashville all the way up until 2000 but no NASCAR series has raced there since. ARCA, Super Late Model, and World of Outlaws still race at Nashville Fairgrounds to this day.
The final speedway we will touch on today is the Asheville Speedway that was used by NASCAR from 1951 through 1969. The half-mile oval speedway was home to the Western North Carolina 500 annually. While it was used annually, it was unpopular among locals and eventually closed in 1987 and was torn down. Popular drivers who spent time at Asheville include Richard Petty, Bobby Alison, David Pearson, and Fireball Roberts.
Overall, NASCAR over its 75 years has made lifelong memories for multiple generations, has created some great moments in the history of sports, and has offered exciting and exhilarating weekend escapes for fans everywhere. These race tracks above and many more were a key part of those lifelong memories