Silent Speedways of the Carolinas

The Grand National Histories of 29 Former Tracks


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About the Book

NASCAR held its first Strictly Stock race in Charlotte on June 19, 1949, and, in the following decades, dozens of large and small tracks throughout the Carolinas were home to a major NASCAR event. Called Grand National from 1950–1970, NASCAR’s top circuit became the Winston Cup in 1971, and most of the dirt and small tracks were subsequently gutted from the schedule. Although a handful of those speedways tenuously held on through exploding popularity, and an influx of big corporate dollars, the transition to metropolitan markets and super speedways was inevitable. Some of the original tracks, like the North Wilkesboro Motor Speedway, still stand testament to the sport’s not-too-distant past. Others, like the Charlotte Speedway, are long gone, leaving only memories and photographs.

This is the story of every racetrack in North and South Carolina that held at least one big-time race through 1971, but is no longer used for auto racing. Seven are one-race wonders, while others are as much racing legends as the sport’s past champions. Chapters cover each track’s big time history, from early background through its racing years to its current status. Included are the thrilling tales of the personalities and machines that shaped NASCAR’s early days. Statistics chart every track’s past winners, records, and wins by make. The 151 photographs give the reader a virtual tour of speedways that are often inaccessible or nonexistent.

About the Author(s)

Perry Allen Wood is an investigator for Wells Fargo Bank and a noted racing historian. He has written three other McFarland books on stock car racing, appears weekly on Droppin’ the Hammer and lives in Spartanburg.

Bibliographic Details

Perry Allen Wood

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: 151 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2817-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0261-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       ii
Preface      1

1. Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds, Spartanburg, South Carolina      5
2. Charlotte Speedway, Charlotte, North Carolina      32
3. Columbia Speedway, Columbia, South Carolina      41
4. Hartsville Speedway, Hartsville, South Carolina      86
5. Cleveland County Fairgrounds Speedway, Shelby, North Carolina      90
6. Harris Speedway, Harris, North Carolina      96
7. Occoneechee Speedway, Hillsborough, North Carolina      100
8. Newberry Speedway, Newberry, South Carolina      125
9. Salisbury Super Speedway, Salisbury, North Carolina      131
10. Starlite Speedway, Monroe, North Carolina      134
11. Harris Speedway, Concord, North Carolina      137
12. Spindle Center Fairgrounds Speedway, Gastonia, North Carolina      144
13. North Carolina State Fairgrounds Speedway, Raleigh, North Carolina      149
14. Raleigh Speedway, Raleigh, North Carolina      153
15. Wilson County Fairgrounds Speedway, Wilson, North Carolina      159
16. Dog Track Speedway, Moyock, North Carolina      167
17. Harnett County Speedway, Spring Lake, North Carolina      172
18. Forsyth County Fairgrounds, Winston-Salem, North Carolina      176
19. Coastal Speedway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina      180
20. Jacksonville Speedway, Jacksonville, North Carolina      184
21. Champion Speedway, Fayetteville, North Carolina      190
22. Southern States Fairgrounds, Charlotte, North Carolina      194
23. Tar Heel Speedway, Randleman, North Carolina      203
24. Tri-City Speedway, High Point, North Carolina      210
25. McCormick Field, Asheville, North Carolina      213
26. Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, Asheville, North Carolina      218
27. New Asheville Speedway, Asheville, North Carolina      231
28. Greensboro Agricultural Fairgrounds Speedway, Greensboro, North Carolina      237
29. North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina      240

Sources      283
Index      285

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “highly recommended”—Gaston Gazette
  • “a wealth of data…an educational experience…turning the pages…will unleash the smell of hot oil, the roar of old time V-8 engines, and the ghosts of racing past”—Our State
  • “these speedways were crucial outlets—and the Carolinas a vital market—for NASCAR during the sanctioning body’s ascent to the prominent cultural and economic spot it holds today. Fans of the sport will enjoy Wood’s book”—The North Carolina Historical Review
  • “provides a fertile data field for scholars…Wood has done his homework…recommended…well-documented information about the Carolinas’ tracks of the past”—Appalachian Journal
  • “Wood brings a poetic flair and passion to his subject”—Ashe Mountain Times.