We love talking about vintage cars and once-great models that are now all but forgotten. But cars are not the only thing that gets forgotten with time. As time moves forward, we leave a lot behind. We lose people along the way, move houses or cities, and leave memories behind. The same thing happens to things and places. Itâs in human nature to always look and move forward.
So, itâs no surprise that the places that once hosted crowds of peopleÂ thronging to see the sights they offered have also been forgotten and abandoned over time. Take these 15 NASCAR race tracks for example. Once they were in great demand, playing host to thousands of screaming fans and booming NASCAR race cars, and considered hallowed grounds of racing history. Today, they lay abandoned and forgotten. Do you remember any of these iconicÂ race tracks that madeÂ NASCAR history?
Once a horse-racing track, the Occoneechee Speedway became a NASCAR track in early 1949, till it finally closed doors in 1969. The last win on it was by Richard Petty and this was also the place where Louise Smith became NASCAR’s first female driver. While there is a jogging track for NASCAR buffs to visit, most of it is covered in overgrowth.
The Riverside Intâl Raceway became a part of motorsport in 1957 and was considered one of the finest race car tracks on this side of the world. It was also a rather dangerous one and ended up taking the lives of 19 drivers. After being abandoned, a part of it has been covered by a mall.
From 1951 all the way until 1971, some of the best NASCAR races happened here. For most of its existence, it was a dirt track, but it was paved for the last of the two Grand Nationals of 1971. ItÂ had beenÂ abandoned for a long time before being repurposed by the public to holdÂ events and festivals.
Opened in 1970, the Ontario Motor Speedway was a relatively new entrant to the world of motorsports, built to accommodate all four major racing sanctioning authorities: NASCAR, NHRA, FIA, and USAC. Within a decade, the audience dipped, and the flag was never raised again at this Speedway after 1980. Today, thereâs a Hilton hotel and commercial development on most of the hallowed tracks.
The big daddy of the lot, the Nazareth Speedway remained in operation for nearly a century â beginning 1910 and closing its doors in 2004. It was a dirt track at nascence and then repaved in 1987 for bigger races. After 2004, it lay abandoned with dirt piles to prevent unauthorized racing till it was bought for commercial development in 2015.
The Jackson International Speedway opened its doors in 1968 and had the fastest half-mile track on it. Bobby Harnell proved his mettle on these very tracks, and yet, once complaints began to pore of the trackâs damaging condition to the cars, NASCAR made a prompt exit. By 1973, it was all over. Today, it’s nothing but dense woods.
Opened in 1969 and closed rather recently in 2017, the Texas World Speedway was a large race track,Â built inÂ a state with a penchant for everything big. With track conditions deteriorating over time, NASCAR called it quits and the Texas World Speedway closed its doors. It was used to dump vehicles affected by Hurricane Harvey and could be developed residentially soon.
When Joe Littlejohn attended the preliminary NASCAR meetings, he also decided to turn his horse racing track into a car racing one. Grand Nationals were held here in the â50s and â60s, but by 1969, NASCAR pulled out of this track. Since then, small-time races have been hosted, but they have been few and far between. Despite some annual events, most of the track is slowly being reclaimed by Mother Nature.
The North Wilkesboro Speedway shares NASCARâs birth year, 1949, and carried on hosting NASCAR events till it closed its doors to the public in 1996. It reopened in 2010 and hosted a few races before the doors were shut again in 2011. Since then, there has been an eerie silence on and around it, usually related to abandonment.
A renowned short track, the I-70 Speedway saw some great names in racing test their mettle on it since its inception in 1969. It fell on hard times and closed down in 2009, despite being home to some of the greats, like Rusty Wallace and Larry Phillips. Paul Newman once rented it too. A smaller track is supposed to be opened there again in 2020. Letâs see if its luck changes.
It opened in 1965 as a flat, one-mile oval, and despite some good racing, it fell into an audience shortage. It was put up for auction in 2007 and soon revived. But, by 2018, the tracks were in bad condition and NASCAR pulled out. Since then, it has been in limbo, though plans are in full swing to yet again open it for racing under new ownership.
Opened in 1988, the Louisville Motor Speedway was a three-cornered track that did well in the beginning but later fell shortÂ due to the advancements that had been made on some of the other tracks. By 2000, the Kentucky Speedway opened and the Louisville Motor Speedway was abandoned for a bit before being completely demolished. Today it hosts an industrial park.
The Middle Georgia Raceway opened in 1966, with many of the racing biggies earning victories there. Richard Petty won four titles, while Bobby Allison won three. In the 1970s, there was also a massive concert held there that the good people of Georgia were none too pleased about. The last race happened in 1971, and by 1986 it was closed. It has been abandonedÂ ever since.
The 67,000-seatÂ racetrack opened to packed houses in 1999 and hosted both NASCAR auto racesÂ andÂ horse races. However, by 2001 it was inÂ serious financial trouble. For a while, the grandstands were torn down but the track remained. Today, nothing is left of the track and the grounds now have a Walmart, a public park, and a Wirtz beverage distribution center.
The Flemington Speedway opened in 1910 and was known as the fastest 5/8 in the United States. This is the race track the pioneered the use of foam blocks and made crashes less risky. By 1990, they paved the track, made it faster and deadlier and its popularity began to decrease dramatically. It was closed in 2002 and demolished by 2005.