For decades, rumors have circulated that historic North Wilkesboro Speedway was the site of secret moonshine still. Now some Wilkes County locals may have more reason to say ‘I told you so,’ as a possible moonshine cave has been discovered underneath the concrete frontstretch grandstands.

During grandstand cleaning and inspection last week, operations staff discovered cracks in the original concrete in section N toward Turn 1. Crews began removing seats to inspect the extent of the damage and evaluate needs for repair. During the process, an open area of approximately 700-square-feet was discovered underneath the aging concrete.

“When we began renovating and restoring North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2022, we’d often hear stories of how an old moonshine still was operated here on the property under the grandstands,” said Steve Swift, senior vice president of operations and development at Speedway Motorsports. “Well, we haven’t found a still (yet), but we’ve found a small cave and an interior wall that would have been the perfect location to not only make illegal liquor, but to hide from the law as well. We don’t know how people would have gotten in and out, but as we uncover more, there’s no telling what we might find.”

So far, approximately 600 seats have been removed from sections N and O, and Speedway Motorsports staff are evaluating next steps for foundation repair and concrete replacement in advance of the upcoming May 14-19 NASCAR All-Star Race Week.

“Now we have a race before the race,” Swift commented. “The area that’s been affected by the sinkhole is a frontstretch grandstand area with some of the best views of the track. We’ll have a lot of work to get done before NASCAR All-Star Race Week.”

After opening in 1947, North Wilkesboro Speedway became one of NASCAR’s original race tracks when it hosted the season finale for the inaugural Strictly Stock (now Cup) Series in 1949. The .0625-mile short track hosted NASCAR races until it closed in 1996. Following an extensive restoration, North Wilkesboro Speedway returned to the NASCAR Cup schedule on May 21, 2023, hosting the NASCAR All-Star Race.

— Speedway Motorsports —