North Wilkesboro Speedway is one of the very few defunct race tracks that found its way back onto the Cup Series calendar. NASCAR has come and gone to multiple circuits throughout the years. Here are five race tracks that NASCAR used to race at, that no longer host racing.
5. Nazareth Speedway
Originally a dirt oval, Roger Penske purchased the property in Nazareth, Pennsylvania in 1986 and built 1.0 mile tri-oval that hosted multiple IndyCar and NASCAR races during the years. Because of the track’s strange shape, there is dispute on how many turns the track has. Officially, there are four turns at the race track.
According to Racing Reference, The track never hosted the Cup Series, but it hosted the Xfinity Series, Truck Series, Arca Menards East Series, and the Modifieds. The best race at the track arguably was the final race at the track in 2004. Martin Truex Jr, en route to the first of his two Xfinity Series Championships, made a last lap pass on Bobby Hamilton Jr for the win.
The track has now fallen into complete disrepair. The grandstands have been torn down, and foliage grows all over the property. There seems to be no real chance for racing to return to the race track.
4. Texas World Speedway
Texas World Speedway in College Station is a 2.0 mile d-shaped oval. From above, it looks identical to Michigan International Speedway and the former Auto Club Speedway.
According to Racing Reference, it hosted some sporadic Cup Series races between 1969 and 1981, and it even hosted Arca Menards Series races during an attempted revival of the track in the 1990s. The final Arca race there was won by Darrell Waltrip in 1993. During the Cup Series races at the track, there were 20+ lead changes in five of the seven races.
The track fell into disrepair twice during its history. First after NASCAR left in 1981 and after its’ attempted revival in the 1990s. The track was used to park cars that were dumped from Hurricane Harvey, and is now in the process of being demolished.
3. Greenville-Pickens Speedway
When asked about which track hosted the first live television broadcast of a NASCAR race, many may say Daytona because of the 1979 Daytona 500. That is incorrect, as it was actually Greenville-Pickens which hosted that race. The Greenville 200 on April 10, 1971, which was won by Bobby Isaac.
According to Racing Reference, the 0.5 mile track hosted 28 Cup Series races from 1955 until 1971, before it was taken off the schedule when NASCAR entered its’ modern era. Since then, it has hosted K&N Pro Series East Series (Now Arca Menards Series East Series) races featured winner from the likes of Bubba Wallace, Joey Logano, Corey LaJoie, and William Byron.
The track’s future is quite shaky as it is not hosting any kind of racing this year, and, according to NBC 4 WYFF, is currently “under contract” after being listed for sale. No one really knows whether or not the track can host any more racing yet. However, with Greenville being one of NASCAR’s top TV markets, this market could be the darkest of dark horses for NASCAR to return to at some point in the future.
2. Daytona Beach Course
The race track that started it all. The Daytona Beach Course was a 3-4 mile track which half ran on Daytona Beach and half ran on Florida Highway A1A. It was the track that hosted the first sanctioned NASCAR race, a modified race in 1948 won by Red Byron.
Before Daytona International Speedway was built, the NASCAR would race on the beach course on the traditional February race date from 1949 until 1958 according to Racing Reference. Because of the tides on the beach, NASCAR had to plan which times they would host the races based on those tides.
It’s understandable then why Bill France decided to build Daytona International Speedway. The beach still exists to this day, and it is a historic place due to the land speed worlds records that were set on the beach. However, NASCAR will likely never host a race here again.
1. Rockingham Speedway
Affectionately nicknamed “The Rock” by fans, Rockingham Speedway was a staple of the NASCAR schedule for almost four decades. The 1.017 mile high banked track featured high speeds and multi-groove racing.
According to Racing Reference, 78 races were hosted at the track. The first race was hosted in 1965 and won by Curtis Turners, and the track hosted two races per year from 1966 onwards. Unfortunately, as a product of NASCAR’s expansion, the track was closed following the 2004 season.
NASCAR did make a brief return to the track with two Truck Series races in 2012 and 2013 won by Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson. With the $40 million allocated by governor Roy Cooper to race tracks in North Carolina, Justin Jones, Vice President of Operations at the track, said to WBTW News that they intend to install lights, repave the track, and hopefully bring NASCAR back. With North Wilkesboro returning, could Rockingham be next to come back to the NASCAR schedule?
With North Wilkesboro coming back, it truly shows that anything is possible when it comes to tracks coming back. Could a track like Rockingham or Greenville-Pickens make a NASCAR comeback sometime soon?