Father Time is merciless to everyone. And everything. Even cherished race tracks.
From 1949 to 1996, NASCAR thundered around the 5/8-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway in Wilkes County, North Carolina.
A who’s who of stock car legends makes up the winner’s list, with guys like Buck Baker, Junior Johnson, Lee and Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon among those on it.
But following Gordon’s victory there on Sept. 29, 1996 came the end of NASCAR at North Wilkesboro.
Bob Bahre, then-owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Speedway Motorsports CEO Bruton Smith bought the track that year, and eventually decided to split its two race dates between them; Smith took the spring date for his new Texas Motor Speedway, while Bahre claimed the fall date for New Hampshire.
Short-track racing briefly returned to North Wilkesboro in 2010. According to Save The Speedway, an organization dedicated to re-opening the track, the group that came in also made a sizable investment:
Unfortunately, the track went silent again in 2011 and has since been left to face the ravages of time.
Yesterday, a YouTube user named Bob Asbury uploaded a clip that gives viewers a birds-eye view of the track as it stands now. Or rather, a drone’s-eye view as the clip itself was shot with a DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus drone.
If you’re from the older generation of NASCAR fans, this may make you shake your head or even shed a tear.
And if you’re younger, watch this and know that tracks such as these were what served as the foundation of the sport for many, many years.
Check it out at the top…