NASCAR CUP TRACKS O - Z
Oakland Stadium - Oakland CA
Oakland Stadium, a 5/8 mile egg shaped oval, with a banking of 62 degrees. The tracks featured paved straight away and dirt corners. It held racing events between 1946 and 1955 that featured Big Cars, Sprints, Midgets, Roadsters, and Hardtops. NASCAR ran three races there. The first in 1951 and the other two in 1954. Marvin Burke: the only man in Cup history with a perfect record. A native of the Bay Area, Burke was enticed to compete in the inaugural race at Oakland Stadium, the first Cup event held in northern California. He would win by over three laps; leading 156 of the 250 laps. It would be three years before NASCAR returned to this facility. Dick Rathman would win the first race here in 1954, and would notch the first ever win for the #3 car in NASCAR. There's some trivia for you... Marvin Panch finished second. The final Cup race would be held later in 1954. Danny Letner would claim his first of two Cup wins. Marvin Panch would also finish second in this race.
Oglethorpe Speedway Park - Savannah GA
The half mile dirt speedway has entertained race fans since March of 1951 when championship motorcycle racing debuted in Savannah. The first stock car race took place at the historic half mile in May of 1951. Johnnie Parsons was the first winner. Parsons was the defending Indy 500 winner that year. The half mile clay speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup Series in March of 1954 and 1955 with distances of 200 laps. The winner of the race on March 28, 1954 was Al Keller in a 1954 Hudson. It was his first of two career wins. He is also noted for driving to victory in the first foreign made car in a Cup race. Keller would out distance Buck Baker by two laps. Gober Sosebee was third. Lee Petty won on March 6, 1955. He would beat runner up Don White by four laps while Dick Rathman was third. This track is still in operation as of 2018. It runs a weekly race schedule with six different divisions, along with some special events.
Occoneechee Speedway - Hillsborough NC
This was one of the first two NASCAR tracks to open. It was a one mile dirt oval that hosted 200 lap NASCAR Cup events beginning in 1949. It saw the third NASCAR Cup race ever held. Bob Flock would win the first Cup race held there. Origanally the land was farm land and the land owner raced horses and built a half mile horse racing track. Bill France noticed the horse racing track and expanse of open land while piloting his airplane. On the site of the earlier horse track, he built a 0.9-mile dirt track in September 1947, two months before NASCAR was organized. The track hosted 32 Cup races over a 20 year period. Oddly the race distance seemed to bounce between 100 and 150 mile for most of the time races were ran here. Richard Petty would win the final race here in 1968 by seven laps over James Hylton. This track also hosted four Convertible Series races. Curtis Turner won the first two, while Joe Weatherly won the other two. The track closed at the end of 1968. Buck Baker and Richard Petty had the most wins here with three; while several drivers won twice.
Old Bridge Stadium - Old Bridge NJ
This track was a 1/2 mile paved track that ran Cup races 200 laps in length. The facility also featured a 1/5 mile track and a 1/8 mile draystrip. It opened in 1953 with the first Cup race held 1956. Jim Reed started on the pole and led the first 176 laps before being passed by Ralph Moody who would go on to grab the win. Lee Petty would get the win in 1957; while 1958 saw Jim Reed again start on the pole and grab the win that elided him two years before. There was a five year gap before NASCAR returned to the track. 1963 would see Joe Weatherly win the pole; and once again the pole winner would lead a large portion of the race and not get the win. Weatherly led the first 179 laps; but was passed by Fireball Roberts who got the win. The 1964 race was name the Fireball Roberts 200; in honor of Roberts who had been killed from injuries six weeks earlier in the World 600. BIlly Wade would get the win. The first of four wins in a row for him. The final Cup race here was in 1965. JUnior Johnson would lead 88 laps in route to the win. Two Convertible Series races were also ran here. Frank Mundy and Bob Welborn would claim those wins. The track closed in 1968
Ontario Motor Speedway - Ontario CA
It was the first and only automobile racing facility built to accommodate major races sanctioned by all of the four dominant racing sanctioning bodies: USAC (and now IndyCar Series) for open-wheel oval car races; NASCAR for a 500-mile (800 km) oval stock car races; NHRA for drag races; and FIA for Formula One road course races. The first full year of racing included the Indy-style open wheel Inaugural California 500 on September 6, 1970. The track was a 2 1/2 mile paved oval, that also had a 4.19 mile road course. This track was a clone of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR also had three wide starts here. Indy 500 winner Aj Foyt won the first NASCAR race held at the speedway in 1971 beating Buddy Baker by eight seconds. He repeated in 1972, this time beating Bobby Allison. No race was held in 1973; but NASCAR was back from 1974-1980. Bobby Allison did finally clain a win here in 1974 and Buddy Baker got his win in 1975. David Pearson would lap the field in 1976; while Neil Bonnett would edge out Richard Petty by two car lengths the following year. Also in 1977 we saw a woman lead a Cup race for the first time as Janet Guthrie led five laps. Of note I'd point out that the race saw 42 starters; but it also had 26 drivers fail to qualify. Bobby Allison would win for the second time in 1978 and the final two races would be won by Benny Parsons. All racing ceased after the 1980 season. Chevron Land Company, a division of Chevron Corporation recognized the opportunity to acquire the bonds and effectively foreclosed on the real estate. For approximately $10 million. Chevron acquired land which had a commercial real estate development value of $120 million, without regard to the historic significance or future potential of the speedway. The property remained vacant for several years until the mid-1980s when a Hilton Hotel was built on turn 4 of the old speedway site. As of the mid-2000s, development on the property has increased. Over half of the old speedway property, adjacent to Interstate 10, has been developed commercially. In 1997, the Auto Club Speedway opened in Fontana, less than two miles from the former site of the Ontario Motor Speedway.
Pocono Raceway - Long Pond PA
This race track is also know as "the Tricky Triangle". It is a 2 1/2 mile super speedway with three distinct corners and was designed by 1959 and 1962 Indy 500 winner, Roger Ward. Each turn is modeled after a turn at a different track, and originally built to race Indy cars on. Turn on was modeled after Trenton Speedway, turn two is like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and turn three is similar to the Milwaukee Mile. Pocono is one of a very few NASCAR tracks not owned by either Speedway Motorsports, Inc. or International Speedway Corporation, the dominant track owners in NASCAR. It is owned by the Mattioli family, which also owns South Boston Speedway. NASCAR first started racing at Pocono in 1974. The first race saw Richard Petty beat Buddy baker in a rain shortened race. The track hosted one Cup race per year through 1981. In 1982 the track saw the Cup cars start racing their twice a year. Some memoriable events at the track include: 1988: On the opening lap of the 1988 Miller High-life 500, Bobby Allison suffered career-ending injuries when he spun and was T-boned by the #63 of Jocko Maggiacomo. In 2010 The Camping World Truck Series raced for the first time at Pocono in the Pocono Mountains 125. 2011 saw Brad Keselowski win the last 500 mile race here as the following year the race length would be shortened to 400 miles. Founder and chairman of the board for Pocono Raceway, Joseph Mattioli, dies after a long illness. After a viewing and a funeral, Mattioli took his last lap around Pocono Raceway. 2016 saw Chris Buescher gets his first career win in the fog shortened Pennsylvania 400 after stretching his fuel window. Jeff Gordon holds the record for the most wins at the track (6)
Phoenix Raceway - Avondale AZ
This is a 1-mile, low-banked tri-oval race track first opened in 1964 originally as a Indy car track. The raceway was originally constructed with a 2.5 miles road course that ran on both the inside and the outside of the main tri-oval. In 1991 the track was reconfigured with the current 1.51 miles interior layout. Phoenix Raceway was built in 1964 around the Estrella Mountains on the outskirts of Avondale. Because of the terrain and the incorporation of a road course and drag strip, designers had to build a "dogleg" into the backstretch. The original roadcourse was 2 miles in length and ran both inside and outside of the main oval track. The hillsides adjacent to the track also offer a unique vantage point to watch races from "Rattle Snake Hill", located alongside turns 3 and 4. Phoenix Raceway was built with the goal of being the western home of open wheel racing. Sports cars and USAC began racing at the track in 1964, and the track quickly became a favorite of drivers and soon replaced the old track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. In 1977, the first Copper World Classic was held, a marque event for USAC midget and Silver Crown cars. NASCAR began racing at Phoenix Raceway in 1978 with the NASCAR K&N Series. However, it was not until 1988 when NASCAR's premier series began racing at the track. The first race was won by Alan Kulwicki. It was his first win, and he said he wanted to do something "memorable"; so he took the checkered flag and drove around the tracks the opposite way. It became known as the Polish Victory Lap due to Kulwicki's heritage. Kulwicki would be killed in 1993 in a plane crash; so drivers often take a reverse victory in his honor. In 1991, the old 2.5 miles road course was removed and replaced by a 1.51 miles infield road course. Davey ALlison won here back to back in 1991-1992; and it wasn't until 2000-2001 until Jeff Burton did it again. In 2004, NASCAR announced it would give a second annual race weekend to Phoenix Raceway starting with the 2005 season. Following the announcement, the track installed lights to allow the newly scheduled NASCAR race to be run in the evening. In 2007 Jimmie Johnson would win the first of three in a row at the track. In November 2010, ISC and the Avondale City Council announced plans for a $100 million long-term development for Phoenix Raceway. $15 million would go towards repaving the track for the first time since 1990 and building a new media center. The plans also include a reconfiguration of the track. The front stretch was widened from 52 feet to 62 feet, the pit stalls were changed from asphalt to concrete, the dogleg (between Turn 2 and Turn 3) was moved outward by 95 feet and the corners were changed to have progressive banking. The infield road course was also sealed off and removed from use, making Phoenix Raceway an oval-only facility. Kevin Harvick would win both races in 2013 and 2014 claiming four victories in a row. As of the summer of 2018 Harvick holds the record for most wins with nine. On January, 2017, Phoenix Raceway and ISC announced a $178 million renovation called the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar. The project will be completed by November 2018 in time for the fall Cup race. Changes include flipping the track and making the back straight the new front stretch and vice versa. They are also moving the start/finish line to an odd place; just after they exit turn four and before the dog leg. I'll add a picture soon.
Playland Park Speedway - South Bend IN
Playland Park started as a trolley park in 1880. By 1912 it had a Casino, an exhibition hall and a roller coaster. In 1916 a race track was added to the amusement park. A NASCAR race was held on the track July 20, 1952. It was a 1/2 mile dirt track that had a 200 lap race. Herb Thomas won the pole and led the first 41 laps. At that point he crashed and Tim Flock took the lead. Flock led the final 159 laps with Lee Petty finishing second. Bub King would finish third eleven laps behind. The grandstand also had horse racing and fireworks. The park hosted the 4-H Fair for many years. In 1961, Playland Park closed and was turned into a lighted par-3 golf course. That closed after 40 years. It is student housing for Indiana University South Bend. Only the cement from grandstands remain from the park.
Portland Speedway - Portland OR
The track began as a five-eighths-mile clay oval in 1924 on the site of a field in north Portland. The track was pavel and shortened to a 1/2 mile oval that ran NASCAR races from 100 laps to 250 laps in length. NASCAR first raced at the track in 1956. Herb Thomas won the first race held. The track was very active hosting four Cup races in 1956 and three more in 1957. West Coast drivers Johnny Kieper, Art Watts, and Royce Hagerty would claim a win here. While Lloyd Dane would also win in 1956 while Eddie Pagan finished second. In 1956 Eddie Pagan won the final two races as Dane finished second both times. In 1995 NASCAR would return to the 1/2 mile as the Truck Series raced there from 1995-1998. Races were won by Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr, Rich Bickle, and Stacy Compton.
Raleigh Speedway - Raleigh NC
The track opened in 1952 as Southland Speedway. It was a one mile oval track. It was the second superspeedway ever built (the first being the 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway in, SC). It was also the first lighted superspeedway and the first track on which NASCAR sanctioned night-time races. The track had a long and narrow shape, like a paper clip, with the front and back straights about 500 feet apart and the straightaways about 1,850 feet long. The turns were banked at 16° and the straightaways were flat. Its first major event was a 200-mile AAA sanctioned IndyCar race held on July 4, 1952. That race was won by Troy Ruttman. From 1953 the track was known as Raleigh Speedway. NASCAR races were held at the track from 1953 to 1958 and ran races of 100, 250, or 300 miles. In the first race Fonty Flock would start 43rd and out run Speedy Thompson by two laps to get the win in the 300 miler. Herb Thomas would win here in 1954 and 1955 while Fonty Flock would win again in the fall 1955 race. 1956 would see Fireball Roberts get his first win since 1950; and the first win in his iconic #22. Carl Kiekhaefer protested the legality of the #22's flywheel after this race. They didn't have a scale at the track, so they had to weigh it at a local fish market. The flywheel was found to be legal, and Fireball kept his victory. In 1957 Paul Goldsmith would out duel Frankie Schneider to get his fourth win that season. 1958 again saw Fireball Roberts in victory lane for the tracks final race. The race started 55 cars and saw Roberts collect $3,800 for the win. A hefty sum for those days. The NASCAR Convertible series also raced here. The drivers to get win were Frank Mundy, Curtis Turner and Bill Amick. The final three Cup races were held on July 4, 1956, 1957, and 1958. When the Daytona International Speedway opened, the July 4 Grand National event moved to that track. Shortly thereafter, the Raleigh Speedway closed due to noise complaints from residents of nearby neighborhoods. The track was demolished in 1967.
Reading Fairgrounds - Reading PA
This was a was a one half mile dirt/clay modified race track. It opened September 24, 1924. In 1958 NASCAR would come to Reading. They would run 200 laps around the 1/2 mile dirt track. Junior Johnson and Eddie Pagan would stage a breat battle, with Johnson pulling out the win by ten car lengths. 1959 would be then only other Cup race held at the speedway. Johnson would start on the pole, but Lee Petty would grab the lead at the drop of the green and lead until lap 188. At that point he broke an axle and Johnson was there to take the lead. He held it the rest of the race and beat Speedy Thompson by four laps. It featured a regular weekly series of modified, sportsman modified, and late model stock until it closed in 1979.
Redwood Acres Speedway - Eureka CA
This facility opened in 1947 as a 3/8 mile dirt oval. It was reconfigured in early 1956 to a 5/8 mile oval for the Cup Series to compete on. In May, NASCAR made the first of it's two trips to this race track to race 160 laps. The race was stopped after 125 laps because a deteriorating track conditions. Herb Thomas was out front at the time and got the win by a lap over Gordon Haines. The 1957 even was scheduled for 200 laps but after 153 laps; second place runner George Seeger crashed and into the fence coming into the southeast turn and ripped out about 30 ft. of the 10-foot high barrier. Seeger was uninjured and finished in second place with 147 completed laps to his credit. The track is now paved and races weekly with Sportsman Late Models and six other divisions.
Richmond International Raceway - Richmond VA
Racing sports has a long tradition in Virginia, dating back to colonial English times. From 1898 to World War I, the Deep Run Hunt Club the Northside area of Ginter Park was the site of the club's somewhat annual steeplechase race. From 1942 to 1945 no events were contested, banned by the U.S. government primarily on account of rationing. The 1946 AAA Championship Car season was unique in that it was the first post-war IndyCar race and because the Atlantic Rural Exposition had built a new state fairgrounds at the old Strawberry Hill Farm near Ginter Park. The 1/2 -mile dirt track would be suitable for both annual "Strawberry Hill" horse races and car races. Two years later, when the NASCAR schedule was being formed, this short track joined several others on the circuit. In 1953, the track began hosting the Cup Series. Lee Petty would win the first race by over a lap over Dick Rathman. Beginning in 1959 the track would host two Cup races per year. The facility would also host thre Convertible Series events. Glenn Wood won in 1957; while Joe Weatherly won in 1958 and Joe Lee Johnson won in 1959. The Cup series would compete here through 1968 on dirt; and it was paved mid-way through the season. David Pearson would win four of the final dirt races; with Richard Petty winning the other two. The fall race in 1968 saw Petty win the first race on the newly paved surface. Starting in 1970 Richard Petty would win nine of the next ten races; including seven in a row. Between the spring and fall 1988 races, the track was lengthened and reconfigured. It went from a 1/2 mile oval to a 3/4 mile D-shaped oval. Davey Allison won the first race on the new layout. The track currently hosts two Cup races per year; and up until 2018, Richmond was the closing race of the regular season. That year Indianapolis became the regular season ending race; while Richmond became the second race "in" the Chase. NASCAR ALso raced the Xfinity series here from 1982-current (2018); along with the Truck series from 1995-2005. The track has also hosted the K&N Series, NASCAR Southeast Series; Whelen Modified Tour and Indy Car races.
Riverside International Raceway - Riverside CA
This road course was build to have several different layouts. Track crews would add pylons to close off sections of the track and could make up to seven different courses. The three options on Riverside Raceway were the long course 3.27 miles , the short course 2.5 miles, and the NASCAR 2.62 miles course. The original racetrack had a 1.1-mile backstretch from 1957 to 1968. When the track was redesigned in 1969, turn 9 was made wide and a dogleg was added to scrub speed from the race cars. The picture on the left shows the track prior to the adding of the dogleg. It was added at the bottom of the photo where this picture shows a U-turn. The dogleg was added so as to ease the transition into Turn 9 (the track had seen numerous brake failure-induced accidents approaching Turn 9, and this change was made as a safety measure). One was a crash involving AJ Foyt that almost killed him. Riverside's Winston Western 500 was the opener to the NASCAR Winston Cup season until 1981, when NASCAR moved the start of the season to February and changed the starting race to the Daytona 500. NASCAR first ventured to Riverside in 1965 for a Cup race. The race was 185 laps using the 2.7 mile course for a distance of 500 miles. Dan Gurney; the road course ringer of his day; won the first event driving for the Wood Brothers; leading 126 of the 185 laps, and beat Junior Johnson by 27 seconds. Gurney and the Wood Brothers would team up to win again in 1966, being even more dominate leading 148 laps and beating David Pearson by 70 seconds. Gurney drove for Bill Stroppe in 1967 and he lead as late as lap 85 before blowing a motor while leading. Parnelli Jones would win by two laps. In 1968 Gurney would hook up again with the Wood Brothers and beat David Pearson by 36 seconds. Having won three of the first four races; Riverside became known as "the House That Dan Gurney Built" A few notable races saw 1965 be the year Aj Foyt was almost killed. He ran up front all day and had spun out and was trying to run down leader Dan Gurney. Foyt's brakes failed entering turn nine at the end of Riverside's mile-long, downhill back straight. Foyt turned the car into the infield at more than 100 mph, was launched off an embankment, dropped into a lower area and slammed into a sandy embankment, violently tumbling end-over-end several times. The track doctor at Riverside International Raceway pronounced Foyt dead at the scene of the severe crash, but fellow driver Parnelli Jones revived him after seeing movement. Foyt suffered severe chest injuries, a broken back, and a fractured ankle. AJ Foyt won in 1970. This was also the year the course was changed to racing the 2.62 mile configuration; the layout NASCAR would use through their final race on the track. A part time racer from the west coast, Ray Elder would win in both 1971 and 1972. Bill Elliott won his first career race here in 1983. Riverside, headed by former NFL Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter sold the property to real estate developer Fritz Duda in 1983. The irony is that Duda had once been a turn announcer for NASCAR's broadcasting arm Motor Racing Network, and many felt racing would long be a part of the Riverside landscape. People were wrong as 1988 hosted the final NASCAR race. It was won by Rusty Wallace as he bested Terry Labonte. NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick also ran in this race; he also raced here in 1987. It should be noted that Richter would go on to become the head of operations for NASCAR. The track was closed in 1989, and replaced by a mall and a housing development. As is many cases today, the land simply got too valuable to be used for racing. There were plans to build a new Road Course in California, to mirror this layout, but plans have now halted. The track was a popular place to film movies and commercials. Scenes were filmed for the movies: : Good Guys Wear Black (1978) The Betsy (1978), Fireball 500 (1966), Grand Prix (1966), The Killers (1964), The Love Bug (1968), On the Beach (1959), Roadracers (1959), Speedway (1968), Stacey (1973), Thunder Alley (1967), Winning (1969), and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Some TV shows shot were: CHiPs, Simon and Simon, The Rockford Files, and Knight Rider,
Road America - Elkhart Lake WI.
This is a permanent road course located in Wisconsin. It has hosted races since the 1950's. The first race was the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) on September 10, 1955. The Cup Series ran it's first and only event in 1956. It was a 63 lap race around the 4.1 mile course (258 miles). Buck Baker would start in the pole and at the drop of the greenflag, h would sprint into the lead. closely pursued by wiry Tim" Flock, the previous year's NASCAR champion, in one of four bright red-and-white factory Mercurys and Marvin Panch's hot Ford. From back in the pack came Curtis Turner, Virginia lumberman, charging up to second place in a yellow-and-white Ford. Then the race became a dogfight between Baker, Turner and Panch. Baker ran out of gasoline on the 20th lap, nearly a mile from the pits. Not a man to leave a teammate in distress, Thompson eased his machine up behind Baker's and pushed it to the pits. After another siege of hectic pit stops, just after the halfway point, Panch emulated Baker by running out of gas three-quarters of a mile from home. This time it was Ford Driver Glenn (Fireball) Roberts who took over the pushing chore. Panch would fall out later with mechanical issues. Speedy Thompson needed only to maintain a steady pace to hold off the threat of Tim Flock, a distant second, and Flock's Mercury teammate Billy Myers. Thompson's car would belch blue smoke as his engine expired giving the lead to Flock and he went on to claim the win. NASCAR returned to the track to race the Xfinity series in 2010. It still holds one race a year as of 2018. Currenty the track hosts races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, SCCA Pirelli World Challenge, ASRA, AMA Superbike series, IndyCar Series, and SCCA Pro Racing's Trans-Am Series. It hosts over 400 events per year.
Salisbury Speedway - Salisbury NC
This track was a 5/8 mile dirt oval that hosted two NASCAR races in 1958. One was a Cup event and the other a Convertible Series race. 30 cars started the Cup race with only five failing to finish. Gober Sosebee would win his final career pole, but the 160 lap race would see Lee Petty beat Buck Baker to claim the victory and get the $800 first prize. In the Convertible event Larry Frank started on the pole for the 155 lap race; but Tiny Lund would jump to the lead and hold it the first 88 laps. Frank would wrest the lead from Lund on lap 89 and lead for 37 circuits. Bob Welborn would take the lead from Frank with 30 laps to go. Just five laps from the finish a crash occurred on the front stretch and the race finished under yellow. Welborn would take the win, with Frank second. Third place was Bill Morton, four laps back. The track closed in 1961.
Savannah Speedway - Savannah GA
This was yet another track located in Georgia. It was a 1/2 mile dirt track that hosted NASCAR Cup races from 1962-1970. The first race saw Jack SMith lead 48 of the 200 laps and beat out Cotton Owens by 3/4 of a lap. The track hosted ten races; and it took six of them before it saw a repeat winner. The second race in 1962 saw Wendell Scott win his only career pole, and Joe Weatherly get the win. Ned Jarrett would win in 1963, while Richard Petty would grab the win the spring race in 1964. Unfortunately this would be Joe Weatherly final finish as he would be killed at Riverside the following race. The second race held in 1964 saw LeeRoy Yarbrough get the win; before Jarret won the third race of that season, becoming the first driver to win there more than once. NO races were held in 1965 or 1966. In 1967 Bobby Allison would get his only career dirt track win. and Richard Petty won on the final dirt race here in the fall. Again, they had no races in 1968, but the track was paved before NASCAR returned in 1969. Bobby Issac would claim the win; one of his amazing 17 wins this season. 1970 saw the track host it's final race. Richard Petty would beat Issac by over a lap. The track closed in 1981.
Soldier Field - Chicago IL
Yes folks this is THE Solider Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears. The track wrapped around the football field. It was originally a cinder track built inside the stadium in the 1930's. Photos shot in the 1950s show stock cars circling the track with the stadium’s huge grandstands and columns in the background — a weird sight for those whose perspective of Soldier Field is limited to football. It seems almost impossible to imagine today, but back in that other time, the stadium was the place to be on weekend nights as stock-car racers put on wildly entertaining shows for the assembled throngs. Andy Granatelli; an active promotor in the Chicago put together weeklu, and sometimes twice weekly, stock car racing programs. Granatelli is more widely know for hooking up Richard Petty with the STP sponsorship deal, and was a central figure at the Indianapolis 500 teaming with driver Mario Andretti. Granatelli’s programs typically included four heat races, a semi-main and a 25-lap main event—plenty of opportunities for mayhem. They typically had 20,000 to 30,000 fans and probably 70,000 to 80,000 for special races. The fastest cars started in the rear and started them three-abreast. They had to come from the rear. It was a wild race. Between the time the track opened and the time NASCAR came there in 1956 the track had been paved. Fireball Roberts would claim the win in the lone Cup race held here. Jim Paschal, Ralph Moody, Speedy Thompson and Frank Mundy rounded out the Top 5; all on the lead lap. The Convertible Series also raced here on three occasions. The first race was held about a month before the first Cup race. Tiger Tom Pistone beat out Curtis Turner by three car lengths after 200 laps around the tight, flat, oval. Turner would get his redemption when the Convertibles returned here for a second time in 1956. This race was a marathon as they raced 500 tough laps. Turner would beat Joe Weatherly by over a lap. The final NASCAR race held at the stadium was in 1957. It was only 100 laps, and saw Glenn Wood beat Possum Jones. The track was abandoned and torn out in 1970 after people protested financing of the racetrack. The Chicago Bears moved into the facility in 1971 and is still there.
Sonoma Raceway - Sonoma CA
The road course and drag strip located on the landform known as Sears Point in the southern Sonoma Mountains in Sonoma, California. Ground was broken in August 1968 and paving of the race surface was completed in November. The first official event at Sears Point was an SCCA Enduro, held on December 1, 1968. The road course features 12 turns on a hilly course with 160 feet (49 m) of total elevation change. In 1969 the track was sold to Filmways Corp., a Los Angeles-based entertainment company for $4.5 million. In May 1970 the track was closed and became a tax shelter for Filmways after losses of $300,000 were reported. A few years later a group calling itself Black Mountain Inc., which included Bob Bondurant, William J. Kolb of Del Mar and Howard Meister of Newport Beach, purchased the track from Filmways for a reported $1.5 million. In 1981 Filmways regained ownership of the track after a financial dispute with Black Mountain group. Jack Williams, the 1964 NHRA top-fuel drag racing champion, Rick Betts and John Andersen purchased the track from Filmways at an auction for $800,000. The track was renamed Sears Point International Raceway. In 1985 the track was completely repaved, in part with funds donated from the "Pave the Point" fund raising campaign. The first shop space were built. Additional buildings constructed on the property brought shop space were built during 1987. The NASCAR Cup Series debuted at the raceway in 1989, and as of now has run there once a year since. NASCAR ran 74 laps on the course that comprised 186 miles. At this time they run the full track including the carousel. This race saw Rusty Wallace win the pole and lead the first 10 laps. Ricky Rudd would bypass Wallace to lead eight circuits before Bill Elliott would move to the points for three laps. Rudd would pass Elliott with 53 laps to go and hold off Wallace to get the win. Wallace would not be denied the following year claimimg the checkers. Mark Martin would win in 1997; the final year NASCAR used the carousel. He would beat out eventual 1997 Cup Champion Jeff Gordon. In 1998 the track layout was changed to the configuration they currently use now. The carousel was eliminated and NASCAR ran straight from turn #4 to turn #7. Bobby Hamilton hounded Jeff Gordon the whole race, but Gordon was able to hold on for the win. It would be the first of three in a row here for Gordon; the only driver to win even two in a row. He would go on to add two additional wins here. The most recent race saw Martin Truex lead 62 of the 110 laps and beat out Kevin Harvick by 10 seconds. The NASCAR Truck series raced here from 1995 through 1998.
South Boston Speedway - South Boston VA
South Boston opened in 1957. It was a 1/4 mile dirt oval when NASCAR ran it's first race here in 1960. Junior Johnson would lead 42 of the 150 laps to get the win. When NASCAR returned in 1961 the little 1/4 mile speed plant had been paved. As the previous year; Junior Johnson would claim the win. The following year saw the track reconfigured to a distance of 3/8 mile. Rex White would beat Jack Smith by half a lap to win that season. After that 1964 saw Richard Petty would go on a run winning four events in a row. He would add another win in 1970. Benny Parsons would score his first career win in the tracks final Cup race in 1971. The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced here from 1982 until 2000. The Truck Series replaced the Xfinity Series in 2001 and ran through 2003 before NASCAR started racing the trucks at larger tracks. South Boston is still active as of 2018. They run five different class on a bi-monthly basis.
Southern States Fairgrounds - Charlotte NC
Southern States Fairgrounds was a half mile dirt track in Charlotte NC. that operated from the 1940's until 1961. Nascar would make it's first visit to the track in 1954. Lee Petty would beat Dick Rathman by two laps. The first eight races saw eight different winners. Among there were: Hershel McGriff, Tim Flock, Jim Paschal, Speedy Thompson, Ralph Moody, Fireball Roberts and Marvin Panch. Lee Petty would break the streak winning in 1957. Petty would become the only three time winner by claiming the checkered flag again in 1959. The final Cup race was held in 1961. Lee Petty won the pole; the last of his career. He would lead a race high 108 laps; but in the end he couldn't keep up with Joe Weatherly and Rex White. Weatherly would capture the flag with White finishing on the lead lap. Petty was third two laps behind. The track also hosted five Convertible series events. Jimmy Massey would count this 1956 race among one of his three wins that season. Ken Rush won in 1958; the only win in his NASCAR career. 1959 saw the final convertible race here. Future Cup champion Ned Jarrett put his name in the record books as the races final winner. Jarrett only raced the droptops eight times and this was his only win in the series. The NASCAR convertible series came to an end with this race.
Speedway Park - Jacksonville FL
Speedway Park opened in 1947 and was a 1/2 mile dirt track and all the Cup races were 200 laps. NASCAR's first race was in 1951. Herb Thomas started on the pole and was dominant leading the first 166 laps. Jack Smith led one lap before Thomas re-assumed the lead and led the rest of the way. Thomas' teammate Marshall Teague would win the 1952 race; and the next race again saw Thomas in victory lane. Lee Petty would win the next two events before history was made in the final race. 1964 saw Jack Smith start on the pole but the winner would make history. This was the only career win for Wendell Scott, the only black man to win a Cup race. Reports show this is probably the only race he finished on the lead lap. There was a lot of controversy over this race. Check Wendell Scott's Bio for details. The track was closed in 1973; a housing development now stands at the site
Starkey Speedway - Roanoke VA
I can't find info on when this track opened, but this was originally a 1/4 mile dirt track. NASCAR's first race here was in 1956. The Convertible series would run one event. Curtis Turned would be the driver that visited victory lane. By the time the NASCAR Cup series visited the track in 1958, it had been paved. This was the first 1/4 mile track NASCAR raced on and the race length was 150 laps. Jim Reed won the pole, led all 150 laps, and got the win. The track didn't see another NASCAR race until 1961. Junior Johnson won the event by over a lap. 1962 saw five drivers finish on the lead lap; but Richard Petty would top the list and get the win. The final race was held in 1964. Junior Johnson would lap the field, leading 195 of 200 laps to take the checkers. This would be the final race for Glenn Wood.
Stamford Park - Niagara Falls CAN.
Stamford Park was a 1/2 mile dirt track that raced 200 laps, located in Canada, near Niagara Falls. Like in many instances during this era, the cars used tracks originally designed for horse racing. It is believed that the stock cars first started sharing the facilities with race horses as early as 1948. The Niagara Falls track gained a reputation as being hard on cars, especially with its rutted flat surface and dangerous board fences which could pierce a racer like a knife through butter. The history of auto racing in Niagara, Stamford Park has one distinction, that of being the first track to hold a NASCAR Grand National race outside the U.S. That race occured on July 1, 1952. Buddy Shuman of Charlotte North Carolina drove his Hudson, all 200 laps, with his nearest competitor two laps behind, that being Herb Thomas in the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, with Ray Duhigg driving the Julie Petty Plymouth third. It took two hours, 11 minutes, to complete the 200 laps at an average speed of 45.610 mph. 17 cars would start the race, but only three would finish. During the rest of 1952, the local stock car drivers continued to dice it out at Stamford, but from August 18 - September 3 each year, the horses would take over the facilities During 1954, the era of Stamford Park race track auto racing ended, as ovals that were dedicated to stock car racing gained in both popularity and spectator appeal.
Texas Motor Speedway - Fort Worth TX
Texas Motor Speedway broke ground on April 11, 1995. and opened on Feburary 29, 1996. It is a 1 1/2 mile track patterened after Charlotte and Atlanta and it's races are 334 laps long (500 miles). The track hosted one Cup race per year from 1997 through 2004. Since then they have had two events. The Speedway got both of its race dates by taking away dates from other race tracks. The two tracks got their dates taken away for this track are North Wilkesboro Speedway and North Carolina Speedway. Both tracks would end up closing. The first Cup race here was in 1997 and Dale Jarrett starts on the pole; but Jeff Burton would lead the final 58 laps to get his first career Cup win. Dale Earnhardt Jr also got his first career Cup win at this track in 2000. In all, the first 12 races saw 12 different winners; with Jeff Burton becoming the first two time winner in 2007. The 2008 season saw Carl Edwards sweep both races at the track; becoming the first back to back winner. In fall of 2012, track promoter Eddie Gossage added a carnival outside turn two to promote the track's "Wild Asphalt Circus" theme. By the 2014 spring Cup race, the world's largest video screen will be added. The Panasonic screen, nicknamed "Big Hoss", measures 218 feet wide and 94.6 feet tall. 2014 saw Jimmie Johnson win the first of his three in a row. Johnson has the record for most wins with seven. The Cup series continues to race here twice a year through 2018
Texas Motor Speedway - College Station TX
Texas World Speedway broke bround in 1967. It considts of a 2 mile oval and several road course configurations. The full oval configuration is closely related to that of Michigan and is often considered the latter's sister track, featuring steeper banking, at 22 degrees in the turns. It is one of only seven superspeedways of two miles or greater in the United States. Nascar had their first race here in 1969 at a distance of 250 laps. Buddy Baker had the dominate car leading 150 laps. While under yellow he was trying to read his pit board while leading, and crashed just 21 laps from the end. Bobby Issac would go on to take the win. Richard Petty would win three of the next four events. In 1979 the race distance was cut to 400 miles and Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt would wage a major battle. Fron laps 40 to the end of the race the two swapped the lead back and forth. Earnhardt crashed 11 laps from the end and Waltrip took the checkers.The final NASCAR race held here was in 1981. This would be another classic battle including Dale Earnhardt, as he would lead 96 of the 200 laps. However the second half of the race was a war between Earnhardt and Benny Parsons. The the due swapped the lead 16 times in the final 100 laps; and Parsons would made the final pass with just four laps to go to visit victory lane. During the 1980s the track fell into a state of disrepair, and both NASCAR and the Indy cars chose to drop it from their respective schedules. It continued to operate in a limited role for amateur racing. The track closed in June of 2015. The entire 600 acre facility is currently leased to Copart Inc as a Catastrophe storage facility for vehicles damaged by hurricane Harvey.
Trenton Speedway - Trenton NJ
Trenton Speedway was previously know as New Jersey State Fairgrounds. The first race at the Fairgrounds was held on September 24, 1900 but racing wouldn't return until 1907. Regular racing began in 1912 and continued until 1941. A new 1 mile dirt oval was opened in 1946. In 1957 the track was paved. It operated in that configuration until 1968 when the track was expanded to 1.5 miles (2.41 km) and a "kidney bean" shape with a 4° dogleg on the back stretch and a wider turn 3 & 4 complex than turns 1 & 2. The first 'big time' race was held in 1949 when the Indy car stars invaded to run a 100 mile race that was won by Myron Fohr. NASCAR ran it's first Cup race there in 1958. It was the Northern 500. A whopping 500 laps around the 1 mile track. The first 500 mile race on a track besides Darlington. When the dust cleared Fireball Roberts would outrun Junior Johnson by two laps to claim the trophy amd the $6,500 first prize. 1959 saw Tom Pistone collect his first of two career Cup wins as he legged it out by 11 second to beat Cotton Owens. NASCAR didn't return to the track until 1967. The race was cut to 300 miles and Richard Petty grabbed the win. 1968 would see LeeRoy Yarbrough collect one of his 14 career wins, while David Pearson went to victory lane the following year. Richard Petty would have a battle with Bobby Allison in both 1970 and 1971; but Petty came out on top both years. The final Cup race at this track was in 1972. Bobby Allison would finally break through to get the win over Bobby Issac by just over one second. Allison has always been tough here finishing second in '69 and '70; while posting a third place results in '68 and 71. The track closed in 1980 and the Fairgrounds itself closed 3 years later.
Tri-City Speedway - High Point NC
This race facility was a half-mile, dirt track that held 200 laps races. 1953 would see the stars of NASCAR assemble at this track for the first time. Herb Thomas would win the 200 lapper beating out Dick Rathman for the checkers. The only other time the Cup Series raced here was in 1955. Herb Thomas would start on the pole with Dick Rathman along side. Rathman would jump out to the lead and lead the first six laps. He would fall out however after 110 laps with transmission issues. Lee Petty would lead the other 194 laps beating Buck Baker by 1/2 lap. Thomas would come home third. The track closed in the '60's
Vernon Fairgrounds - Vernon NY
This was a 1/2 mile dirt oval that hosted two 200 lap NASCAR Cup races, both in 1950. In the first race little known Chuck Mahoney would start first and lead the first 18 laps. Lloyd Moore led six laps before Bill Blair grabbed the lead on lap 25 and hold on to collect the win. Moore finished second and Mahoney third. In this race we also had our fourth female ever to race in the Cup Series. Ann Chester would wheel a 1947 Plymouth to a 22nd place finish after her motor expired early. Speedy Thompson also made his Cup debut. The other 1950 event Dick Linder would start on the pole and lead the first 30 laps. Herb Thomas would lead but eventually crash out and finish 11th, while Linder would lead the last 129 laps to get his third and final career Cup win. Again we had another woman make her first start in the Cup Series. Ann Bunselmeyer would finish 18th in the 29 car field. The track closed in 1951, and is currently semi active as a horse racetrack.
Wall Stadium - Wall Township NJ
Wall Stadium is a 1/3 Mile Paved Oval race track in Wall Township, New Jersey. The track, opened to the public in the spring of 1950. The first NASCAR race would be when the Convertible Series visited in 1956. They raced 300 laps around the tight little track and Curtis Turner would start on the pole; lead every lap and claim the race win. He bested Bob Welborn by four laps, and was the only Convertible Series race ever ran there. The Cup series would follow along in 1958 for their 300 lap race. Rex white would win the pole; with Jim Reed starting along side. Reed jumped to the lead at the drop of the green and led all 300 laps. White was hot on his heels the entire race; and Reed only beat him by one car length.BUck baker and Lee Petty would finish third and fourth; all on the lead lap. The track, brought up racing stars Ray Evernham, Jr. and Martin Truex, Jr. Currently Wall Speedway (now Wall Stadium Speedway) is going strong. They race regularly and have Modified, Sportsman, Limited Late Model, STocks, 4 Cylinder, and Legend cars. Well known drivers who raced over the years John Blewett III, Jimmy Blewett, Jimmy Spencer, Charlie Jarzombek and Richie Evans just to name a few.
Wilson Speedway - Wilson NC
Wilson Speedway was a 1/2 mile dirt track that hosted 100 mile races for the Cup Series. NASCAR Cup Series raced here from 1951-1960. The first race, Fonty Flock would beat out brother Bob Flock for the win. 1952 saw Herb Thomas avoid all the carnage to get the win. The 35.3 average speed for the race is the slowest in Cup history. The following year the track held two events. Fonty Flock would win the spring race while Thomas would claim the fall victory. Buck Baker would win the race in 1954 before NASCAR dididn't race here in 1955. 1956 saw Herb Thomas win for the third time wheeling a 1956 Chevy wrenched by Smokey Yunick. 1956-1958 would see NASCAR stars Buck Baker, Ralph Moody, and Lee Petty claim wins. But in 1959 the spring race had an unusual prior to the start of the race. Less than an hour before the green flag, the wooden grandstand caught on fire and burned to the ground. No one is injured, but the 8,000 spectators have to watch the race while standing along the catch fence. After all the excite Junior Johnson would win the race; and also win the second race at the speedway that season. The final Cup race here ended with a disqualification. Emanuel Zervakis was originally flaged the winner. Second place finisher Joe Weatherly ordered the officials to inspect Zerkavis' fuel tank after the race. Zerkavis' tank was found to have a higher-than-normal fuel capacity. When asked sometime later how Weatherly knew that Zerkavis' tank was illegal, he grinned and said ... "Because I was running the same tank he was,". The Convertibles also raced five events from 1956-1958. IN the 1956 race Curtis Turner would get the victory; and in 1957 he looked to be on his way to victory again. BUt a broken rear axle handed the win to Joe Weatherly. Billy Myers would visit victory circle in 1957; befone Curtis Turner again won in 1958. The Final race also came in 1958 and when it was done Bob Welborn sat in victory lane.
Watkins Glen International - Watkins Glen NY
Watkins Glen International, nicknamed "The Glen", is an automobile race track located in Watkins Glen, New York. The first races in Watkins Glen took place in 1948 on a 6.6-mile course over local public roads. For the first few years, the races passed through the heart of the town with spectators lining the sidewalks, but after a car left the road in the 1952 race, killing one and injuring several others; the race was moved to a new location on a wooded hilltop southwest of town. It was long known around the world as the home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix, which it hosted for twenty consecutive years (1961–1980). Initially, public roads in the village were used for the race course. In 1956 a permanent circuit for the race was built. In 1968 the race was extended to six hours, becoming the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen. The circuit's current layout has more or less been the same since 1971, although a chicane was installed at the uphill Esses in 1975 to slow cars through these corners, where there was a fatality during practice at the 1973 United States Grand Prix. The first permanent course was constructed and overlapped part of the previous street course. The layout measured 2.35-mile (3.78 km) and was used from 1956–1970. NASCAR ran it's first race here in 1957. Buck Baker would complete the 44 laps first beating Fireball Roberts by 1/2 mile. The next NASCAR race here didn't happen until 1964. This time the race was extended to 66 laps (151 miles). BIlly Wade would out distance LeeRoy Yarbrough by six seconds to get the win. This would be the final start for Lee Petty. NASCAR raced here again in 1965 before taking a 21 year break. In 1965 Junior Johnson started secnod, but had worked his way into the lead by lap two; but on lap 13 his motor erupted and he was done for the day. Marvin Panch would lead the final 53 laps to claim the win. It would be Panch's final win in the Wood Nrothers #21 car, and his only win on a road course. In 1986 NASCAR again come back to race at The Glen. Tim Richmond would start on the pole, but the race would see 12 lead changes. In the nd Richmond would acquire the lead for the last time on lap 79 and lead to the end to get the win by 1.4 seconds over Darrell Waltrip. Events from the 1991 race forced the track to make changes to it's layout. On the fifth lap of the race; Indepent driver JD McDuffie had a wheel failure and it became detached from the car. McDuffie and another independant driver; Jimmy Means; collided heading down the high speed back straight going into turn #5 (now turn #9). McDuffie slid in first and pounded the tire barrier so hard that the car was thrown up inot the air so high that Means car went under McDuffie and slammed the wall in the same place McDuffie had. McDuffie's car turned over while in mid-air and landed on it's roof. Means climbed from his race car and peered into McDuffie's car to check on his condition. Means immediately started waving for safety crews to come. Much like Ken Schrader in the Dale Earnhardt wreck. The poor guy was the first to know, something was extremly wrong. The race was red flagged. Track workers surrounded the race car and held up sheets so no one could see what was going on. It took an hour and a half before the car was removed and the catch fence repaired. Another reason that it took so long to get him out of the car was they needed to wait for the police and the coroner to come and investigate the accident. When NASCAR returned the following year they had constructed a bus stop chicane along the back straight just before arriving at turn #5. It is near the end of the back stretch (on map it is turns 5,6,7 & 8); forcing the cars to slow and prevent an accident like the one that killed JD. NASCAR still races here once per year through 2018. Chase Elliott claimed his first career Cup win here in 2018. Ironic as his father BIll also captured his first win on a road course. The track host the NASCAR Xfinity Series; along with the NASCAR K&N Series and Weather Tech Sports Car Series as of 2018.