NASCAR Acquires the First Paved Track It Ever Raced on

The stock car racing sanctioning body has picked up the lease for Bowman Gray Stadium through 2050.

byCaleb Jacobs|
NASCAR photo
Grant Halverson/Getty Images


You probably know this by now, but NASCAR loves its history. Go to Daytona and you'll see it everywhere across town, especially at the speedway. But American stock car racing has roots in several places, and that includes Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where Bowman Gray Stadium is located. That was the first paved track NASCAR ever raced on, and now, the sanctioning body has acquired the facility to keep the action going there for a long time.

NASCAR picked up the lease to the quarter-mile short track and will manage it alongside the City of Winston-Salem, as announced on Thursday afternoon. The agreement runs through 2050, meaning it'll be in NASCAR's care for a good while. At that point, Bowman Gray will be 113 years old since it was built way back in 1937.

“As NASCAR’s first weekly racetrack, Bowman Gray Stadium holds a special place in the history of our sport,” said Ben Kennedy, senior vice president of racing development and strategy for NASCAR. “We are grateful to the Hawkins family’s multi-generational legacy of leadership at this historic track and we’re thrilled to oversee racing at one of the crown jewels in NASCAR Regional. We look forward to leading the racing operations of the facility in partnership with the City of Winston-Salem to preserve the history and legacy of the racetrack for the next generation of fans and racers.”

You can imagine some of the characters that have raced at Bowman Gray since NASCAR started competing there in 1949. Plenty of active Cup Series drivers cut their teeth on its pavement, from Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott to Bubba Wallace, William Byron, Alex Bowman, and more. That list of names proves that grassroots racers who go wheel to wheel at Winston-Salem can and do make it to the big show.

While the Cup Series raced at Bowman Gray for the 29th and final time in 1971, you'll see modified, sportsman, street stock, and stadium stock action at the track on any given weekend. It makes sense for NASCAR to invest in a facility that helps produce big-name talent, and really, we can all be glad that another longtime track is sticking around for years to come. The same can't be said for all of them, but now, Bowman Gray seems secure.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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