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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

As it turns out the rumors about North Wilkesboro Speedway are true. For years, rumors have circulated that iconic North Wilkesboro Speedway was the site of a secret moonshine still, and with recent developments, the truth is out in the open as a sinkhole exposed the track’s history of unlawful, outlawed roots. The historic discovery at the NWB has left the NASCAR fandom abuzz, a little more than a month away from competition at the racetrack there.

NASCAR racetracks are full of surprises!

Gearing up for the NASCAR Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series in May for the All-Star Race week, renovations have been going on in full swing and that’s when the workers stumbled upon a historic relic under the concrete grandstands. It was discovered during a routine inspection last week after the speedway staff discovered cracks in the original concrete in Section N.

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As crews began removing the seats to inspect the extent of the damage and evaluate the repair needs, an open area of approximately 700 square feet was discovered underneath the aging concrete which is believed to have been used to make spurious liquor and store it away from the law during the prohibition era in the 1920s.

Steve Swift, senior vice president of operations and development at Speedway Motorsports reflecting on the new finding said, “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. 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.”

That aside, while renovations have been going on in full swing for an exciting new start to the dilapidated racetrack, it seems even drivers are excited to lay their hands on the repaved surface. And the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion is one of them.

Ben Rhodes thinks the newly repaved NWB “rubbered in well”

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After the resurrection of the fan-favorite track, the historic NASCAR track which opened in 1949 is coming back to the schedule for the All-Star Race week. The 0.625-mile track is getting a major overhaul with the old pavement going out and instead, the authorities have laid down a new surface. The track will host two days of racing, a Truck Series race on May 18, followed by the Cup Series’ all-star race on May 19.

The new resurfacing process in November included milling approximately two inches of the old track, repairing failing spots, sealing, and adding a specially designed asphalt mixture in the same configuration as the original track, including the 13 degrees of banking in the corners. Just like the process used for Speedway Motorsports’ most recent re-pavement at Atlanta, a special mix was used that is expected to age faster than the conventional asphalt normally used. Reigning and defending Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes said he is expecting a completely different race this year.

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According to Motorsports.com, he said, “It’s not even the same race track, and really when we started the day, never having a truck or car or anything run on this place to all the rubber we put on it, it’s not the same race track as eight hours ago. It’s changed a lot; I think it’s rubbered in well,” said the driver he went testing at the facility.

via Getty

READ MORE: “RIP Officially Auto Club” – NASCAR’s Iconic Texas Track Bags a Whopping $756 Million After Being Demolished

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Even Truck driver Christian Eckes heavily appreciated NWB’s makeover. “It was super cool last year and now with the new pavement this year I think it will be even better. I know a lot of people wanted it to stay, but it wasn’t a very good race, in my opinion, last year. So to see that change is good. Just the history of this place coming in here and knowing the legends that have raced here, is pretty cool..The top was nonexistent last year and I felt like just those thirty, forty laps we ran got it better and got it competitive, competitive enough to race. I think it’s going to be a lot of passing compared to last year, but I really like what they’ve done so far,” he shared.
Now that the iconic location has already got its stamp of approval from NASCAR drivers, what’s your opinion of the makeover? Let us know in the comments below!