Historic Occoneechee Speedway a glimpse of NASCAR’s roots

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WTVD) — Hidden in the forest in Hillsborough is an iconic piece of North Carolina’s auto racing history.

The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail was once home to roaring crowds and even louder engines as a dirt track in the early days of NASCAR.

Now it’s a quiet walking trail along the Eno River where people walk dogs, run, and take photos of nature.

The speedway began operation 70 years ago this month (1948) and continued through 1968.

The first race at the track was a modified stock race and nearly 20,000 fans came out to watch the 100-mile race.

As for the final race at the track — not surprisingly, it was won by Richard Petty.

If you visit, you can still see the original grandstand, the ticket booth and the concession stand.

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(WTVD, 7/11/18)