NASCAR venue finds hidden ‘cave’ that harks to its roots

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NASCAR track North Wilkesboro has made an incredible find underneath a grandstand, harking back to the roots of stock car racing – a potential moonshine cave.

North Wilkesboro was abandoned in 1996 following the final Cup Series race, but after an effort led by Dale Earnhardt Jr, the track was revitalised with it hosting the All-Star exhibition race in May 2023.

As further renovation work was taking place at the North Carolina venue, a section of damaged grandstand was identified, with engineers removing seats to further inspect the damage – before a 700-square-foot cave – perfect for hiding moonshine.

NASCAR has its roots in moonshine running during the era of prohibition between 1920 and 1933, where drivers tried to smuggle alcohol from the authorities.

After the end of prohibition, the now out-of-work drivers decided to organise races, with Bill France Sr taking the lead – as the series eventually morphed into what became the NASCAR Cup Series.

“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,” explained Steve Swift, senior vice president of operations and development at Speedway Motorsports.

“Well, we haven’t found find 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.”

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