People cram into stadiums, arenas and raceways to experience something real. Disillusioned by the hardships of reality, they leave their worries at the entrance. When they settle in to their seats, they find a world that articulates all the things they have to go through every day. Victory, defeat, the will to go on, an empty feeling of having given one’s all—the race track embodies these themes, which helps spectators to cope better with challenges in life.
Nature and the outside world inevitably affect the world of fantasy though, whether it’s movie sets or even the sports realm. When a raceway falls on tough times, it’s faced with tough decisions that could lead to its closing down for good. With a large part of the land once dedicated to thrilling races, it’s too costly to tear it all down. It ends up sitting there, collecting weeds and rotting slowly away.
Many are curious about abandoned race tracks, but few ever act beyond on this inner sense. Those that do end up grabbing a camera, packing a snack and delving into the belly of these abandoned properties where people once crowded in to see a racing circuit.
There’s a reason explorers venture to these abandoned places during the day—no one is willing or brave enough to go at night. It isn’t bad, but wise on their part—it’s dangerous enough going there at all. Despite the warnings and cautionary signs, people can’t resist exploring these dreary places that ultimately lost the competitive spirit to remain in business. We’re going to look at race tracks, long closed, that only levelheaded individuals would explore during the day.
25 Road Covered In Weeds
Only a select few get the chance to drive a NASCAR on a real race track. This photo gives one a sense of what it’s like to drive—let alone stand—on a speedway. The only difference here is that the track no longer hosts events. With the sun either setting or rising in the sky, it casts a warm glow on the abandoned land.
Throughout the many cracks on the race track worn down from fast-paced races, weeds grow unencumbered. It’s a strange atmosphere that many would find difficult to explore at night.
24 Empty Seats
Plenty of seats still stand intact at this race track, but there’s no one to fill them anymore. This shot, as the blog Deserted Places reports, shows the closed down North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Despite some wear on the chairs and track, the entire venue still looks preserved in time, as if it were ready to host another NASCAR race tomorrow. It may not be as safe as it was years ago though as structures deteriorate over time. Dark clouds looming overhead signal the rapid arrival of dusk.
23 I-70 Speedway
When looking at the landscape, it’s worth asking whether there’s more asphalt or vegetation in the frame? The land is overrun with weeds and foliage, it reached a point where everything else is the minority.
According to Racing News, this track hasn’t had a race since 2008. That means it remained abandoned for over a decade. Until it becomes something new, nature has moved in and made itself feel at home. The longer one waits to restore it, the more work it’s going to take.
22 More Foliage Than Track
When one watches NASCAR today, it’s hard to imagine race tracks ever reaching such a perilous state as this. From this low angle, one can see the extent of mellowing this race track has taken over a long period of time. No one would put up with a decrepit race track; yet when no one is around, it falls into decay.
Nature finds a way of taking up residence in abandoned places soon enough, and already the race track has long thick weeds growing high.
21 Bleak Landscape
The view may not look like much, but this abandoned race track is on the decline. Once a destination for NASCAR fans, its become neglected and unsafe to explore. That doesn’t stop adventurers like Seph Lawless though, a photographer that Gizmodo interviewed about this race track, which is the North Wilkesboro Speedway.
“This arena was once filled with thousands of people now it sits eerily silent and completely abandoned, said Lawless in an interview with the same source. If it looks this spooky during the day, it must look scarier at night.
20 Texas World Speedway
This is the Texas World Speedway, which a banner at the starting line advertises in bold face letters. The track has stood abandoned for years according to Jalopnik despite there being a planned housing development for years.
Although many have memories attending races at this track, the housing development is moving forward. KBTX-TV reports that as of July 2018, they’ve already removed parts of this historic track. With all the seating at this enormous raceway, it will take a lot of work to tear it down.
19 Damaged Roof
One can picture a time when this venue hosted thousands of NASCAR fans. It takes a creative imagination though when looking at this photo. There’s no one in sight in this abandoned race track. The grass may be green, but it’s overgrown and creeping into the bleachers.
The building looks decrepit and the entire roof looks as if it’s crumbling. This race track, which Sometimes-Interesting confirms is the North Wilkesboro Speedway, helped make NASCAR into the sensation that it is today.
18 Reims-Gueux Circuit
When a raceway falls on hard times, it’s faced with the unfortunate circumstance of shutting its doors. According to the site Dyler, this is the Reims-Gueux Circuit located in France, which encountered financial challenges during the 1960s.
They ended up hosting their last race in 1969. The track still stands, including this small two-story building that looks out on the property. It’s a picturesque scene that, if it were not for the wild growth of grass, still looks to be in solid condition.
17 Decaying Speedway
Parts of the North Wilkesboro Speedway still look like they’re in good shape from afar; a closer look however, tells a different story. At the bottom of the photo, below the red painted wall, one can see white paint fading from the brick wall.
According to Autoweek, a groundskeeper still cuts the grass with a John Deere mower, although it's too much a job for one person to restore the property to its former state. If that groundskeeper didn’t cut the grass, the place would look a lot worse.
16 Wild Growth
The North Wilkesboro Speedway looks bleak. It’s fitting that the skies overhead are completely gray. The fence is doing its best to keep out nature, but foliage is still growing underneath and invading the race track.
According to Autoweek, as of September 2016, there were no plans in place to restore the track to what it was before. It continues to sit without any activity while aging badly. It’s a shame considering the race track could serve as a perfect venue for races today.
15 Phoenix Arena
This abandoned track is enormous. It resides in Phoenix, Arizona, where it’s surrounded by a vast desert. This view shows the many spectators it was able to accommodate. Even during the daytime, it looks menacing as it sits on the horizon.
According to AZ Central, it spans 194 acres where races once took place, though have not occurred in over 50 years. A majority of the land that surrounds this abandoned race track are mobile trailer parks. Until someone transforms the race track into something else, it’s better to avoid venturing there at all costs.
14 North Wilkesboro Speedway
The North Wilkesboro Speedway makes multiple appearances on this list. It’s a legendary NASCAR track that has seen better days. This photo shows the race track just outside its walls. Even standing here, one could have heard the loud crowds at this popular venue in its heyday.
According to the site Sometimes-Interesting, moonshiners constructed the track during the mid-1940s. Having stood for many years and hosted lots of races, it now sits in decay with the paint fading from walls and taking on new strange colors.
13 Bird’s Eye View
This bird’s-eye view of the race track shows a vast venue that’s gone to waste. Once serving as a hub for racing fans, it has since gone into a decline. Although the grass still looks green between the bleachers and race track, it has grown long and unkempt.
A thick row of trees surround the track and it has taken on an ugly appearance. This stands in great contrast to the friendly and energetic atmosphere from fans that once congregated here many years ago.
12 Forsaken Track
It’s a more minimalist race track, but a track nonetheless. According to Hot Rod Network, this strip is the Tucson Dragway. It’s clear that the track has fallen into disarray, with plants encroaching on the paved speedway.
If any car was brave enough to venture across this road, it’d be a bumpy ride. The road has rocks and gravel, making for an intrusive driving experience. In the middle of nowhere, it’s the last place one would want to be at night.
11 Peeled Away Wall
Abandoned properties are not without their contrasting images. A colorful and cheery painting advertising the track still stands out among the decrepit state of the track. Once a joyous venue for thousands of spectators, it now lays in ruins.
According to Autoweek, the track sat without any activity for 12 years. That’s a long time for a property to go on neglected. In turn, it led to the weeds seen here and the faded paint. In darkness, it only heightens these eerie images.
10 Untarnished Goodyear
Goodyear is one of many iconic sponsors often spotted at NASCAR events. It was no different here at the North Wilkesboro Speedway. Behind the skeleton of this chain link fence is the familiar red and yellow letters and logo of Goodyear.
Separate from the race track itself, it sits untarnished on the perimeter. It looks like it is still in perfect condition, despite the ruins before it. While Goodyear survived and is still a major business today, the North Wilkesboro Speedway wasn't so lucky.
9 Switzerland Track
Staring at the curvature of this road is enough to make one dizzy. It’s thrilling to imagine careening down this road. Unless someone sneaks a car on the track though, there’s little chance of it serving a purpose in the future.
In the background are some bleachers where spectators could get close to the action. With trees surrounding the track and a few small lamp posts, this place probably gets really dark at night. A Reddit user notes that this location is in Lausanne, Switzerland.
8 Lone Truck
Except for this lone truck, resting on the starting line of the beloved North Wilkesboro Speedway, there isn't a soul in sight. The bleachers are empty, the track is desolate and the entire landscape looks bleak. It has all the elements that make up an abandoned race track.
There is little left, and what’s left still standing fades away, worn and weary. Despite there being popular advertisements and sponsors on display, including Coca-Cola, the track has no sign of life anywhere. While the daylight reveals a landscape in decay, the night likely shows an even darker side.
7 Outside The Gates
The foreground is in darkness and the view isn’t crystal clear, but it illustrates how far down the North Wilkesboro Speedway has fallen. Once a bustling venue full of crowds and race cars, the property has since taken a path downward.
From this vantage point, one can see the extent of its neglect. If it weren’t for the chain link fences keeping intruders out, the property might look even worse today, with wild animals roaming the premises. This place can only get worse at night.
6 Fading Wall
This photo may not show the famous race track itself—just a small sliver of road in the bottom corner—it reveals how worn a wall can become over time. Once a bright color this painted wall advertising the “NASCAR Winston Cup Series” taking place at the North Wilkesboro Speedway has become washed out.
The site Buffaloe Marketing reports that the track resides in North Carolina and hosted legendary racers from Fireball Roberts to David Pearson to Benny Parsons. Today however, it’s a shadow of its former glory.
5 Nature Takeover
This snapshot shows the extent of nature’s hold on the abandoned North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina. It’s fitting that the painted wall face spells out “North Wilkesboro Speedway” and that it’s covered in weeds and unkempt bushes. This is what happens when a raceway becomes forsaken by its ownership and the public.
Once beloved, it is now an odd arboretum that shows off gnarly plants and a property in decay. “It was a shame because it was really the perfect racetrack,” noted Mark Martin, former NASCAR driver.
4 Vacant Stadium
There’s something rotten in the state of North Wilkesboro Speedway. Although many of the familiar and long-standing artifacts still reside within the track, such as the scoring tower, the lap column and bleachers, it's not in good condition anymore.
It has all taken on a dirtier appearance while weeds grow higher. They’ve even managed to creep up onto the side of the chain link fencing on the inner side of the track. The small buildings in the center still bear a rosy red color, which stands out brightly on the bleak landscape.
3 Marlboro Motor Raceway
Since this race track closed down, its bleachers have fallen into disarray. There are misshapen pieces of wood and cinder blocks taking up the seats where people once plopped down to watch races. The roof looks like it’s on the verge of collapsing on the ruin below.
The brown weeds growing in the foreground are evidence of nature’s takeover, running rampant without anyone to maintain the property. We can only imagine how creepy this place looks when the sun sets.
2 Metrolina Speedway
The Metrolina Speedway went the way of many other race tracks across the country: deserted. According to YouTube user John Goad, it first arose back in 1960. One can tell it’s not as prominent as some of the other major raceways, but it still has some noteworthy history surrounding it.
The same source notes that Speedy Thompson’s last race took place here in April 1972, and that Dale Earnhardt won his first pavement victory at Metrolina. That makes this a destination for NASCAR fanatics, except at night.
1 Empty Track
The North Wilkesboro Speedway still has a track, seating and concession stands; the only thing that's missing are people. There are no cars, roaring engines or spectators to fill this massive space. In the absence of people, weeds grow within the cracks left unattended in the 5/8 mile track.
According to Sometimes-Interesting, the last race to take place here was back in 1996. There was a stint in 2010, but excluding that, there has been little activity here for over two decades.
Sources: Dyler, Jalopnik, KBTX-TV, AZ Central, YouTube, Sometimes-Interesting