“There's something about an abandoned property that stirs the imagination. The sight of nature reclaiming what was once a well-used, built-up area is a stark reminder of our own temporarily in this world, no matter how indelible our marks may seem at the time. And an abandoned racetrack—well, it's hard to find a more evocative setting than that.”
We thank Kyle Cheromcha of The Drive for this well put together statement. In truth, there is in fact something so intriguing about anything deserted. The imagination gets sparked whether it be due to the eerie scene or just thinking about what can be done with all that space. Sadly, that space gets poorly maintained and typically the area is closed off only for nature to run its course. In most cases, these current tracks look absolutely depressing. Not only are they rusting away but vegetation seems to be taking over. Grass is coming out of the same surface that wheels once raced on. In some tracks, the current scenes look similar to Jumanji - covered in grass and forestry. The abandonment of some of these tracks isn’t a pretty sight in the slightest.
In only a few cases reconstruction is set to take place. However in just one case is the track scheduled to be properly restored and maintained. Shopping centers and condos are to replace some of the other tracks. Better than nothing right? Enjoy the article folks as we take a look at the 20 most depressing abandoned race tracks from around the world. Let’s get started!
18 I-70 Speedway, Missouri
Unlike the other abandoned race tracks featured on this list, it appears as though this one has a happy ending. The track in Missouri went into complete abandonment in 2008. This after a lengthy run - the track had been open since the late 1960s at that point. It was the home to various NASCAR events throughout the years. However as of 2008 the racing community completely turned their backs on the track. Eerie photos show grass coming out of the track. It definitely doesn’t look driver friendly and completely abandoned.
It should be noted that there are plans to eventually salvage the track.
We hope the same measures will be taken for some of the others on the list. In 2019 the goal is to reopen the circuit with a half mile oval turning into a dirt track along with a drag course on the location.
17 Keimola Motor Stadium, Finland
We don’t typically think of Finland when it comes to iconic tracks. However back in 1965 production began for the Keimola Motor Stadium. It opened a year later in the summer of 1966, the course and area was considered among the top in Europe during that decade. Formula Two, Interserie and Formula Vee were a couple of the racing leagues to take part at the location throughout its existence. Unfortunately due to high maintenance costs the stadium was forced into complete abandonment during the late 1970s. Nowadays you’ll have a hard time believe that racing took place at the location with the development of a residential area in its place.
16 NASCAR Fuji Speedway, Japan
At one point this location welcomed 140,000 fans in attendance. Sadly these days it looks like a jungle forest track with vegetation all over the course. Adding to the sadness of it all this location was at one time among the largest Speedway tracks in the entire world. Formula One also took place here back in 1976.
Once the race track was sold, maintenance took a massive hit due to limited funding.
They’ve tried to restore the track in the past with races however the course is now deemed as overly dangerous due to the sharp curves. What a shame!
15 Crystal Palace Race Track, England
Photos of the race track nowadays make it look like an area nobody wants to walk through late at night. These days, the track is used to access the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre Park. Most of the former track remains closed nowadays and it’s in rough conditions. That’s to be expected as the track originated back in the 1920s if you can believe. The first race to ever take place was in May of 1927 as the venue hosted a motorcycle race. The track closure took place in 1974. However various events took place following the closing. Nowadays the track looks completely unrecognizable known as basically a walking path.
14 Reims-Gueux Circuit, France
A length of seven kilometers, this circuit was the home to various F1 races back in the day. It opened its doors in the mid-1920s enjoying some great success early on. It was a fun track due to the easiness of the course. It wasn’t riddled with sharp turns and instead it was as basic as they come.
For that reason numerous drivers set speed records on the course during its time.
The course would change its structure throughout the years. However eventually in 1969 the location was completely abandoned due to limited funding. These days it just seems like a tragic waste of space.
13 Hockenheimring, Germany
Germany has fast highways and quicker race tracks. The country is known for some of the quickest circuits. The old Hockenheimring was among the most popular in Germany. However these days it is completely unrecognizable. Some stunning YouTube videos show the surprising transformation comparing it to back in the day when F1 cars made use of the circuit, in comparison to current depleted state. What remains in the area is a path along with massive forestry. Most would never assume such a track was there for an extended amount of time. For F1 enthusiasts photos of the location nowadays is pretty hard to digest.
12 North Wilkesboro NASCAR Circuit, North Carolina
A short track in the North Carolina area, this circuit played host to various NASCAR races during the 90s. NASCAR took part at the circuit for the first time in 1949. This was way back when NASCAR first began.
It stayed loyal to the area until the bitter end when it finally closed in 1996.
The course is completely vacated nowadays and in pretty rough shape. However it was recently put to use as the film Cars 3 looked for a ghost track. It seems like the North Carolina circuit was the perfect fit according to Sporting News.
11 Windy Hollow Drag Strip, Kentucky
Not to be confused with the Windy Hollow Speedway which is still opened to this day. However the drag strip suffered a different faith. The former location is completely abandoned today - it appears to be a farming area covered in land. The drag strip is still visible from photographs taken above. However the conditions are less than stellar and something you might find in a creepy Hollywood flick. The area is completely abandoned and making matters worse the isolation of the area really doesn’t help things especially in terms of restoring the former drag strip.
10 Brooklands Circuit, United Kingdom
Google refers to the area as a historic landmark. All we see is some curves that resemble a skating park half pipe along with lots and lots of forestry and grass coming out of the former circuit. Sad to see how little maintenance the course has endured over the decades.
In its prime, the course had mammoth crowds estimated at over 200,000 people.
Sadly due to the timing and the Great War taking place the circuit was forgotten about rather quickly. Today the location is open as a museum. Despite its current condition it is quite the spectacle nonetheless.
9 Rouen-les-Essarts, France
Today it’s an old and rusty place that was completely demolished throughout the years. Back in its prime things were quite different. The oval track opened in 1950 becoming one of Europe’s finest circuits rather quickly. It was a street circuit with so many twists and turns. Both Formula One and Formula 2 held events at the venue. Safety concerns was a big reason for the track’s downfall and eventual abandonment. Economic issues were another factor. As of 1999 it officially closed. Most of the area is completely demolished. What’s still standing today makes for quite the eerie visual.
8 Valencia F1 Street Circuit, Spain
It was a unique track to say the least. The course was a prominent stop for Formula One up until just a couple of years back. Unfortunately, unlike the other tracks this course had a short-lived run lasting from 2008 to 2012. As you might expect most of its revenue came from F1.
The track officials tried to negotiate new terms with the racing league, however discussions completely soured and F1 refused to return.
This caused the complete abandonment with no revenue stream coming in, or at least one with the funding capabilities of F1.
7 Texas College Station World Speedway
The track made its debut in 1969. Both NASCAR and IndyCar held events at the venue. Low attendance plagued the area however and by the 1980s some of the prominent race car companies stopped attending the Texas College Station. It was kept throughout the years with a couple of amateur races. However the final blow was recently dealt due to a massive storm. According to Jalopnik this was the final dagger for the depleted race track; “The storm was what finally did it. A former Texas World employee said at the start of September that all motorsport operations and events at the track were ceased, and that it was “no more.”
6 Beach Haven Speedway, Pennsylvania
If you like old rusty stuff and a poorly maintained forest area then perhaps the Beach Haven Speedway might be worth the trip. In truth, the former circuit is in complete disarray nowadays with some old props still on the scene and as you might expect, completely rusted and in terrible shape. Even the bleacher section looks completely unrecognizable covered in branches and grass. It launched back in the 1960s. Despite it being a popular attraction in its time it would close due terrible profit margins. Today most wouldn’t even recognize the former speedway.
5 Meadowdale International Raceway, Illinois
This race track made its debut all the way back in 1958. It was an impressive course. However once again it just wasn’t meant to be as it closed its doors in 1968 just a decade later. It is said that improper funding was the core reason for track’s ultimate demise. After decades of complete and utter abandonment the location was finally bought and cleaned up in the mid 1990s. According to Hooniverse the former raceway has now turned into a park; “It sat vacant for a quarter-century until local park districts bought the north end of the facility in 1994, followed by the rest of the land in 2002. A hiking trail was soon put on the property, now named Raceway Woods, where it loosely followed the original track layout.”
4 Vineland Speedway, New Jersey
Nowadays the location is completely covered in vegetation. It resembles a forest more than an actual speedway. The venue had some great success with various races during the 1950s and 60s. However like most of the other race tracks the venue just wasn’t bringing in enough funds despite the course being utilized frequently. They were losing thousand per week back in the late 1950s. By the mid 1960s the allure of the speedway had totally worn off. It closed its doors and reopened with a college. The Daily Journal claims its basically a walking path these days; “Today, College Drive cuts through parts of the old track, and the former raceway grounds are largely overgrown with foliage.”
3 Phoenix Trotting Park, Arizona
“Demolition of the Phoenix Trotting Park, a massive, abandoned horse-racing track near Interstate 10 and Loop 303 in Goodyear, began Wednesday morning.” Another iconic track torn down to shreds according to AZ Central. The demolition began in the fall of 2017. The race track originated way back in the 1960s. Horse racing was the main purpose for the massive location back in the day.
Despite high expectations, the course completely closed a year later in 1966.
This after millions of funding. Low attendance was the key issue. Finally the demolition is taking place with new projects set to replace the short-lived horse track venue.
2 Pinnacle Race Course, Michigan
It was initially meant to enhance Michigan’s reputation. However the $50 million project ended up completely tanking. Located next to the Detroit Metro Airport the horse track finally shut its doors in 2010. Following the previous owner going out of business, the course was completely demolished. What was once a 4,000 seat venue is now completely destroyed into absolutely nothing. There are no plans to reopen anything at the location. It remains up for sale at the steep price of $8 million. That’s a lot for an area that looks to be nothing but a liability these days.
1 Blue Bonnets, Montreal
Sadly, this popular horse racing track in Montreal has been completely vacated for the past decade. Making matters worse the conditions appear to be plummeting with no maintenance taking place over the course of its abandonment. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette a long-time rep of the district explains his frustrations with the area being completely forgotten about; “It’s a prime and choice site, and it’s really nonsense that it’s been allowed to remain vacant decade after decade,” Rotrand said. What was once considered one of the biggest tracks in North America is likely to turn into an area filled with condo units or social housing. Here’s to hoping the track gets restored some day as opposed to the depressing scene that it has become today.
Sources: Hemmings.com, CarThrottle.com, MontrealGazette.com