Runnin' Down a Ghost: Wadesboro Speedway

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts

It was 1948, NASCAR, concocted at the Streamline Hotel was off and running, literally.Pre-war Ford coupes called 'modifieds' were king, and the entertainment-starved Carolina's could not get enough of this new motorized craziness. Race tracks were springing up every where, and overnight. For the southern land-owner, a new version of the eternal rags-to-riches story was again possible.

Wadesboro, NC PRE-dated Charlotte and Rockingham as host city of a NASCAR car event. In fact, the small town on, US 74, played host during NASCAR's 1948inauguralseason. On May 9th, and June 13th, the modified roared into town with Red Byron and Fonty Flock (respectively) winning. If for no other reason, the ghost of Wadesboro Speedway (if it still exists) is significant and deserves recognition. Wadesboro shares a common bond with Occoneechee and North Wilkesboro, as all were part of that initial season.

I'm looking for the old girl, and may have found her. There's not much to go on, but there is a faintly footprint of a race track 14 miles NW of town, off of hwy 742 and appropriately on "Race Track Road". I am hoping someone can verify this site.


updated by @bobby-williamson: 12/05/16 04:08:38PM
Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts
Current aerial image
Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
8 years ago
327 posts
Great work, Bobby. It sure looks like a ghost track. This may be a dumb idea but if no one can help varify that's the spot, you could try calling some businesses in that area and ask if there's any oldtimers there that know where the old track used to be. You never know,someone might be tickled to hear there's interest in the old track.
Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts


Billy Biscoe (arustyracer) said:

Bopper B/W:There used to be an Auto Parts store in downtown Rockingham NC.It was called

Sheppards Auto Parts & Machine

216 S. Lee St.

Rockingham ,NC

last known phone # was 895-5268 ? but I'm fairly certain Roy Greene has retired and closed this business.He should/would know more details about the Wadesboro track.I'm guessing he's still in the area and living the good life?

My own recollections have some of his other family members having something to do with the older 1/2 dirt track called Rockingham Spwy, just down the road from the current facility the AndyH. operates.As with most research it's a lot of work and backtracking to find the real truth , but in the long run seems worth all the efforts.I for one enjoy what you have already done bring back some of these forgotten bull rings of yesteryear.Hope this helps you find a sucessful lead and keep up the great work as you proceed.BB

Thanks guys,

I've got a couple of friends that are native to the area, and still live in Wadesboro. I contacted them recently and they are currently trying to help. I'll try and contact Mr. Greene in Rockingham, gotta be someone out there that remembers something about the old track. There's also confusion as to the the number of tracks called "Wadesboro Speedway". I was under the impression that two different tracks had existed, with the same name, but now, I'm thinking that it was only one track, that operated at two different times...the late '40's and the early to mid '50's. It'd be cool if the state of North Carolina would place a historical marker near the site.

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts
This particular ghost is not Wadesboro Speedway. It was a 1960's era track, but I haven't (yet) determined its name.
Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts


Bobby Williamson said: What began as the "Anson Sportsman's Club" became the Wadesboro Speedway was located several miles south of town of NC hwy 742. Today, the site is completely consumed by the "Race Track (turkey) Farms"

This was the site of two NASCAR modified races in 1948.

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts

Although hosting a couple of NASCAR events, the'original' Wadesboro Speedwaydid not survive. After its demise, various local principles considered re-opening the facility, but ultimately chose to build a new speedway closer to town. The second area speedway was also known as 'Wadesboro Speedway' but was never NASCAR sanctioned and ran modified and sportsman cars through the early to mid 1950's. Wadesboro Speedway II was ultimately converted to a housing development, and the former backstretch "Trexler" Drive shares the name of the original property owner and speedway-developer.

'

Dennis Andrews
@dennis-andrews
8 years ago
835 posts

Bobby,

I asked my dad if he ran at the Wadesboro Speedway and he said that he did a few times in the late 50's. This was before late model cars were run in this part of the state, outlaw (non Nascar) modified and sportsman cars. He said that John McNeil promoted some races there. John was the promoter that was running the old Rockingham Speedway at the time. John's son Larry is a member of Racers Reunion and may be able to give you some more history on the track. It sounds like it would have been Wadesboro II from the dates you have posted. Dad said the track did not survive into the late model days and I think they started running late models as the featured class in 1962 at Rockingham.

The shop that BB noted, Sheppards Auto Parts and Machine is no longer standing. Old man Sheppard (as I have heard him called) ran the machine shop and built a lot of motors that ran in that time and area. His son Roy ran the parts store.

We can't think of anyone else except maybe Edsel Kiker that may know more history on the track. Edsel was from Peachland which is closer to Wadesboro than Rockingham. As far as I know he is still living, maybe he is in the phone book. Finding him should not be hard for you as I am constantly amazed at the amount of information you are able to dig up about these old ghost tracks.

Anyway that's my 2 cents worth, keep up the good work.

Dennis Andrews

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
8 years ago
907 posts


Dennis Andrews said:

Bobby,

I asked my dad if he ran at the Wadesboro Speedway and he said that he did a few times in the late 50's. This was before late model cars were run in this part of the state, outlaw (non Nascar) modified and sportsman cars. He said that John McNeil promoted some races there. John was the promoter that was running the old Rockingham Speedway at the time. John's son Larry is a member of Racers Reunion and may be able to give you some more history on the track. It sounds like it would have been Wadesboro II from the dates you have posted. Dad said the track did not survive into the late model days and I think they started running late models as the featured class in 1962 at Rockingham.

The shop that BB noted, Sheppards Auto Parts and Machine is no longer standing. Old man Sheppard (as I have heard him called) ran the machine shop and built a lot of motors that ran in that time and area. His son Roy ran the parts store.

We can't think of anyone else except maybe Edsel Kiker that may know more history on the track. Edsel was from Peachland which is closer to Wadesboro than Rockingham. As far as I know he is still living, maybe he is in the phone book. Finding him should not be hard for you as I am constantly amazed at the amount of information you are able to dig up about these old ghost tracks.

Anyway that's my 2 cents worth, keep up the good work.

Dennis Andrews

Dennis, Thanks for the info...and the compliment!

Bobby

Dennis Andrews
@dennis-andrews
3 weeks ago
835 posts

9241957ansonrecord.jpg1957

Dennis Andrews
@dennis-andrews
3 weeks ago
835 posts

08141956ansonrecord.jpg08241956ansonrecord.jpgHere a couple of articles that give the speedway location as south of town off hwy. 109