Occoneechee Speedway LbNA # 43116
|Owner||Diane and Ron |
|Placed Date||Jul 10 2008|
Occoneechee Speedway Clues
The historic Occoneechee Speedway, which hosted NASCAR races for 20 years and was one of the first two NASCAR tracks to open, is today a beautiful nature trail along the Eno River near Hillsborough, North Carolina. The trails include the original mile-long race track as well as several side trails. Along the Speedway trail is an old cement grandstand and the remnants of concession stands and other buildings. This site is one of only three race tracks on the National Register of Historic Place.
Drive to the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST), located at 320 Elizabeth Brady Road in Hillsborough, NC. It is open to the public during daylight hours 7 days a week.
Enter at the Host entry along a gravel walk to where trail sign (for Occoneechee Speedway) is and trail splits. Read the sign citing some of the history of the Speedway. Follow the middle trail to Speedway Trace.
NASCAR was formed in 1949 and the first NASCAR race at Occoneechee Speedway was held on August 7, 1949, although cars had been racing on the track the previous year. The first race was won by Bob Frock who was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR hall of fame as one of the top 50 drivers. His ride that day was a ’48 Oldsmobile.
Imagine yourself as Bob, coming out of curve two and heading down the back straight away at an average speed of 78 mph knowing you have a shot at winning the Occoneechee inaugural NASCAR event and points toward the championship!
Midway through the back stretch, from where you can see both bends and approximately across from the Grandstand (which you can see thru the trees), look for the y-end of a felled tree on the East side of the trail along the edge of the embankment. To the right of that about halfway to the river, is the remaining hollow base of a fallen tree. Bob's 48 Olds is located in the hollow under some leaves.
Drivers weren't the only famous faces seen at the speedway - actress Jayne Mansfield visited in 1963 and the local paper had pictures of Jayne riding around the Speedway in the pace car in a leopard –skin coat and signing autographs. Jayne Mansfield would die in a car crash four years later.
Walk further along the Speedway Trace, towards the third turn. You’ll notice a bench along the right if you need a rest. Continue down the stretch and around curve 3 on the right you’ll notice a path. Take the path down the stairs and turn left on the path at the bottom of the stairs.
Take the left fork when the path slits and continue walking uphill until the path starts to level off (and before the path splits again). On your left you will see a large gray and black rock. About 15 feet to the right of that rock are the stubby remnants of a hollow tree. Within there lies Jayne ‘s letterbox.
Continue to stroll along the path, taking the left fork again. As you stroll along, you will see the remains of the concrete Grandstand on your left. Sit on the top row on the north side and you can feel the years that have passed since Bob won his race though you notice there is still construction debris from when the bleachers were built, including old moss covered cinder blocks.
From this vantage point, you’d have a perfect view of the cars coming around the 4th turn to the finish line. You may feel the same joy Bob felt heading out of corner number 4 and down the straightaway to the finish line and the checkered flag. As you look toward the fourth corner (north of where you are sitting) you notice that there is a large tree directly in line with the top bleacher. The east side of the tree is shaped a bit like a tea-cup handle. If you look to the left while facing that tree, there are three old metal tubs. To the right of the tubs is small tree in the embankment with a hollow based. Under the white quartz stone, you will find the checkered flag.
For more information on the Historic Speedway: http://www.enoriver.org/eno/parks/occspdwy.htm