Some venues succumbed
NASCAR reduced the schedule of its top national series dramatically in 1972 — from 48 races to 31.
Thirteen short tracks were booted from the schedule at the end of the 1971 season: Hickory Speedway, Hickory, N.C.
On Cup schedule 1953 to 1971 (35 races). Xfinity schedule 1982 to 1998. Now runs weekly schedule highlighted by Late Models. When the track held Sunday afternoon races, it suspended competition to eliminate engine noise while funeral services were held at an adjacent cemetery. Columbia Speedway, Cayce, S.C.
Cup schedule 1951 to 1971 (43 races). A legendary stock car racing short track, Columbia Speedway is remembered for providing solid experience for future champions such as Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough. After closing and becoming overgrown with weeds and sitting dormant for
more than 30 years, the facility reopened in 2009 as a venue for concerts, corporate outings, car shows and similar events. Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Easley, S.C.
Cup schedule 1955 to 1971 (28 races). Continues to operate a weekly program. David Pearson and Ralph Earnhardt (Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s father) won track championships at the half-mile, which hosted the first flag-to-flag network television coverage of a Cup race (April 10, 1971). NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. promoted the first race at the track in 1946. Smoky Mountain Raceway, Maryville, Tenn.
Cup schedule 1965 to 1971 (12 races). The track continues to operate with Late Model racing on an irregular schedule. Petty won five of the last seven Cup races there. South Boston Speedway, South Boston, Va.
Cup schedule 1960 to 1971 (10 races). SoBo also hosted Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races but dropped off the national series schedule in 2003 with its last truck race. The track hosts Late Models every other week.
Attend enough races here, and you’ll eventually eat one of the track’s famous bologna burgers. New Asheville Speedway, Asheville, N.C.
Cup schedule 1962 to 1971 (eight races). Adjacent to the French Broad River, New Asheville was a hotbed for regional racing after the Cup series left town, but the track was closed in 1999 when the area was converted to a city park. The racing surface, now part of the park, is used for bicycling and walking. Kingsport Speedway, Kingsport, Tenn.
Cup schedule 1969 to 1971 (three races). Track now runs a Late Model schedule weekly.
Albany- Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y.
Cup schedule 1970 to 1971 (two races). Once part of the so-called Northern Tour, Albany now runs weekly Sportsman races. Islip Speedway, Islip, N.Y.
Cup schedule 1964 to 1971 (six races). One of the shortest (0.2mile) tracks to host the Cup series, Islip closed in 1984. Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston- Salem, N.C.
Cup schedule 1958 to 1971 (29 races). Despite being in the head-
quarters city of then-new NASCAR sponsor R.J. Reynolds, Bowman Gray was one of the casualties of the top series’ downsizing. The track remains strong, however, and has built a regional reputation for fierce racing and occasional over-the-top driver confrontations. Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, Ga.
Cup schedule 1966 to 1971 (nine races). No longer an active track, Middle Georgia is perhaps best remembered for hosting a giant music festival in July 1970 — the Atlanta International Pop Festival — as a reported total of more than 200,000 fans came to the venue to listen to Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers Band and many others. Meyer Speedway, Houston
Cup schedule 1971 (one race). Bobby Allison won the only Cup race on the half-mile track, outrunning the rest of a 13-car field. The track no longer is in operation. Ona Speedway, Ona, W.Va.
Cup schedule 1963 to 1971 (four races). Once operated by entertainment kingpin Dick Clark, the speedway now hosts Late Models every other week.