NASCAR Acquires Bowman Gray Stadium: Preserving History and Racing Legacy

A historic signing at one of NASCAR’s most impactful tracks. From left: Dale Pinilis, Johnnie Pinilis, Lesa Kennedy, Ben Kennedy, Jim France, Gray Garrison, Jonathan Hawkins, Loren Pinilis. Credit: Susan Wong | NASCAR.com
A historic signing at one of NASCAR’s most impactful tracks. From left: Dale Pinilis, Johnnie Pinilis, Lesa Kennedy, Ben Kennedy, Jim France, Gray Garrison, Jonathan Hawkins, Loren Pinilis. Credit: Susan Wong | NASCAR.com

Today, NASCAR has officially acquired Winston-Salem Speedway, Inc., the managing entity of the iconic Bowman Gray Stadium. Under the terms of the lease with the City of Winston-Salem, which extends until December 2050, NASCAR will assume responsibility for the racing operations.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy, expressed gratitude for Bowman Gray Stadium’s historical significance as NASCAR’s inaugural weekly racetrack. He acknowledged the Hawkins family’s generational stewardship of the track and emphasized NASCAR’s commitment to preserving its legacy for future generations of fans and racers.

Mayor Allen Joines of the City of Winston-Salem hailed the acquisition, noting the track’s integral role in the community’s history and NASCAR’s origins. He welcomed NASCAR’s commitment to continuing the beloved weekly races at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Austin Shuford has been appointed as the new general manager of racing operations for Bowman Gray Stadium. With experience at Track Enterprises’ Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and a background in event management across multiple racetracks, Shuford expressed his enthusiasm for preserving and enhancing the stature of Bowman Gray Stadium under NASCAR’s stewardship.

Bowman Gray Stadium, constructed in 1937, is renowned in NASCAR history as the oldest continuously operating weekly racetrack. Notably, it was the first weekly and paved racetrack where NASCAR competed, thanks to the efforts of Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR’s founding figures.

Over the years, Bowman Gray Stadium has welcomed legendary NASCAR drivers such as Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, and David Pearson, among others. The track has also hosted NASCAR events, including East Series races from 2011 to 2015, where notable drivers like Ben Kennedy and Corey Lajoie secured victories.

The 2024 racing season at Bowman Gray Stadium is set to commence on Saturday, April 20. Fans can anticipate thrilling competitions in various categories, including modified, sportsman, street stock, and stadium stock races. For further details about the upcoming NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series season, visit bowmangrayracing.com.

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