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Blog / Artifacts

A Blast From The Past

1953 Bowman Gray Stadium track program gives a glimpse into NASCAR’s rich short-track racing heritage.

There’s certainly no shortage of historical short tracks around the United States: tough, congested bullrings where racers battle for local supremacy on Saturday nights in hard fought and occasionally bitterly contested races.

One of the most important short tracks in NASCAR history is Bowman Gray Stadium, a tiny, claustrophobic 0.250-mile oval in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Developed by NASCAR founder and Hall of Famer William H.G. France (2010), along with NASCAR’s first flagman, Alvin Hawkins, Bowman Gray opened in 1949 and continues to host Saturday night racing in a variety of series.

The cost of a Bowman Gray NASCAR Short Track Division program was just 25 cents in 1953.

Bowman Gray staged 29 premier series races from 1958-71, 24 of which were won by Hall of Famers: Richard Petty (2010), Junior Johnson (2010), Lee Petty (2011), Bobby Allison (2011), David Pearson (2011), Glen Wood (2012) and Rex White (2015), who all were victorious here, most more than once.

Now here’s a winning idea: If your face was circled on the back cover of the program, you got two free tickets to next week’s race.

For this Curators’ Corner blog post, we go all the way back to 1953 with a Bowman Gray NASCAR Short Track Division race program, featuring local stars like Hall of Famers Lee Petty (2011) and Curtis Turner (2016), plus Jim Reed and brothers Bobby and Billy Myers.

Some of NASCAR’s top drivers turned out to compete at Bowman Gray stadium in 1953.

The program was donated to the NASCAR Hall of Fame by the late Edgar Otto, the son of NASCAR’s first vice president Edward J. Otto. The elder Otto was a close confidant of NASCAR founder France and worked for the sanctioning body for 13 years.

Nothing like an action¬-packed photo gallery to get fans on their feet.

Because of the generosity of donors like the Otto family, the NASCAR Hall of Fame continues to amass a sizeable number of artifacts, photographs and publications as the building blocks of our Permanent Collection.

Curtis Turner was one of NASCAR’s early stars who raced at Bowman-Gray Stadium. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

View artifacts like this by planning your visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and purchase tickets by visiting nascarhall.com/tickets.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a veteran of more than 20 years in the NASCAR media industry.

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