clock

Open Today until 6pm

MENU
clock

Open Today until 6pm

MENU
clock

Open Today until 6pm

Artifacts

Artifact: Investing in NASCAR and North Carolina

Curtis Turner and Wood Brothers Win Inaugural Race At ‘The Rock’

Accession Number: 2021.1.3
Donor: Jo DeWitt Wilson

Beginning with the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and throughout the 1960s, NASCAR began racing more frequently on brand-new tracks, most of which were longer, faster, and more steeply banked than tracks from the previous decade. Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway both began hosting races in 1960. Another new track, North Carolina Motor Speedway, was proposed in the mid-1960s at Rockingham, North Carolina, about a 90-minute drive from Charlotte.

Jo DeWitt Wilson, daughter of longtime track president L.G. DeWitt, donated numerous one-of-kind artifacts associated with the track’s early days—including financial ledgers, correspondence, and nearly 200 stock certificates. Richard Howard, longtime head of Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Harold Brasington, Darlington Raceway founder and 2017 Landmark Award Winner for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, were major investors in the new track and owned a significant portion of the stock. Two of their stock certificates are pictured here.

Photos By: Kevin Larrabee

North Carolina Motor Speedway, or “The Rock” as it became known, featured 42 NASCAR premier series races from 1965-2004. The inaugural race, the American 500, could serve as an excellent category on a NASCAR-themed version of the gameshow “Jeopardy.” The event took place on Halloween and roughly 35,000 fans watched Curtis Turner (2016) claim his 17th and final career win.

The inaugural race at North Carolina Motor Speedway on Halloween 1965 saw Curtis Turner win his final premier series race. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

He drove a Wood Brothers-owned Ford into victory lane, giving Glen (2012) and Leonard (2013) their fifth victory on the season (with their fourth different driver). Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, and Marvin Panch all won for the Wood Brothers earlier in the season. L. G. DeWitt, by the way, would also become a championship car owner in 1973 with Benny Parsons (2017) as his driver.

Plan your visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and purchase tickets by visiting nascarhall.com/tickets.

Daniel J. Simone, Ph.D.

Daniel J. Simone, Ph.D.

Daniel has been a Curator at the NASCAR Hall of Fame since 2016 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2009.

Related Articles