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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on April 1, 2024

Sinkhole Discovery Unveils Moonshine Cave Beneath Speedway

Officials stumbled upon a historical moonshine cave beneath North Wilkesboro Speedway due to a newly emerged sinkhole in a twist that sounds straight out of a crime novel.

A significant find at North Wilkesboro Speedway threatens the NASCAR All-Star Race's scheduled return in May after an underground cave is discovered, believed to be linked to illegal moonshine production.

According to the Daily Express, during an uneventful week of cleaning and inspection, the staff were caught off guard when a sinkhole was discovered beneath the front stretch grandstands, specifically under the concrete of Section N seats. This unforeseen event prompted a closer examination, which led to an astonishing find.

North Wilkesboro Speedway, established in 1947 and located in Wilkes County, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, has long been steeped in NASCAR tradition. It was one of the original racetracks to host Cup Series races, continuing until 1996. The speedway has since become enveloped in nostalgia and the lore of motorsports history, capturing the essence of racing's golden era.

The revealed space, measuring approximately 700 square feet, hinted at a past that intertwined tightly with the area's notorious history of moonshine production. Steve Swift, senior vice president of operations and development at Speedway Motorsports, conveyed the folklore surrounding the speedway, recounting tales of a moonshine still purportedly operated beneath the grandstands.

The Shadows of History Under the Grandstands

Swift's revelation illuminates the track's mysterious allure: "When we began renovating and restoring North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2022, we'd often hear stories of how an old moonshine still was operated here on the property under the grandstands."

The discovery of a cave, rather than the still itself, offers a glimpse into a moonshiner's hideout, perfect for eluding the law's grasp while engaging in the illicit liquor trade.

The sinkhole's cause and the cave's exact layout remain under investigation, with Swift admitting, "We don’t know how people would have gotten in or out, but as we uncover more, there’s no telling what we might find." This suspenseful exploration into the hidden compartments of history serves as a captivating sidebar to the speedway's racing legacy.

About 600 seats from Sections N and O were removed in response to the sinkhole to facilitate foundational repairs and concrete replacement. This undertaking underscores the urgency of ensuring spectator safety while preserving the integrity of this historic venue.

Racing Against Time for the All-Star Race

The timing of this discovery poses a unique challenge as the NASCAR All-Star Race looms on the horizon, scheduled to make its grand return to North Wilkesboro Speedway in May. This event marks a significant milestone following Kyle Larson's victory in the 2023 NASCAR All-Star race, part of the track's grand revival after years of dormancy.

The speedway's resurrection in 2023, spearheaded by an extensive restoration process, captured the imagination of racing fans and historians alike. It signified the return of a cherished venue to the NASCAR calendar and the rekindling of a storied past filled with speed, spectacle, and the shadows of moonshine lore.

North Wilkesboro was crucial in NASCAR's early development, and its ties to the notable moonshine legacy of Wilkes County paved the way for legends like Robert Glenn Johnson Jr.

His transformation from a moonshine runner to a renowned race car driver epitomizes the era's shift toward legitimacy, ultimately earning him a celebrated spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.

Lessons to Learn from This Tragedy

1. The importance of thorough inspections and maintenance cannot be overstated. Regular checks may prevent unforeseen incidents and ensure safety.

2. Understanding and preserving historical sites offer valuable insights into our past, highlighting the intertwined nature of local industry and culture.

3. When facing unexpected challenges, communities and organizations showcase resilience and adaptability, ensuring that heritage and progress can coexist seamlessly.

It's crucial to acknowledge that despite all precautions, the unpredictable nature of such discoveries reminds us of the imperative to remain vigilant and adaptive.

Why This Story Matters

This remarkable discovery underscores the importance of preserving historical landmarks and the stories they hold. It serves as a reminder of the complex tapestry of American culture, where racing history and moonshine lore intersect. Such stories enrich our understanding of the past, offering new dimensions to the narrative of locations like North Wilkesboro Speedway.

In conclusion, the emergence of a sinkhole at North Wilkesboro Speedway has unfolded a captivating chapter in the track's history, revealing a hidden cave with potential ties to moonshine production. This discovery, layered with the site's rich legacy in NASCAR and moonshine lore, offers a unique perspective on the intertwining narratives of American culture, racing, and the remnants of a bygone era lying just beneath the surface.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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