Mini Documentary Explores the Dead and Dying Speedways of the South
During the early 2000s, NASCAR racing experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity. At that time, tuning into the races on Sundays became a cultural phenomenon, with drivers achieving celebrity status akin to A-listers. This widespread fame brought success to all levels of racing, and local circle tracks thrived, particularly in the southern United States where tracks acted as living and breathing entities brimming with excitement.
However, as with many things in life, this explosive growth and popularity seemed to disappear as quickly as it had emerged. While NASCAR itself still exists, its capacity and influence have significantly diminished compared to a couple of decades ago. In contrast to names like Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, the sport doesn’t even host any household names anymore. Consequently, the popularity of most circle track racing levels has dwindled as well, resulting in a decline in attendance and the abandonment of several tracks, now left for nature to reclaim.
In this compelling documentary from VICE, we explore the dead and dying speedways of the South. The film showcases tracks such as the North Wilkesboro Speedway, the original speedway of NASCAR, which has sadly fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, North Wilkesboro was fortunate enough to be revived for this year’s All-Star race after the filming of the documentary. However, witnessing the state of these featured tracks raises questions about the potential for revival among other abandoned venues.
The VICE documentary provides a thought-provoking glimpse into the fate of these speedways and sparks speculation about the future of other tracks. As we delve into the film, we contemplate whether there is hope for a resurgence in the popularity and restoration of these once-thriving racing venues. Watch the documentary below for a comprehensive exploration of the challenges faced by these iconic tracks and the potential for their revival.