The Hickory Motor Speedway is known throughout the racing world. It is the longest continually operated motor speedway in the country. It is often referred to as “The Most Famous Short Track” and “The Birthplace of NASCAR Stars”. The track first opened in 1951, as a 1/2 mile dirt track. The speedway quickly became part of the Grand National Series (now the Sprint Cup), and was an important NASCAR track for many years. Currently, the track is used as a venue for NASCAR’s club racing division, the Whelen All-American Series.
Our county is steeped in racing history. Junior Johnson, the bootlegger turned racing legend took the 1952 track title. Ralph Earnhardt, father of the late Dale Earnhardt, was a five-time track champ. Catawba’ County’s own Ned Jarret won the track title in 1955. Richard Petty, Bobby Isaac and Bobby Allison have all raced at the Hickory Motor Speedway.
The speedway is still a vital part of our region, and locals often enjoy their evenings watching the cars zoom by.