The Occoneechee Speedway was one of the first eight Nascar tracks to open. It closed in 1968.

The Occoneechee Speedway is 1 of 3 remaining racetracks from the Inaugural 1949 season.

Courtesy Clyde Mangum Collection
Fact: The Occoneechee Speedway is the only remaining Dirt Track from the Inaugural 1949 Season.

    The Occoneechee Speedway is located just outside of the Hillsborough Historic District, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The Occoneechee Farm occupied the land in the late 1800's. The farm was named after the Occoneechee band of the Saponi Nation. The landowner raced horses, and built a half-mile horse racing track. Bill France noticed the horse racing track and expansive of open land while piloting his airplane. He built a 0.9 mile dirt track in September,1947, two months before Nascar was organized. 

Courtesy of The News of Orange

    In it's earliest days, Fonty Flock and his brothers Bob and Tim dominated the track. Louise Smith became Nascar's first female driver at the track in the fall of 1949. The Occoneechee Speedway
hosted stock car racing legends such as Fireball Roberts, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson and the King Richard Petty.  

    The track was renamed Orange Speedway in 1954.  In part due to resistance of the local religious authorities, William France (Bill) Sr. finally gave up on the Occoneechee Speedway. On September 15,1968 France shut down the operation after Richard Petty's win. Bill France moved to Alabama, where he had brought an 1,800 acre site forty miles east of Birmingham. There he built the biggest and fastest Nascar track of them all. Talladega Super-speedway.  

    The Occoneechee-Orange Speedway site is now heavily forrested with pines and sycamores. The grandstands are still visible, as is much of the mile long oval track. The Occoneechee Speedway site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and now comprises 44 acres with over 3 miles of trails. 

    A beautiful walking trail was built in 2003 that crisscrosses the clay track. The Classical American Preservation Trust owners of the speedway and Preservation North Carolina have opened to the public the Historic Occonnechee Speedway Trail (HOST). 

    The 44 acre site with 3 miles of trail and much early racing history is located on 320 Elizabeth Brady Road in Hillsborough, North Carolina and is open to the public during day-light hours every day. It is free of charge.

    Classical American Homes Preservation Trust also owns Historic Ayr Mount, a beautiful Federal - style home in Hillsborough. Located on the grounds of Ayr Mount is Poet's Walk, a beautiful mile long trail that crosses through woods and meadows meanders along parts of the Eno River. Ayr - Mount is located on St. Mary's Road in Hillsborough. Again, both trails are open to the public.
    Come and enjoy our Historic Sites. All are conveniently located in town. The history buff will enjoy all the past Hillsborough offers. Be 
sure to visit the the Shops at Daniel Boone. Plenty of antique shops, boutiques and galleries. While visiting this part of the State, Hillsborough offers some of the finest foods, Bed & Breakfast    
Inn's as well as motel/hotel accommondations. 

The information contained above has been compiled from various sources.

 Note: The photographs shown are courstey of  Drivers, Family & Friends

 #58 - Ray Platt

Copyright (c) 2012 Historic Speedway Group. All Rights Reserved.