What Is Nascar’s Original Super Speedway? [Ultimate Guide!]

Nascar’s Original Super Speedway was a short-lived motorsport circuit that operated from 1973 until 1976. The name “Super Speedway” was chosen to evoke the nostalgia of the golden era of American motorsport in the 1950s and 1960s. The track operated at various locations across the country, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Richmond, Virginia. When it first opened, the track was known for its distinctive yellow and white color scheme, designed to evoke the nostalgia of the “good old days” of American racing.

An Early 1970s Race Car

To experience what it was like to attend a race at the “Original Super Speedway,” one must first imagine what an early 1970s version of an automobile would look like. The typical race car of the era was either a modified version of a stock car or a futuristic vehicle with multiple domes and air horns sticking out of it.

The following clip, which comes from the 1975 documentary film Days of Thunder, gives an idea of what an early 1970s Nascar race car looked like:

A short clip from Days of Thunder

The documentary, which focused on the turbulent World Championship season of 1974, features the final laps of the Charlotte Motor Speedway race. We get a glimpse of a modified Dodge Charger, which is driven by Jack Spratte and owned by Peter DePaolo. Spratte is shown in the clip giving the iconic thumbs-up sign as he drives towards the checkered flag.

The moment perfectly sums up the optimism and excitement that permeated American motorsport in the early 1970s. The film also features cars from the previous three years, showing the evolution of late-1970s racing vehicles.

Racing At “The Track”

The name “Super Speedway” gave the impression that the track was a permanent fixture in the North Carolina town of Salisbury. In fact, “The Track” was only there for the duration of the season. After the last race, which was on September 19, 1975, the track was dismantled and took up to four months to decommission.

The track could run on different layouts, ranging from a dirt oval to a paved one 3.9 miles in length. At the end of the 1977 season, tracks were converted to asphalt, and NASCAR banned the use of dirt ovals.

The track hosted four separate divisions: Modifieds, Hardtops, Hornets, and Super Hornets. Each division was raced on a weekly basis, with the exception of the super hornets, whose schedule was reduced to four races due to capacity issues.

The track drew a large crowd for its final two seasons, with an average attendance of 12,900 in 1975 and 14,400 in 1976. However, it was never able to secure a television contract, which led to its eventual disappearance. While Days of Thunder was one of the biggest movies of the era, it may not have been the most accurate. In fact, the 1975 finale was the only race of the four-year span that was caught on camera.

The Last Hurrah?

While the name “Super Speedway” brought to mind memories of the golden era of American motorsport, the track was actually a harbinger of its own destruction. The final two years were dogged by rising costs, lack of sponsors, and an overall decline in interest in the sport.

The following clip, which comes from the 1975 documentary Racing For Recovery, sums up the decline:

A short clip from Racing For Recovery

In the final years of “The Track,” the average racing fan had other options for their entertainment. As a result, attendances dropped by nearly 50% in the final two years. Perhaps the most telling indicator of the sport’s waning popularity was the lack of new tracks. There were only three new venues built between 1974 and 1976: Daytona International Speedway, the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the now-defunct Riverside International Raceway in California. The construction of these tracks, combined with the closing of The Track, spelled the end for NASCAR‘s original “Super Speedway.”

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