NASCAR acquires Winston-Salem’s historic Bowman Gray Stadium

NASCAR has acquired the lease to Bowman Gray Stadium and will manage its racing operations with the City of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, through the end of the year 2050.

“As NASCAR’s first weekly racetrack, Bowman Gray Stadium holds a special place in the history of our sport,” said Ben Kennedy, Senior Vice President, Racing Development and Strategy for NASCAR. “We are grateful to the Hawkins family’s multi-generational legacy of leadership at this historic track and we’re thrilled to oversee racing at one of the crown jewels in NASCAR Regional. We look forward to leading the racing operations of the facility in partnership with the City of Winston-Salem to preserve the history and legacy of the racetrack for the next generation of fans and racers.”

Bowman Gray Stadium is a quarter-mile short track that hosts modified, sportsman, street stock, and stadium stock events. The NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series also competes at Bowman Gray Stadium. It was built in 1937.


“Bowman Gray Racing has been a part of the fabric of Winston Salem for many years. In fact, some attribute NASCAR’s beginning to the races held at Bowman Gray Stadium,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “It is for that and other reasons that the City of Winston Salem is delighted that NASCAR is acquiring Winston-Salem Speedway Inc. I am doubly happy that NASCAR has committed to the continuance of the weekly races at the stadium, that are so popular with our citizens and visitors.”

NASCAR’s history at Bowman Gray Stadium dates back to 1949 when Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins brought the sport to the facility. It was the first paved racetrack NASCAR competed on.

Bowman Gray Stadium has hosted 29 Cup Series races (from 1958 to 1971). NASCAR East Series races were run at the track from 2011 through 2015.

Austin Shuford was named the new general manager of racing operations for Bowman Gray Stadium. His previous experience includes working with Track Enterprises’ Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and promoting 25 events a year at more than 15 racetracks through the south and Midwest.

“As one of racing’s most beloved and enduring venues, it’s truly an honor to be named the new general manager of racing operations at Bowman Gray Stadium,” Shuford said. “I look forward to learning from the Garrison, Pinilis, and Hawkins families to preserve and extend the greatness of Bowman Gray Stadium. Thanks to NASCAR for this fantastic opportunity to join their organization and the chance to entertain race fans at weekly events throughout the year.”

Story originally appeared on Racer