November – Occoneechee Speedway

November_OV
Latitude 36º 4′ 26.71″ N/
November_CU/Longitude 79º 4′ 53.65″ W

How to get there:

DRIVING DIRECTIONS to Occoneechee Speedway from I-85: take Exit 165 and head north on Hwy. 86 (away from the shopping center). In ½ mile, you will come to a stoplight. Continue straight at the light onto Elizabeth Brady Road. In 0.3 miles, turn right into the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail parking lot. Park here in this gravel lot. The physical address is 320 Elizabeth Brady Road, Hillsborough NC 27278.

HIKING DIRECTIONS to Occoneechee Speedway: Start at the informational wayside display at the south end of the parking area. Turn to your left and take the trail ahead of you. In a few hundred yards, the trail will intersect with the host access road. Turn right on the old road. You will soon see another wayside display with a large map of the property. Take the Spectator Trail to your left. In 0.25 miles, at the top of the hill, you will come to the rebuilt ticket office. Turn to the right and pass through the opening in the fence. Stop at this third wayside display for a look at the history of the site. Then, turn to your right and head down the Terrace Trace Trail. You will loop past the outhouse, the restored concession stand/press box and down to the original concrete grandstands. Head down the grandstand steps to the track and the flag stand. You are now on the original dirt track of the Occoneechee Speedway (this is the Speedway Trace Trail). Take a right, and in a couple hundred yards make another right at the first bend in the track. Head up the short hill. This should bring you back out to the map wayside display at the host access road. Take the road straight back out to the parking lot. This round-trip hike is less than a mile.

About Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail

For more information about the history of the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway and a link to race results, visit: http://www.enoriver.org/what-we-protect/parks/occoneechee-speedway/. Have we piqued your curiosity? Then visit the Historic Speedway Group’s website (http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/) to learn more about how this group of dedicated individuals has come together to protect, restore and promote the track. You can read driver profiles, get track facts, find out what else the area was used for, view more photos and learn about the restoration of the speedway and its buildings. They also have fantastic videos with stories told by many of the drivers who raced at the speedway!

The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust provided the historic photos below. The bottom right photo captures a beautiful scene of the track on a sunny Sunday in autumn. The Eno River is just past the trees on the far side of the track. The bottom left photo provides a glimpse of the crowd gathered for a race and the cars lined up for the start. The pace car is in front with ‘the King’ Richard Petty and his famous pale blue #43 car in the pole position (http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/richard-petty.html).

Have you been there? We are having a contest to see who can make it to all 12 locations in 2014. If you go, bring a camera and upload a photo to our Flickr photostream. Tag your photo as “Hidden Gems of the Eno” (you must use quotes around it!) and be sure to title each photo with your first name and last initial. Send an email to calendar@enoriver.org to let us know you are participating in the contest. We will honor those who make it to all of the locations at our annual calendar celebration at the end of the year and give you a special gift!

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