Legendary NASCAR speedway's mythical secret moonshine cave may have been found, officials say


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The history of NASCAR is deeply rooted in illegal moonshine during the Prohibition Era, and one local legend at one of the sport’s historic racetracks may have become fact this week.

North Wilkesboro Speedway officials in North Carolina said Tuesday that a long-rumored secret moonshine hold may have been discovered underneath one of the grandstands thanks to a sinkhole.

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Ty Gibbs crosses the line

Ty Gibbs, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21, 2023 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

In a press release, officials said staff discovered an area of around 700 square feet underneath the old concrete of section N of the track during a cleaning operation.

When we began renovating and restoring North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2022, we’d often hear stories of how an old moonshine still was operated here on the property under the grandstands,” Speedway Motorsports Vice President of Operations and Development Steve Swift said.

Well, we haven’t found a still (yet), but we’ve found a small cave and an interior wall that would have been the perfect location to not only make illegal liquor, but to hide from the law as well. We don’t know how people would have gotten in and out, but as we uncover more, there’s no telling what we might find.”

BYRON WINS AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS IN NASCAR’S FIRST ROAD RACE OF SEASON

North Wilkesboro Speedway sign

North Wilkesboro signage around the speedway prior to the running of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Tyson 250 on May 20, 2023 at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. (Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Staff removed about 600 seats and are evaluating the next steps for repair ahead of the NASCAR All-Star Race set for May 14-19, officials said.

Swift added that there was a lot of work to be done before fans can come and sit for the race.

Wilkes County, North Carolina, was once considered the capital of the moonshine industry in the state, according to Spectrum News. Transporting the liquor required fast and skilled drivers who could navigate the backroads at night.

It led to competitive racing between drivers and eventually the start of NASCAR.

Kyle Larson holds the trophy

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, lifts the All-Star Moonshine Still trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21, 2023 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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North Wilkesboro Speedway was one of the original NASCAR tracks after it opened in 1947. The track closed in 1996 and was left in despair before it was finally spruced up again and re-opened in 2023 for the NASCAR All-Star Race.

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