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NASCAR to Manage Racing Operations for Bowman Gray Stadium

NASCAR acquired Winston-Salem Speedway Inc., the lessee of Bowman Gray Stadium, and will take over racing operations of the historic racing venue under lease with the City of Winston-Salem.


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Big news on the local short track front on Thursday, as NASCAR announced the acquisition of Winston-Salem Speedway, Inc., which is the lessee of Bowman Gray Stadium. As a part of the acquistion, NASCAR will now manage racing operations at the historic 0.250-mile short track, which was originally built in 1937. NASCAR has a lease with the City of Winston-Salem, which runs through December 2050 per a press release from NASCAR.

NASCAR has named Austin Shuford, who was previously part of Track Enterprises and worked at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway as a promoter and manager of events, the new general manager of racing operations for Bowman Gray Stadium.

Bowman Gray's unique place in NASCAR's history made acquiring the racing operations at the iconic facility a special move for the sanctioning body.

“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, 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 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 City of 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.”

For Shuford, the opportunity to manage the racing operations at Bowman Gray is a great priviledge, and one that he vows to not take for granted.

"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,” said Shuford. “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."

With this announcement, the question becomes; will there become a day that Bowman Gray Stadium makes its way onto the NASCAR National Series schedule? That's a question for another day, but NASCAR acquiring the racing operations of the facility goes a long way toward making that a reality.

In 1949, 12 years after the track was founded, NASCAR began holding weekly racing at the facility, and the quarter-mile track was the first paved oval that NASCAR ever competed on. Now, all these years later, NASCAR has acquired the racing operations of the facility. Bowman Gray Speedway is set to kick off its 2024 racing season on Saturday, April 20.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR

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