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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Inside an abandoned NASCAR speedway that has run its final lap

MASHABLE/UK/ Australia

( NOTE: This is  a remarkably sad story about one of NASCAR's
oldest and more interesting race tracks that fell victim to greed and the almighty dollar. Two individuals purchased the race track with the sole purpose of shutting it down and moving it's race dates on the NASCAR schedule to another race track. This race track had a charm and a personality all its own.)

Image: Seph Lawless

The North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina is a shadow of its former self.
A longstanding pillar in the NASCAR circuit, the former speedway closed its doors in 1996. After briefly patching up and reopening in 2010, the stadium has quickly fallen into a state of spooky apocalyptic decay.
Photojournalist Seph Lawless captured the scene as part of a photo book project, titled The Last Lap-North Wilkesboro Speedway Is Losing a Race Against Time. He describes it as "a harrowing look inside one of the most beloved speedways in America now sitting abandoned and forgotten."

Image: Seph Lawless
The introduction to his book is full of quotes reminiscing over the forgotten scene:
"This was America. Gone were the sounds of the car engines roaring. The squealing of the race car tires as they hugged every curve of the track. Gone was the smell of burning rubber and fuel. All that's left now is skid marks and the broken memories of a NASCAR champion."


Image: RacingOne

Image: Seph Lawless
"As I walk the race track it's eerily silent. This track once grew it only grows weeds and dead grass. I approach the thick white finish line. I look up to a endless sea of abandoned seats. It's faceless and emotionless."


Image: Seph Lawless

Image: Seph Lawless
Lawless's photos show just how fast the speedway fell into into disrepair. Five years after its last event, a combination of wind and rain have worn through the ceiling in some areas creating a moldy scene of disarray.

Image: Seph Lawless

Image: Seph Lawless
For more info and pictures on Lawless's photo essay, check out his book here. You can also see more of his work on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram