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NASCAR acquires "The Madhouse" Bowman Gray Stadium

On Thursday, NASCAR announced that it had acquired the lease of Bowman Gray Stadium. The sanctioning body will manage the track's racing operations. NASCAR will own the lease with the City of Winston-Salem through December 2050.

“As NASCAR’s first weekly racetrack, Bowman Gray Stadium holds a special place in the history of our sport,”Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development and strategy, said. “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 was built in 1937. Auto racing started there in 1939. The track was paved in 1947 and was the first paved track that NASCAR raced on. The NASCAR Cup Series raced at the Madhouse from 1958 to 1971. Legends such as the King Richard Petty, Lee Petty, Junior Johnson, Glen Wood, Bobby Alison, and David Pearson have won races at the Madhouse. Bowman Gray also hosted NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races from 2011 to 2015. The Madhouse currently hosts modified sportsman, street stock, stadium stock events, and the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.

So what does NASCAR acquiring Bowman Gray mean? It could mean the NASCAR Cup Series will return and race at the Madhouse again. A couple of years ago, NASCAR returned to North Wilkesboro by moving the All-Star race there. I think NASCAR will try to do the same thing with Bowman Gray. The contract for NASCAR's preseason exhibition race, the Clash with the Los Angeles Coliseum, has expired, and there are questions about where that race will be held in 2025. I can see NASCAR having the Clash at Bowman Gray. It makes sense because NASCAR has history on the track and would return to its roots by bringing the Cup Series back to Bowman Gray. If NASCAR brought the Clash to Bowman Gray, it might have a points-paying race at the track if it was a success.

With NASCAR acquiring Bowman Gray, expect the Cup Series to be racing there soon, whether in an exhibition race like the Clash, All-Star, or a points-paying race.

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