One of the greatest mysteries I’ve encountered here in the North Carolina Collection has revolved around this postcard of “Charlotte Speedway:”
Curious about this predecessor to today’s Lowes Motor Speedway, I sleuthed around a bit to learn more about the track. What I found was perplexing: most sources described Charlotte Speedway as a dirt track built near the old airport in 1949, where stock car races were held. And yet, pictured here was an indy race on a wooden track, and the card appeared to be much older than 1949. I kept searching for traces of the speedway, to no avail. It seemed that maybe this indy track had been utterly forgotten here in stock car country.
Months have passed since my initial investigation, but today while browsing the index to “The State” magazine, I spotted this listing: “First Speedway Race Track.” Though I expected this lead would end up yet another reference the 1949 stock car track, I had to give it a shot. When I opened that November 1979 issue, I saw it: an image of a wooden track identical to the one pictured in the postcard.
Sure enough, there was another Charlotte Speedway built in Pineville in 1924, where indy races were held. According to the brief article by Bugs Barringer, the track was made of green pine two by fours, so that the wood would cure and shrink, allowing ventilation between the boards and preventing the tires from burning during races. Apparently a few stock car races were held at the track but, ironically, they attracted too few spectators to be profitable.