Media get a first look inside possible moonshine cave at North Wilkesboro Speedway

(NWS photo)

Repairs began Tuesday at North Wilkesboro Speedway on the grandstands above an area found underneath the structure after a sinkhole opened recently.

An open area was discovered underneath the frontstretch grandstands toward Turn 1 nearly two weeks ago and is estimated to be approximately 700-square-feet.

Construction crews from Baker’s Construction Services began the process of pouring concrete into the large cavern.

In all more than 600 aluminum seats were removed, and a large chunk of the concrete seating was opened so construction crews could safely get inside and lay in the concrete fill to make repairs and stabilize the area.

Speedway Motorsports Senior Vice President of Operations and Development of Steve Swift said the seats were found to be safe and the cavern is not in a collapsible area, as there are plenty of big rocks and dirt underneath providing a solid ground foundation.

“Once our operations guys found the initial hole we knocked it open to find there was an even bigger hole, approximately 700 square-feet, a huge cavity,” Swift said. “You could park a Chevrolet pickup truck in the hole, and it was right under the Turn 1 grandstands.”

The repairs are expected to be complete in time for the upcoming NASCAR All-Star Race week, May 14-19.

“We had to make sure we could get this repaired,” Swift said. “We didn’t find any sinkholes where the bottom falls out when we tested for that. We knew at that point we would need to use concrete as the best option to fill it back in. A lot of concrete will go in there, approximately 42 yards each day. We want to restore the seats and concrete the way that it was in the original form, and that’s very important to Marcus (Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports), to keep that look and feel just like it was in the 1990s.”

Swift also said he and a team of engineers that analyzed and evaluated the area are still uncertain about the origins of the cavern. The initial story last week created quite a buzz nationally when Swift speculated that it could be an abandoned cave or tunnel used years ago for moonshining.

“It’s hard to say if the folklore and old stories that you constantly hear around here are true, but we are in the heart of what was once moonshining country, so who knows?”

“We didn’t want to dig too deep into the cave, we unfortunately didn’t have time to be an archeologist,” Swift continued. “There’s things under there you would see that makes no sense why they are there. We saw some things that were kind of weird, columns and an interior wall and it made us think of some of the stories we have heard in the past, there could be something to this hole. It’s still plausible, and maybe Myth Busters can come out and investigate it one day.”


Photos: A Look Inside Possible Moonshine Cave at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Greg Engle