Racing veterans, fans, and representatives from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County convened at Carrier Park on Amboy Road September 23 for the unveiling of a monument commemorating the former Asheville Motor Speedway.
The site was home to the popular speedway from the early 1960’s until the track closed in the late 1990’s. It is now home to Carrier Park, one of the City of Asheville’s most popular recreation facilities.
“This was championship stuff, with the big guys. And it all happened here,” says Asheville City Council member and former race car driver Jan Davis, who spearheaded the effort to place a memorial at the park telling the story of its speedway days. The memorial was funded primarily by private donations and coordinated by a steering committee, but shared the support of Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners. The City of Asheville provided in-kind support by assisting with design elements and siting at Carrier Park.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by hundreds of race fans and supporters as well as elected officials from Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commissioners. Race car drivers who were part of the Asheville Motor Speedway legacy were on hand to sign autographs and tell their stories as well. Live music was provided by Whitewater Bluegrass.
The memorial documents 50 years of racing tradition in Buncombe County, telling the story of one of NASCARS’s legendary tracks through pictures and narrative drawn from the drivers and fans themselves. “The local people, they really made it happen,” Davis says. The race community in Buncombe County and especially in West Asheville, provided the drivers, mechanics and fans that supported the speedway.
“That was the important part,” Davis says. “To tell the story. A lot of work went into the authenticity and making sure we were telling the right stories.”
Located right in front of the track that is now used by bicyclists, the memorial gives visitors to the park a taste of racing history. Today, Carrier Park, with its multiple recreation option, is used by thousands of people each year.
“This will appeal to those who were here and those who are just walking through the park with their kids and don’t know about its past,” Davis says. “Because it is interactive in how it tells the story.”