Governor Roy Cooper joined N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Reid Wilson at the Rockingham Speedway Thursday to unveil North Carolina’s newest cultural trail that will link locations significant to North Carolina’s history of moonshine and motorsports.
Highlighting the state’s unique, intertwined history of distilling and stock car racing, the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail was designated in the 2021 state budget and created by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
“The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail celebrates both the history and the bright future of North Carolina’s distilling and racing industries,” said Governor Cooper. “Racetracks are important to our state's history, culture and economy, and these investments are helping to get the engines running again."
Distilling grew out of the state’s agriculture history—a rich, complicated history that stretches back centuries. Auto racing in North Carolina has grown from occasional competitions among speed-hungry moonshiners during the 1930s to a multibillion-dollar industry that attracts legions of devoted followers across the world.
The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail was created to instill a sense of pride and ownership and drive economic development, particularly in rural communities, and to be a resource for cultural and tourism institutions across the state.
“This trail will help preserve motorsports and distilling history and culture and enhance those industries’ economic strength going forward,” said DNCR Secretary Reid Wilson. “Without question, moonshine and motorsports are connected in North Carolina, and this trail project aims to instill a sense of pride and ownership in this unique aspect of North Carolina culture.”
The initial phase includes eight locations to be marked in 2023 as part of the North Carolina Year of the Trail. Additional locations will be added in future phases.
The first eight trail locations are:
- The NASCAR Hall of Fame and Museum in Charlotte
- The North Wilkesboro Speedway
- The Charlotte Motor Speedway
- The North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh
- Stone Mountain State Park in in Alleghany and Wilkes counties
- The Occoneechee Speedway near Hillsborough
- The Rockingham Speedway
- Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City
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