Choose the nickname: “The World’s Most Famous Short Track” or the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.”
Either properly conveys the significance of Hickory Motor Speedway, the .363-mile NASCAR Home Track located in Newton, North Carolina.
One of the most storied tracks in stock car racing, Hickory in 2022 continues to host weekly racing from March through October as part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. The track’s “Big 10” events conclude with the Weekly Series championship night — with double points for all divisions — in September.
From Gwyn Staley in 1951 to Josh Kossek in 2021, the list of track champions at Hickory is loaded with notable names. And that list does not include the NASCAR national series winners at the track in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Below is everything to know about Hickory Motor Speedway.
|Track||Hickory Motor Speedway|
|Location||Newton, North Carolina|
|Banking||14 degrees in Turns 1-2; 12 degrees in Turns 3-4; 8 degrees on frontstretch and backstretch|
Hickory Motor Speedway opened in 1951 as a half-mile dirt track. That was the configuration on which Staley won the first race at the venue en route to his track championship that year.
That dirt track produced more notable track champions in the 1950s, as Junior Johnson won Hickory’s second track championship in 1952 before Ralph Earnhart reeled off consecutive Hickory titles in 1953-54.
Earnhardt would go on to win three more track championships at Hickory, in 1956, 1957 and 1957. Those titles sandwiched Hickory championships for Ned Jarrett in 1955 and Johnny Miller in 1958.
The Hickory dirt track was reconfigured to a shorter distance (0.4 miles) in 1955 before it was paved during the 1967 season. The track’s current configuration, an even shorter asphalt oval, arrived in 1970.
Hickory hosted 35 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1953-71. Johnson has the most Cup wins at the track with seven in 20 starts, ahead of second-place Richard Petty’s five victories in 22 starts. Petty has the most top-10 Cup finishes at Hickory with 18 in those 22 starts.
Hickory also hosted 42 races for what’s now the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 1982-98. That includes six of 28 events in 1982, the first year for the series.
Tommy Houston and Jack Ingram are tied for the most Xfinity Series wins at Hickory with eight apiece.
Below are the complete lists of winners at Hickory Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, followed by Hickory’s list of track champions.
NASCAR Cup Series races at Hickory Motor Speedway
NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Hickory Motor Speedway
Racing Reference: More race results from Hickory
Hickory Motor Speedway track champions
|1984||Max Prestwood Jr.|
|1985||Max Prestwood Jr.|
|1990||Max Prestwood Jr.|
|1995||Max Prestwood Jr.|
|2016||Dexter Canipe, Jr.|