NASCAR is big business.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars and more is invested into the high-performance machines and support equipment that compete on race day. Only the best race cars and drivers go home with a victory. Sponsors who fund the cars and their teams hope their name is displayed on the winning car.
After the machines have seen better days, most of them are chopped up, scrapped for parts, or used for raw materials. Others go to collectors, become a display in a museum, or go to the Dale Earnhardt Jr NASCAR graveyard, left behind and forgotten.
Earnhardt says of his collection, “I got about 50 or 60 cars out there, and I didn’t buy any of them…We get a forklift, or a tractor with a forklift, or a front-end loader and just carry it into the woods and just set it out there somewhere.”
Here are twenty photos of abandoned racecars NASCAR completely turned their backs on.
20 NASCAR Converted Car for Land Speed Racing
Abandoned in Dale Earnhardt Jr’s racecar graveyard is Wayne Jesel’s land speed car, built from on an old NASCAR Xfinity Series car. From a standing start, these cars would race on an airport runway and reach over 200 mph in a speed trap. Nestled among the trees, Jesel's car now will find it difficult to reach even 200 inches per year.
19 Moving A Race Car with a Forklift
If a race car no longer has an interior, seats, engine, tires or any other mechanical parts, the only way to move it is to lift it off the ground with a forklift. In this case, the forklift is on a tractor, the ideal off-road vehicle for maneuvering between the trees, climbing over hilly terrain, and getting into tight spots.
18 1967 Holman-Moody No. 28 Ford Fairlane
In 1967, Ford Motor Company built the minimum 150 factory 427 R cars required to qualify the chassis and engine for grand national stock car racing. The 1967 Holman-Moody No. 28 Ford Fairlane was set up to be driven by Fred Lorenzen at Darlington later that year, but he suddenly decided to retire from racing just before the race.
17 One of Brad Keselowski's James-Finch Wrecks
Twenty-five-year-old Brad Keselowski finished the 2007 season racing this Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet car for James Finch. He was the tenth driver in history to win his first Sprint Cup race at Talladega. But his No. 88 Chevy is now abandoned in Dale Earnhardt Jr's backyard along with more than fifty other cars.
16 Forgotten Car and Track at North Wilkesboro
North Wilkesboro Speedway, the old NASCAR track in Wilkes County, North Carolina is now closed. But the B&D Quick Stop No. 3 is still open after decades of operation. The former gas station made of cinder block features Jimmy Spencer’s old wrecked No. 23 stock car out front in place of the gas pumps long since removed.
15 1963 Holman-Moody Ford Fairlane
On November 17, 1963, Glenn “Fireball” Roberts’ drove to his last victory on a three-mile road course in Augusta GA. driving a Holman Moody Ford. This famous No. 22 Holmen Moody-Prepared 1963 Ford Galaxy, though forgotten is still in running condition. Holman-Moody contributed numerous innovations to NASCAR racing including square tube frames, tube shocks, full-floater rear axle, and quick-change disk brakes.
14 A Bunch of Old NASCAR Race Cars at Auction
An auction in Lexington, North Carolina featured NASCAR car offerings like show cars, rolling chassis and shells, cars with motors, and cutaway cars used to demonstrate the inner mechanical parts on broadcasts. The event also included the car Jeff Burton drove when he won the pole position for the 2006 Daytona 500 and the car from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Mountain Dew duck-call commercial.
13 Dodge Charger Daytona Banned by NASCAR
Dodge created the Charger Daytona with a massive wing on its rear end and an extended nose piece that made it more aerodynamic than its competitors. The design made a difference in NASCAR races. The Daytona was the first car to achieve 200 mph in a NASCAR event. It won so many races that NASCAR banned it and its brother, the Plymouth Road Runner Super Bird.
12 Record-Setting 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Several clues in this abandoned #88 Dodge Charger Daytona confirmed it to be the car that set two speed records at Talladega Superspeedway. Bits of foam insulation from underneath, a special hole cut in the dash for instrument wires, a number stamped on the frame, and peeling paint that revealed a previous coat of “corporate blue.”
11 Fox and Greyhound Cars
Ray Fox built both the Fox and Greyhound cars. On the left, the Pontiac with a greyhound on the front fender was also driven by Ray Fox. On the right is the 1959 Chevrolet driven by Junior Johnson when he won the 1960 Daytona 500. Both cars promoted the Daytona Beach Kennel Club.
10 Michael McDowell's Texas Crash Car
The car Michael McDowell crashed during a qualifying lap around Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2008, now resides in Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Car Graveyard. It is a reminder of that day and a tribute to NASCAR safety regulations. McDowell’s car flipped an estimated twelve times before coming to a rest, at which point he climbed out and walked away under his own power.
9 Number 51 at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Graveyard
A car enthusiast and a student of racing history, Dale Earnhardt Jr. collects race cars. Some are given to him and others he just asks. "I called (Steve) Addington and asked Steve about the 51 car. I know (team owner) Harry Scott pretty well so I figured if they were going to throw it away, I could at least have it."
8 Wood Brothers Ford Daytona 500 Winner in 1963
Tiny Lund drove this Wood Brothers Ford to victory in the 1963 Daytona 500 in three hours and 17 minutes. The hood cables and blanked-out headlights show the car has not been converted to a street legal vehicle. Anyone wondering how much power the engine produces can simply read, “410 H.P.” written on the hood.
7 Nickels Engineering Built 1969 Charger Daytona NASCAR Racer
This rusty 1969 Charger Daytona has compelling evidence to certify the claim it is an original Nickels Engineering built NASCAR racer. During the 1969 and 1970 seasons, it was raced by one-time series Rookie of the Year James Hylton. The Charger was for sale on eBay without any buyers, most likely due to the significant effort and investment required to restore it properly.
6 Fred Lorenzen NASCAR Barn Find
Not all the old NASCAR race cars have been hauled out to junkyards or Dale Earnhardt Jr’s graveyard. Some have been abandoned in a garage (or barn) like this Holman-Moody No. 28, forgotten until a vintage race car enthusiast stumbled upon it. This Fred Lorenzen car is already loaded on a trailer, ready for limelight once again.
5 1956 Mercury Monterey Stock NASCAR
Russ Truelove drove this 1956 Mercury Monterey in the beach races. Russ still owns the car today, and it goes wherever he goes. The orange beast boasts 260 horsepower and still visible are the original roll cage inside, dash-mounted tachometer, blue hood cable that looks like a bungee cord, and the classic airplane hood ornament.
4 Richard Petty's NASCAR Sportsman Car
“Barn find” is a term used to describe the discovery of a rare and vintage car in need of restoration, even if the car is found in a junkyard, forest, or a backyard. This number 41 NASCAR Sportsman car really was found in a barn: a tobacco barn. It is believed to be Richie Petty's NASCAR Sportsman car handed down from Richard Petty.
3 Roy Mayne’s Original NASCAR ’65 Impala
The NASCAR race cars of the 1950s and 1960s were not custom-built like today’s cars. They were the same vehicles available to the public at any dealership. When the cars wore out, many of them were tossed aside or stripped for parts. Most of the original parts on this Impala were salvaged, and it has been restored to its period-correct form.
2 1964 NASCAR Galaxie Returns
In 1964, Holman-Moody built twenty-one Galaxies based on the R-code 427 chassis, with full vehicle identification numbers. This is the only 1964 Holman-Moody Galaxie known to exist that has the original 1964 sheet metal. John Craft restored this Galaxie, for the purpose of racing the car in the vintage stock-car group.
1 No. 4 Chevrolet Driven by Rex White in 1960
When he retired in 1964, Rex White had 73 career NASCAR victories. Perhaps his best year was 1960 when he won six races, and the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) Championship. He drove General Motors brand cars, usually painted gold and white with the number "4" displayed on the side.