Old NASCAR race cars are a fairly rare commodity, especially those that are in good shape. The nature of the racing and the conditions that these cars face on a day to day basis lends to complete destruction, versus preservation. This leads to cars being completely scrapped, or as many parts reused as possible, or only the empty shells left behind.
In any case, NASCAR racecars do get abandoned, and the state of the race cars that have been abandoned varies from an almost functional car all the way to a burnt out frame and not much more, with everything in between. It also helps out a lot that NASCAR has been around for quite a long time, an integral part of US history since before the Prohibition. NASCAR actually became sport from bootleg moonshine runners who modified their cars to be extra fast, so they could get away from the cops if they got caught.
After the Prohibition ended, they decided to use their cars for racing, and from their evolved and developed the racing sport that we know and recognize today. The cars that have been cast aside along that journey fascinate some, whether they're collectors of rare models, vintage racers, or if they're just interested in seeing the ruins and empty echoes of times that once were but are no longer in existence. Let's take a look at some pictures of these racecars. Here are 20 photos of NASCAR racecars that were completely neglected.
20 A Pile Of Rubble
This old NASCAR racecar has not done well in the passing of time, not at all, not even a little bit. Time has not been kind to this car, and a lot of it may have had to do with the original state of the car when it was first left to rot here in this wooded glade.
The blue paint is still intact, but the body and especially the front end are not so much intact, not so much intact at all, actually. The body is bend and dilapidated, the front end virtually missing. The wheels are gone, too.
19 Beat Out The Competition
Number twenty-four here did not do any such thing, or if it did it most assuredly does not do anything like it anymore. There's no way that this NASCAR racecar is beating out the competition anywhere, in any races.
Not unless the competition is who can look the most abandoned, in which case this one, cast into a forest by a log and left for the foliage to gather and grow around it, is doing a pretty good job at competing. But that's a much different competition than driving around a circuit at over two hundred miles per hour
18 Carefully, Or Not So Much Dumped Here
Taking the empty shells of NASCAR racecars is one of Dale Earnhardt Junior's many favorite past times that he does in his personal time while he's not racing NASCAR race cars in NASCAR racing competitions. Here in this photo, we see him and his crew doing just that.
They're taking this relatively new shell of a NASCAR racer and dumping it in the forest behind his house, on his forested property in an undisclosed location. It is his graveyard, his passion, and there are hundreds of them lying around the place.
17 Decommissioned By NAPA
NAPA auto parts at one time sponsored this particular NASCAR racecar and the person who was in charge of driving it. Indeed, NAPA paid this driver quite a bit of money to race in the competitions, just as long as they could advertise on this car.
And advertise they did, until the car was decommissioned, whatever that reason might have been. Perhaps it was a crash, perhaps it was a loss of sponsorship, perhaps it was time for an update. In any case, its story led it here, and here it will lay in a graveyard for all time.
16 Exited From The Race
The reason this old NASCAR racecar was exited from the race is likely because it suffered from a crash and by the looks of it one that seems to have done some serious damage. The body paneling is quite mangled, the front end dilapidated with more than just age.
The left front fender looks like where the main impact happened, as it is not even in the right place. After the accident, it looks like it was towed here, dropped off, and the bent broken off panel was thrown on top of the car. And here it lies.
15 Fifty One's Frame
It's a bit of a mystery to me as to why someone would want to collect the empty frames of old decommissioned NASCAR race cars at all. They are just pointless empty shells made of a plastic body and some structural support. To me, that's just boring.
And more, it's an incomplete collection because of it. The whole machine is what's most interesting, and collectible. I mean, it is the engine and wheels that really make a NASCAR racecar special, not the strange plastic shell with fake headlights and propaganda.
14 Goo Goo Cluster Speeder
There's no end to the amount of sponsorship available to NASCAR racers. The same goes for many different sports, too, but in NASCAR perhaps it's the most broadcast and apparent, as in reality all that the cars are that go in circles very fast are big rolling advertisements. When the car is coated head to toe, it's hard to say it's anything else but one big drivable ad.
And what's the fun in that? In any case, the retro advertising is fascinating to look at, like this old NASCAR race car that's advertising a type of candy that isn't even available anymore, as it is gone out of business.
13 Here Comes The Pillsbury Dough Boy
The Pillsbury Dough Boy is perhaps the last thing that anyone would think about when they think about what's fast, nimble, and capable of winning a race that involves only speed. But, that's just what this racecar had as its sponsor back in the day.
Apparently, it didn't do too well, mostly because of the fact that it got sent to the junkyard, decommissioned and left to be completely forgotten for all time. Well, not completely, as it's here in this article, being admired by NASCAR lovers and abandoned car lovers.
12 Better Days
Covered in straw, foliage, dirt, and rust, it's clear that this sad, sorry shell of what was once a NASCAR race car has definitely seen better days. Once it competed with the best, hurtling around the circuit, lap after lap, passing other racers slowly but surely, gaining on the lead.
It's pretty fascinating to see just how much the technology involving NASCAR race cars has evolved over the years and advanced to the point that we see it at today, with high tech engines, components, lightweight shells and roll cages. They're simultaneously stronger, faster, safer and lighter than these older ones.
11 Just Barely Reclaimed
This old rusted out NASCAR racecar has been entirely repurposed, used as some kind of semblance of a rat rod something or other. This old shell was left abandoned for many many years, forgotten to gather rust day in and day out.
But someone decided to reclaim it, and restore it. Though the latter they've not done very much of, merely putting some mismatched wheels on it and making sure the engine runs, and not much more. There are no windows and not even a hood, no attempts to mend the rust. This one is more abandoned than not, really.
10 Keep It In The Junkyard
There's always the question about whether or not to restore an old, collectible, and valuable car. That question is a difficult one to answer, one that depends immensely on a vast amount of variables and questions, and that differ depending on each and every specific car.
The idea of restoring a vintage NASCAR racer is an enticing one, as they are somewhat rare and quite collectible. But, in the case of this one, which looks like it met its end via an unfortunate fire, it'd be best to just leave it in the junkyard.
9 Look At Fifty Three
This old NASCAR race car has been all but forgotten completely, here at rest in this sad dirty forest for endless years, left to gather pine needles and dirt, covered over with foliage. Even the trees have started to take back over, with little saplings growing all around the sides of this car.
Once it raced quite competitively, maybe even won a staggering amount of races. Perhaps the driver was one of the best or the crew who designed it made it one of the fastest and most efficient. But, we may never know, and now all it is is a sad rusted out ghost of the past.
8 Mostly Rusted Out
For how old this NASCAR race car is, it's in pretty spectacular shape. With wheels, a fully intact body and frame, and not much rust, not really anyway, it's in good enough shape to perhaps even be worth a restore of some kind or another. It sits here on an old NASCAR track.
Indeed, this little dirt oval with some stadium seats around the perimeter is one of the very first NASCAR racetracks, according to tompoland.com, and so this is really one of the more important historical places in the history of American motorsport. Pretty cool, if you ask us.
7 Never Surrender, Except You Did
This fiery old race car sits abandoned in a field somewhere, where the beating sun and exposure to the elements have worn it out considerably. But it wasn't subjected to any bad crashes, and the paint seems to have protected a lot of the car from rust, so it's not in the worst shape it could be.
The only thing is that the bumper says "Never surrender," and to be frank it has most definitely done just that, surrendered to neglect, time, and to its fate. A shame, really, because this is one classy old hot rod NASCAR racer.
6 Open The Door To See This
Sometimes garage finds change people's lives completely. One day their lives are normal, the next they open the door to see this, a valuable old NASCAR race car in a barn somewhere, shuttered away and hidden from sight and the elements for years.
With a #99 still painted on the side, along with an effortlessly, timelessly cool Pink Panther lounging on the back top fender, this is one cool car and one cool find. Whether or not a restore is worth it is a different subject entirely, yet in any case, it is one cool find.
5 Pour Me Some Folgers
The only thing on this car beyond the golden retro number twenty-five on the door panel is advertisements. There's a giant Folgers ad on the back panel, as well as many other smaller ones on the front fender.
The rise of advertisements in US motorsports simultaneously allowed more money to flow through, which in turn let racers develop faster cars, build bigger tracks, and maximize the sport as a whole, it also led to a huge commercialization of the whole thing, which in a way separated it from the people a bit further than before.
4 Questionable Serviceability
This stars and stripes all-US NASCAR racer still holds its own by today's standards, even though it's quite dated and been sitting in this field rotting away for a significant number of years. The shape and decals are still quite modern, though the lights give it away.
The best part about this NASCAR race car is that it is still entirely intact, at least by the looks of it. Still has its wheels, perhaps its engine, and it hasn't been in any crashes. Which means that if it's taken care of starting now, it'll be worth quite a lot in the future, a well-preserved piece of history.
3 Rusty Beyond Belief
The sides and panels of this old vintage NASCAR racer are pretty rusty, with it taking over the thick paint of the entire car in at least a number of areas. It doesn't look like it's set in deep though, except on the undersides of the door panels, which could prove to be problematic in the case of a restore.
But, considering it sits on one of the oldest NASCAR race tracks in existence, it is doing quite well for itself, really. The wheels are still intact, the body is still there, and by and large its in one piece. That's pretty cool.
2 Snag Some Ice, Beverages, And A Race Car
This little gas station stands along the road in a small town in America sells beverages, ice, and other valuable road-going, road-trip type commodities from its small blue bricked building. But it has a pretty special addition beyond the ice and beverages.
It has an old rusty NASCAR race car parked out front. Well, a bit less than parked, dropped off and permanently left in front on the curb. It's not much more than a frame, but it sure is a pretty cool attraction. I'd stop here just to look at it a bit closer.
1 Too Much To Even Restore
It's barely discernible for the rust and completely faded out paint, but a slight shadow of a gesture of a number is still visible along with the side panel of this incredibly old NASCAR racecar. It has been left here, likely without being moved at all, for many many decades.
Exposed to the elements, the sun and the rain, it's clearly worse for wear because of it. The paint has been bleached out, the rain has rotted out the metal. Not much is left of the engine, either, likely scavenged for parts. Talk about a NASCAR worthy of the junkyard. Too much to even restore.
Sources: Tom Poland, Hot Rod Network & Sporting News