Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Following a triumphant first year, the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail in North Carolina is expanding.

The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail, conceived in the 2021 state budget and launched in 2023 by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), is adding nine new sites that will highlight the state’s unique, intertwined history of distilling and stock car racing.

“The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail’s goals are to increase economic development across the state, to honor North Carolina’s leadership and innovation in these fields, and to help rural communities thrive,” said DNCR Secretary Reid Wilson. “Locations on the trail span the entire state and include diverse and authentic stories about racing, distilling, prohibition, rural life, agriculture, and recreation.”

The newly added sites enrich the trail’s narrative by delving deeper into the diverse aspects of North Carolina’s moonshine and motorsports legacy.

• Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem: Built in 1937 as a public works project, this 1/4-mile oval has been referred to as “NASCAR’s Longest-Running Weekly Race Track,” a testament to the sport’s enduring legacy.

• Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza, Kannapolis: This plaza in downtown Kannapolis commemorates the NASCAR legend’s life and career with a striking 9-foot, 900-pound bronze statue of Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champion.

• Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mill: Once a sanctuary for moonshiners, the Great Dismal Swamp near Elizabeth City, hid large-scale illicit distilling operations during Prohibition that were nestled in the natural beauty of the region.

• Johnston County Heritage Center and Johnston County Museum, Smithfield: Uncover the saga of Percy Flowers, dubbed the “King of the Moonshiners,” in a 1958 Saturday Evening Post profile and explore his influence in the region, intersecting with the area’s agricultural history.

• Mountain Gateway and Heritage Center, Old Fort: Housing a moonshine still, the museum spotlights Southern Appalachian heritage, culture and the history of western North Carolina.

• Museum of Ashe County History, Jefferson: Featuring the “Moonshine and Music,” exhibit, this museum showcases the fusion of Appalachian music culture with the region’s moonshine history.

• NC Transportation Museum, Spencer: Featuring the “Bumper To Bumper” exhibit, this museum displays vintage and antique cars alongside a Highway Patrol car from 1935 and other automotive treasures.

• North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro: Home to Purgatory Trail at Purgatory Mountain, a well-known hideout for bootleggers in Randolph County and about 20 miles from Level Cross, the base of the Petty Family racing dynasty.

• Orange County Speedway, Rougemont: Known as “the fastest 3/8-mile race track in America,” the high-banked oval has hosted some of the most famous names in stock car racing, including Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and many more.

These additional sites enhance the trail’s offerings and provide visitors with a diverse array of experiences that celebrate North Carolina’s unique history. The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail invites visitors to embark on a journey through time, exploring the stories, traditions, and legacies that have shaped the state’s cultural landscape.


For more information and updates on the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail, please visit ncmmtrail.com.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.