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VIR’s iconic oak tree bites the dust

South Boston News / July 02, 2013
There is no easy way to say this – The Oak Tree is down. The iconic landmark that has come to symbolize Virginia International Raceway has fallen, broken at the base.

“We are in shock and mourning,” said track owner Connie Nyholm. “We’re too busy right now trying to get the racetrack cleared of debris. We are grateful no one was at the corner station or on track when she fell and that there is no damage to the track surface. Tomorrow we’ll begin to get our arms around what this really means, but I can tell you that it means more than any of us want to think about today.”

The massive oak stood sentinel at the south end of the racetrack, looking out from the highest point on the property at the sprawling facility and its 3.27 miles of serpentine asphalt that has come to be regarded as the most challenging in North America, if not the world.

Its branches shaded the apex of the legendary Oak Tree Turn, looking down on the likes of Roger Penske, Walt Hansgen, Tom Kristensen and Richard Petty as well as a host of race drivers from the brilliant to the not so.

“I can tell you this,” Nyholm said, “The Oak Tree will live on in our minds and hearts, and we will give it an appropriate send-off. Please email your thoughts and suggestions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for proper ways to honor this old friend.”

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C'mon!! Spend some $$ and replant a nice big tree three!!


The tree will surely be missed that was my favor part of the track when i was there building the bridge and installing the curbing around the track.Hope maybe take the tree and make park benches or something of that type so the tree will be around for many years to come for everyone to enjoy! I really miss working there because you really do have a World Class operation and very proud to help you make it that way!

Thank you
Dennis G. Clark


Sad news. It was as much a part of the track as the asphalt itself.


Send it to the mill. Repurpose the tree as part of the track else where, benches, trophies, plaques. Everyone will want a piece of the track.


Sad! Loved the tree and I love telling stories that included that particular turn. Everyone always knew exactly which turn. Kind of like we used to refer to 'the dip' at Road Atlanta. Lucas P. may be correct, I like things made of wood and especially oak, so a memento of some sort would be wonderful. Sad though that future racers and race fans will never know the tree was there.


I know how it will effect corner workers. Now serving sun baked corner workers...

My question is for the track gurus and the drivers is how it effects the track and track conditions. It' seems there should be some noticeable changes in how you perceive the turn coming into it without the tree.Knowing how the mind uses visual cues to time actions and reactions I would like to hear from drivers.


Google earth Let's you do the street view on the track. You can press [ctrl-ptrsc] and capture a picture of the tree. Then you can paste it into Photoshop, Gimp, MS Paint, etc.
Just put the little guy down on the service rd and turn toward the tree. If you look, while in street view, from the service rd you can get it without the yellow line in it. Of course you can get the overhead shot. The date is 03/28/12 so I guess the tree is not in "full Bloom" yet. Don't forget turn off all the info displays to clear it up as much as possible.

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