As NASCAR’s longest-running weekly race track, Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium (a.k.a. the “Madhouse”) is one of stock car racing’s most legendary venues.
Eleven years after opening as a football stadium in 1938, Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins (two of NASCAR’s founding fathers) introduced stock car racing at Bowman Gray Stadium. From here, auto racing flourished in Winston-Salem and the quarter-mile short track became host to a number of NASCAR divisions, including the Grand National Series from 1958-1971.
From Lee Petty and Rex White to David Pearson and Bobby Allison, the who’s who of NASCAR have raced and captured victories at Bowman Gray Stadium. Richard Petty won his 100th race there, it’s rumored that Richard Childress fell in love with the sport while watching from the stands, and (perhaps most significantly) the track was the site of my grandparents’ first date.
By no coincidence, I’ve frequented Bowman Gray Stadium since I was a kid and, in many ways, the track has become synonymous with memories of my grandpa. Because of this familial connection and as a life-long fan of NASCAR, I’m always excited when the folks at Bowman Gray Stadium reach out to JKS Incorporated for help with a project.
Wrapping this year’s pace car was no different.
The Official Pace Car of Bowman Gray Stadium
The design of this year’s pace car was actually completed and first used back in 2018. After receiving logos and some direction from the team at Bowman Gray Stadium, I designed the wrap and fitted it for a Chevrolet Camaro.
This year, we made a few sizing adjustments so that the wrap would comfortably fit a Chevrolet Blazer. Our production team did an excellent job on the install and we were all excited to see how well the SUV’s color complimented the wrap.
JKS and Bowman Gray Have A History of Their Own
Wrapping pace cars isn’t the only thing we’ve helped Bowman Gray Stadium with. In fact, they were one of our very first clients.
JKS Incorporated began working with Bowman Gray Stadium in 1985 after Dale Pinilis, the track’s operator at the time, saw the work we’d done for the Carolina Thunderbirds hockey team at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Dale ended up hiring us to produce and install track signage and print and apply spot graphics to a 1985 Ford Fiesta the track gave away to one random (and lucky) fan.
“It’s been a continuous relationship ever since,” said Will Spencer, JKS Incorporated’s founder.
Similar to my own personal history with the track, Bowman Gray Stadium holds a certain significance for Will and our mobile events and motorsports coordinator, Ed Berrier.
“Ed’s dad, Max Berrier—or ‘The Bull’ as I call him—was a three-time modified champion at Bowman Gray Stadium in the late 60s and early 70s and won a Grand National East Series race under Junie Donlavey at the track in 1972,” Will said. “I even participated in three or four demolition derbies at Bowman Gray in the early 80s.”
And while Will’s days of deliberately wrecking into others may be long gone (that I know of anyway), we look forward to sitting in the stands as spectators and producing signage and wrapping pace cars for the old quarter-mile short track that sits just a couple of miles down the road