Celebrating the Tracks That Host The Races!

By David G. Firestone

I collect all kinds of memorabilia, not just from auto racing, but from many kinds of sports. One thing that I collect that most people don’t really realize is an aspect of the sports memorabilia market is what is referred to as “stadium memorabilia.” Stadium memorabilia is memorabilia that comes from stadiums as opposed to players or drivers. It has gained new heights since the demolition of Yankee Stadium, Texas Stadium, and Steiner Sports selling memorabilia from the stadium.

This phenomena has spread to NASCAR. With the reconfiguration of Daytona, a slew of memorabilia from the track is now up for sale on eBay and NASCAR.com. Stadium memorabilia comes in several forms. These include seats, signs, scoreboard parts, and playing surfaces, amongst other things. I like to focus on playing surfaces. I have a number of different samples of artificial turf, some baseball infield dirt, and track pieces. This example came from Daytona after the repave in 2011.daytona2 The entire 2.5 mile surface was removed and the track repaved. The old track was cut into pieces and sold to fans. This is an example of one of those pieces. It is 3 inches by 2 inches, about a third of an inch thick, and has a small plaque on it commemorating that it came from the track.daytona1 daytona2 daytona3 daytona4No track is as well-known as Indianapolis. Affectionately known as “The Brickyard” because of the yard of original bricks that make up the start/finish line.indy-1 The line has had several different paint jobs over the years. This plaque has a piece of an original brick, and part of the start/finish line. The pieces of brick, and start/finish line are 1 ½ inch square, and the whole plaque is six inches by 1 foot.indy-1 indy-2 indy-3 indy-4This is a small piece of the racing surface from Talladega. Moving away from racing surface pieces, we move to this piece, which is a banner from the 2004 MBNA America 400 “A Salute To Heroes.” dover-backdrop-1The race took place on June 6, 2004, exactly 60 years after the D-Day invasion. Racing, especially NASCAR holds our military personnel and veterans in the high esteem they richly deserve, and the theme of this race was honoring our veterans. The race had an even more somber note. Ronald Reagan has passed away the previous day. This backdrop, which measures 8 feet tall by 26 feet long was used during the pre-race ceremonies, which included commemoration ceremonies, driver introductions, the invocation, and national anthem. I was able to video match it to the telecast. I normally add a white background to these photos, but I didn’t do that. I wanted to show the size of the banner, and so I had to lay it out on the front lawn, and photograph it from my office window.dover-backdrop-1 dover-backdrop-2 dover-backdrop-3 dover-backdrop-4 dover-backdrop-5 dovers-1 dovers-2This last item isn’t stadium used per se, but it falls in line with the banner above. AJ Foyt Enterprises fielded cars in IndyCar, NASCAR, CART, and USAC. While their IndyCar programs were successful, their NASCAR program wasn’t. From 2000 to 2002, Foyt’s #14 was sponsored by Conseco. For that sponsorship, this backdrop was created.conseco-1 It’s about a 1/3 the length of the Dover banner, but the same height. It has a series of NASCAR and Conseco logos.conseco-1 conseco-2 conseco-3 conseco-4That’s the Friday Feature this week, but next week, I’ve got an interesting little quirk in auto racing memorabilia…stay tuned.