Just a few miles from the Jersey Shore there lies a 63 year old 1/3 mile circle track in the township of Wall, New Jersey. Just as close to Philadelphia as it is to New York, Wall Stadium Speedway was built by racing fans Tom and Jennie Nicol in 1950. Unheard of at the time, the track boasted steep 30º banking. The track attracted many regional and national stock car racing series, including NASCAR. The Nicols’ son Tucker sold the track in 2001 and business went into decline until 2008 when it was shut down completely. Former track operations manager Jim Morton leased the track to hold the annual Turkey Derby later that year. Morton’s lease eventually ran out and the track went through a period of uncertainty until Cliff Krause stepped in and held a full season of racing in 2011, which allowed him to secure a more long term lease.
Like much development in this part of New Jersey, Wall Stadium was carved out of the forest. Spooky trails surround the track and allow media access along the back straight and turns 1 and 2.
The forest butts right up to the track.
The track is enclosed by steel guard rails instead of concrete walls. The running joke is that there are no straight pieces of rail left; every inch of the rail has been crashed into at one time or another.
Over by Turn 1, I found a few snake skins. I also heard something rustling in the bushes but it never came out.
Next to the track is a gravel pit. This looks more like Wyoming than New Jersey.
There were even deer prints on the path.
In preparation for Formula D, the track repainted its bleachers.
Meanwhile, the FD staff painted the boundaries for the new course.
All of the big calls this weekend will be made in the judging stand. That’s the one on the left.
Also in the judging stand is the DJ booth, where all the fresh jams are played.
The judges have a clear view of the whole track and get TV’s for reviewing qualifying runs and tandem battles.
The spotter stand is right next to the judging stand. The spotters need to have a view of the track as similar as possible to the judges so they can see the runs the same way the judges do. That way they can give their drivers helpful feedback on how to improve during practice and on exactly why calls were made the way there were.
Inside the track’s control tower is the Livestream equipment. It takes a ton of stuff to make the production run smoothly.
The equipment takes the inputs from all the cameras, allows monitoring and switching which one is live, enables graphic overlays and replays, and mixes in the sound from the different microphones. That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of. The production crew also has a pretty killer view of the track.
Someone has to hang up all the banners, even if it’s Vice President Ryan Sage himself!
Other guys were hanging up the big signs.
While a track employee whacked the weeds by the starting grid.
This is one of the proximity sensors. It’s all self contained and is run off a small automotive battery.
Many teams and drivers will check out the course ahead of time to refamiliarize themselves with it before practice.
But soon enough judge Andy Yen hosted a track walk and pointed out all the clipping points, outer clipping zones, and course boundaries, and answered any questions the drivers and teams had. And with that it was time to do final preparations on the cars and get ready for practice!
instagram: @andrew_bohan, @lifeblasters