The tall oak tree that has shaded the apex of the turn named after it has fallen, according to reports from the track.
The tree, suitably stood at the corner, Oak Tree Corner, has been at the track since its creation and has been dubbed a massive loss for the track which marketed the tree in many facets of its identity.
“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.”
“I can tell you this, the Oak Tree will live on in our minds and hearts, and we will give it an appropriate send-off," Nyholm said.
The tree has seen the likes of Roger Penske, Tom Kristensen and Richard Petty race under its branches.
Track officials are asking fans to come up with ideas for a memorial, or something to celebrate the large loss. On Facebook, comments are pouring in asking the track to keep the wood, and incorporate it into trophies, or use its as tables or benches somewhere around the track.
Ideas can be submitted to: oaktree@VIRnow.com