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Virginia International Raceway welcomes “Son of Oak Tree.”

For more than 50 years, race fans visiting Virginia International Raceway couldn’t miss its towering 70-foot-tall oak tree standing sentinel at the track’s south end. But in July 2013, the grand old tree collapsed (possibly due to rainfall).

“The oak tree pretty much identified the track,” says owner Connie Nyholm. “It’s our longtime logo. And it was a pretty sizable fixture when the track was built back in ’55. We’re guessing the tree was around 200 years old.”

Now, the wood from the tree known simply as “Oak Tree” has been milled and is drying; it will be available for use in one to two years. A memorial marker will be constructed from it and placed on the spot where the iconic tree once stood.

But the story doesn’t end there. This November, racetrack officials welcome “Son of Oak Tree,” a sapling that grew from an acorn that fell from the original oak and was saved and planted by a former track employee. The 30-inch-high tree will be planted  just outside the track to provide more stable ground (good news) and accommodate modern safety regulations. VIRNow.com

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