More iconic than the positioning oak tree at the top of the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the spectacular bit of forestry that shaded the apex of the legendary Oak Tree Turn at Virginia International Raceway. Sadly, the latter is no more, as it has apparently fallen and broken due to natural causes. A new picture of the corner (above), appearing barren without the tree, was posted on the VIR Facebook page yesterday.

VIR Oak Tree with racecars"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."

The famed Oak Tree (seen during its better days on the right) had stood in its place long before the track opened in 1957 - the circuit was built around it - and the track adopted the tree into its logo. "I can tell you this," Nyholm said, "The Oak Tree will live on in our minds and hearts, and we will give it an appropriate send-off." Fans of the track, and of the tree, are asked to send thoughts and suggestions on how to honor the "old friend" to oaktree at VIRnow dot com. Shout out some of your ideas in Comments below.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      They could spade a pretty large oak tree in there to replace it without much trouble. Wouldn't be as big, but eventually would get huge like the previous one. Seems like the best and most obvious solution.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oak tree --> oak barrels --> filled with whiskey --> sell at races/track gift shop.
      • 2 Years Ago
      In 1972 I competed in a Pro AMA motorcycle race at VIR. About half way through the 50 or 60 mile 250cc race, my Aermacchi/HD suffered some mechanical problems. I managed to coast to the oak tree, leaned the bike against it and sat down in the shade to watch the rest of the race. Great memories.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Erect a podium with it's wood. Make trophies out of it. Etc. Oh, and plant a replacement.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Planting a new one is the best thing that can be done.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Clone it and hand out the new Oaks as souvenirs at one of their major events, or four million toothpicks. Beats bobbleheads.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe a branch could be rooted and planted--a "daughter" tree. I also like the idea of making commemorative items with the wood.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Add mine to the chorus: Plant a new Oak tree!
      • 2 Years Ago
      they should slice it into veneers and commemorative slabs. Oak has a beautiful grain and a tree that size and age will have wonderful wood. It could be a fundraiser for them too. They should certainly create a new trophy using it in some way.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      I did this with a 150 yr old walnut tree that was part of a homestead historical site here in Washington. I used cross sections of the trunk to make a table and turned legs out of branches. A cross section of the oak tree could be used to create a memorial right at the spot the tree was. It can be sealed with marine grade epoxy to weather proof it. There is something magical about things that live so long. If it branches could only talk.
      • 2 Years Ago
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