VIR Oak Tree down

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.