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Report: A history of ‘paper raceways’

Daniel Suarez

Daniel Suarez


The 2015 movie Paper Towns, based on the John Green novel of the same name, revolves around the idea of fake towns on maps created by cartographers to protect their copyright.

In a similar realm, USA Today has a feature story on “paper raceways.”

“Paper raceways” are tracks across the country that either were announced or reached a certain step in the planning stages, even groundbreakings, before being scrapped.

Van Walling, a transportation consultant and racing fan, has identified around 300 such tracks in his decades of research, according to USA Today.

Why have so many tracks never gotten off the ground floor?

It comes down to a lack of money says Walling, who hails from Germantown, Wisconsin. But it also has to do with NASCAR and a limited amount of race dates to go around

“In the modern era, it’s been about Daytona,” Walling said. “Daytona determines what happens. It’s as simple as that. They’ve been the power that has determined if a facility gets built — easily since at least the 1980s.”

Part of Walling’s research also uncovered multiple cases of tracks that could have been owned and named after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“There was a whole bunch of ‘Trump’ superspeedways proposed in the 1990,” Walling said. “Everybody was alternately looking at sites in New York or New Jersey or Connecticut.”

If a report by USA Today in 1996 had panned out, NASCAR could be visiting “Trump Motor Speedway” in Bridgeport, Connecticut today.

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