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The crossroads of history: local distillery crafts historic moonshine for North Wilkesboro Speedway

Call Family Distillers is the official moonshine of the North Wilkesboro Speedway and gets to serve their alcohol to race fans during the NASCAR All-Star Race.

WILKESBORO, N.C. — When you think of NASCAR, you think of North Carolina.

We're NASCAR's unofficial home base and its roots are definitely buried deep in the state. One place you can see that is in our moonshine history.

Those fans and fast cars would not be here today without moonshiners.

When the government took control of alcohol, the illegal spirits industry took off and the term moonshine was created.

Farmers would turn low-value crops into high-value whiskey under the light of the moon to avoid getting caught.

In this small town of Wilkesboro, capitalizing was what families did. 

"Wilkes was called the moonshine capital of the world," said Brian Call. 

Brian Call owns Call Family Distillers

He said two of the most notable people to run around making illegal spirits were lifelong friends Junior Johnson and Willie Clay Call.

Brian Call is Willie Clay Call's son. He said both Johnson and Clay Call grew up running the illegal spirits together.

Those cars that were used to outrun the revenuers are what started racing as a sport.

"Moonshiners, they always wanted to know who had the fastest moonshine car and these guys would get out on a Saturday night and race and a lot of people showed up," said Call. 

This is when the North Wilkesboro Speedway ignited.

"That first race in 1947 I think 10,000 people showed up," he said. 

Junior Johnson began a successful racing career as the racing industry took off. 

"I always asked dad why didn't you get into racing he said there wasn't much money in it, he stayed making the whiskey and Junior was racing and that's kind of how Junior supported his racing was them guys kept the moonshine flowing where he'd have money to go race, so they'd work together," said Call.

Willie Clay Call continued his deep ties to the illegal alcohol business, making a name for himself as one of the most renowned moonshiners.

"One of the revenuers said 'You've heard of the untouchables, Willie Clay was the uncatchable,' and that's kinda how we got the name for the moonshine brand here at the distillery," said Call.

While the Call family's bottled-up history makes for an impressive pour, the legacy continues to be preserved.

Call Family Distillers is the official moonshine of the North Wilkesboro Speedway and gets to serve their alcohol to race fans.

At the distillery, the family still uses the same techniques they used back then, today.

Call said the historic past is aging into a legendary future.

"We're going to do our best that's for sure," said Call. "I think they're smiling down, my dad and grandpa, because you know them guys, my grandpa went to prison and stuff and it would kind of be mind-boggling to them guys to see what's happening today, getting the Call name and history out there."

While you will see their logos everywhere, if you look closely at the winners during the race, you'll see a big copper trophy. 

The Call Family made the trophies and it replicates the distiller they use now and also back in the day. 

They hope it will become one of the highly coveted NASCAR trophies talked about for years to come. 

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