Danville Institute Plans to Clone Iconic VIR Oak Tree

Halifax Co., VA - Many were so upset to lose the iconic oak tree at Virginia International Raceway, but there's renewed hope you could see it again. In fact, you could even have one for yourself.

The track at VIR feels a little empty these days.

"It was like losing a member of the family. Just one of the saddest days ever in the history of VIR," said Connie Nyholm, owner of VIR.
The iconic oak tree that once lined this turn, now only remains in the VIR logo.
"We got an early morning call from maintenance...that the tree had fallen," said Nyholm.
The special part of VIR's history will not just vanish, however. Owner Connie Nyholm turned her devastation of the loss of the tree into souvenirs for fans.
"We're processing the tree into very large slabs for tabletops, wall hangings, gear shift knobs," said Nyholm.
Now Nyholm wants to take the tree's memory a step further.
"We're having the oak tree cloned," said Nyholm.
The complicated process of cloning the oak tree will take a scientist at the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research six months to a year to complete.
"It is amazing to clone 200 years old tree so that is like clone of the part of the history," said Song Zhang, Scientist at IALR.
In the meantime, they plan to honor the icon at the track. Within just eyesight of where the oak tree stood, they plan to remove bleachers and put a new oak tree to memorialize the old one.
Nyholm says they will never be able to really replace the oak tree but they hope this will best commemorate their history.
"At least we are helping oak tree live on," said Nyholm.
They hope to have the completed clones ready in a year. No word on how much they will cost yet or how you will be able to purchase one.