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Speedway Motorsports announced on Saturday that North Wilkesboro will host two months of racing this year featuring multiple lower racing series, first in August on pavement and then again in October on a dirt surface.
The track’s surface repaving – part of Speedway Motorsports’ planned multi-million-dollar renovation project – won’t take place until sometime in 2023.
“As we begin the process of bringing North Wilkesboro Speedway back to life, this is a great opportunity for the historic short track to host grassroots racing and allow our team to learn more about what needs be done before a grand re-opening in the future,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith.
“Our vision is to revive this venue into a multi-use entertainment facility, but racing will always be the core product. We know fans and competitors will enjoy ‘kicking the tires’ alongside us with some live competition this year as we begin renovations.”
A historic place
The track hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1949. Jeff Gordon, now an executive at Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR Hall of Fame member, won the final NASCAR race at the track in 1996.
Local volunteer groups spent months cleaning up the area around the 75-year-old race track. The N.C. state budget passed last November included $18 million toward infrastructure improvements at the facility.
The month of asphalt racing at North Wilkesboro will include Hornets, Super Late Models, street stocks, Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, modifieds and Late Model stocks.
The month of dirt racing will include Hornets, Super Late Models, street stocks, 602 and 604 Late Models, modifieds, 410 sprint cars, big block modifieds and stock cars.
NASCAR’s future at the speedway?
Asked about the possibility of a NASCAR national series race returning to North Wilkesboro, Smith said the Truck Series was the most option but it would be the 2024 season “at the earliest” before that was possible.
Smith said he didn’t believe even the renovated facility would have the infrastructure and size to host Cup or Xfinity series races.
For now, North Wilkesboro is going to focus on once again preparing to host racing events.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for competitors and short track race fans to experience North Wilkesboro Speedway one more time on the old asphalt and then on dirt as it first began,” said XR Events CEO Barry Braun.
“We have a lot of work to do with sanctioning bodies and competitors to get ready for August, but we’re committed to producing an event that both fans and racers will remember for a lifetime.”