Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports Inc says North Wilkesboro Speedway still has potential
North Wilkesboro Speedway is a 0.625-mile oval that was born in 1947. The North Carolina based short track has grown to legendary status since it’s death.
In 1949, the NASCAR Cup Series made their debut at the track. The series continued to run there until 1996 when Jeff Gordon won it’s final Cup race.
In 1997, both dates were replaced at other tracks. The new Texas Motor Speedway took over the former Spring date for North Wilkesboro. The fall race was given to another SMI track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Over the years, the forest had started to reclaim the race track. Last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Speedway Motorsports Inc CEO Marcus Smith brought some equipment to the track. They cleaned up the racing surface and removed the forest.
iRacing scanners were then sent out on the asphalt oval. The track has been digitally recreated with the data they collected.
The complex itself is in far worse shape than the racing surface. However, the track could have some life in it, beyond the digital world.
Marcus Smith talks North Wilkesboro Speedway
“I just wanted to let you know that we haven’t forgotten about North Wilkesboro,. We haven’t given up on it” Marcus Smith stated via the Dale Jr Download.
“This means that we’re thinking. We’re working on it. No promises, but we have not forgotten about it. That’s the big message.”
“I know a lot of people just think that I don’t care. And, that’s not true. I really do care. If we can think of a way to do something there, we’re going to.”
“I am thinking about it and work on ideas regularly to try and figure out how to do something there. I think there might be hope to do something there. You never know.”
Smith concluded, “I’m not saying a NASCAR race there. I’m just saying there’s something that could be done there.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr added, “I’ve always felt like, as long as that pace is sitting there, unless it gets cleaned flat off the map and disappears, there’s always going to be a possibility.”