The NASCAR track details plans to return
North Wilkesboro Speedway hasn’t seen a NASCAR race since 1996. At the time, the entire race purse was $800k, for the field.
View North Wilkesboro Speedway renderings below.
A lot has changed in the sport since 1996. But, the legend of the 0.625-mile oval has only grown stronger.
In November, the governor of North Carolina signed a $25.9B budget into law for the state. Of that, $40 million is allocated to three race tracks. $18M of that is set for Wilkes County construction upgrades, to help bring North Wilkesboro Speedway back from the grave.
Shortly after the state funding budget was signed, Speedway Motorsports Inc announced plans to revitalize the track. Construction equipment rolled through the gates and the old buildings are now being torn down.
As of this week, we’re seeing the first images of what the new North Wilkesboro Speedway will look like.
Marcus Smith comments on the future of the track
“The future of North Wilkesboro Speedway is bright,” Smith said during the announcement.
“There is a great opportunity to revive this fantastic venue to be, not just a race track, but a place that can host lots of events, a place that people will come to from far away and enjoy the community, enjoy the region and enjoy special events.”
“Water, sewer, electricity, roads, connectivity – those are a lot of the building blocks that we need to get done,” Smith said. “We want to keep the character of the property, celebrate the history, but, of course, make it safe, convenient and enjoyable for everyone who comes to visit.”
“In the car world, I would call it a resto-mod. It’s going to look old, but it’s going to work new. When you think about nostalgic opportunities, this is one of those one-in-a-million opportunities.”
“Our hope is to celebrate the history and look forward to the future. North Wilkesboro Speedway is an amazing, historic place for NASCAR. It’s almost like Fenway Park is to baseball.”
“I think, with this money from the state and the American Rescue Plan, we can make some dreams a reality at North Wilkesboro Speedway.”
Bringing NASCAR back to North Wilkesboro Speedway
“We specifically – and I’ll thank Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World for his voice of support – we specifically think it’s a real possibility to bring back NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” Smith said.
“Those races are nationally televised events, and it’s a national NASCAR touring series. We have a number of those (races) in our portfolio, and I would love to see one of those here.”
“Bringing back races, bringing back special events, bringing back tourism, creating a very special place where the community can gather, it’s exciting,” he said.“When you think about nostalgic opportunities, this is one of those one-in-a-million opportunities.
“I think there’s a bright future ahead for North Wilkesboro Speedway. It wouldn’t happen without the amazing community support that’s in this room as well as the people who have been out at the speedway to help us bring the speedway back.”
Smith added, “Anybody might have said this place is too far gone, but this community rallied and brought it to a place where we can rebuild it and it can be a fantastic jewel.”
Terri Parsons is the widow of NASCAR legend Benny Parsons.
“This means everything to anybody that lives in Wilkes County,” said Terri Parsons.
Parsons added, “By the speedway coming back, this has just turned a lightbulb on in this whole community again. You can see by the attendance tonight, everybody in the town, everybody in the county supports it and wants to see something come alive out there.”
Jeffrey Elmore is a North Carolina state Representative who’s behind the project. His district includes Wilkes County
“I’m very excited to hear the ideas that are coming from Speedway Motorsports,” said Rep. Jeffrey Elmore.
Elmore added, “This track is a symbol of our community. He (Smith) used the word ‘hope.’ It’s very exciting to see the vision that he’s putting forth and how it’s tying to the past and looking to the future.”