NASCAR’s Cup Series is heading to a new destination for its All-Star Race: North Wilkesboro Speedway, one of the most storied venues in stock car history, as per an announcement this morning at the North Carolina Museum of History.
“The NASCAR All-Star Race has always been the fans’ race, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the fans during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary than returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, as reported by NASCAR and North Wilkesboro Speedway. “We couldn’t have made this happen without tremendous support from so many people including Gov. Cooper, our state legislature, NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and of course, the people of Wilkes County. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got the will to create something special alongside a community and hard-working staff that will get it done.”
Last November, North Carolina used $18 million of its federally allocated American Rescue Plan funds, which was designed to aid small businesses that has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, to help renovate North Wilkesboro Speedway. The goal has been to bring the facility back to a racing state and get fans to the track for live events — not just due to the draw of history.
North Wilkesboro hosted its first race in May of 1947, back when the 0.625-mile oval was a dirt course. It hosted 93 Cup Series events that saw legends of the sport victorious, but track owners hesitated to raise prices or overhaul track facilities, hoping to keep a little sliver of Old NASCAR around into the modern era. The track was closed in 1996, and the race’s spring date moved to Texas Motor Speedway while the fall date headed to New Hampshire.
The All-Star Race, which was traditionally held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, has since moved to Texas Motor Speedway in recent years. That the event is now heading back to North Wilkesboro seems a good fit, as the Texas track is also undergoing ample renovation.
The three-day All-Star weekend at North Wilkesboro will run from May 19 through 21, 2023 – almost exactly 76 years since the track’s first race on May 18, 1947. Tickets will go on sale later this fall, but you can reserve a priority purchase place by making a $25 donation to Speedway Children’s Charities; after all, the track still isn’t massive, and tickets will likely sell out fast.