Wilkes County community happy to hear that racing will return to North Wilkesboro Speedway
For the first time in more than a decade, racing will return to historic North Wilkesboro Speedway with Racetrack Revival in August and October of 2022
NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s been more than a decade since there was any racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway, and more than 25 years since NASCAR raced at the 75-year-old track…but this summer, racing will return to the iconic facility. Track owner Speedway Motorsports has announced plans for a grassroots racing series in August.
“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.”
Races are set at the famed .625-mile short track in August and October of 2022. Produced by XR Events, Racetrack Revival will be a multi-week grassroots racing event featuring multiple series on the current North Wilkesboro asphalt in August. Then, following removal of the pavement, Racetrack Revival will return for several weeks in October on dirt before a repave takes place in 2023.
Racetrack Revival is expected to include Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Late Model Stocks and Hornets in August on pavement. Series expected to compete on dirt in October include Super Late Models, 410 Sprint Cars, Big Block Modifieds, Street Stocks, Open Wheel Modifieds, 602 Crate Late Models, 604 Crate Late Models, Stock Cars and Hornets. Competitors can register at www.northwilkesborospeedway.com. Complete schedules and final participating series as determined will be listed on the website.
“We were so thrilled to hear that they were going to bring racing back this year, we thought it was going to be a couple of years down the road before the racetrack was in good enough condition to host racing, but to hear that they can bring it up to snuff enough this year to host racing there was very exciting for us because we know that it can generate commerce for our community,” said North Wilkesboro Town Manager Wilson Hooper. “The surprising thing about this weekend was that they plan on bringing racing back this year, but we were expecting racing to come back for quite a while.”
For more than ten years the track was closed to competition. It hurt the local economy and generated efforts to bring racing back.
“I think it is very important. When I was a young girl I went with my dad to that racetrack and I went as a teenager, as I got older, I went with friends to the racetrack,” said Angela Day. She runs Ivy Ridge Traditions, a gift shop in downtown North Wilkesboro. She’s excited that a grassroots racing series will be on this track in August, and thinks it will be a big boost for local businesses. “We’re proud to have the racetrack coming back. I am thrilled.”
While efforts like the We Want You Back campaign kept the track in the news, it also took the pandemic and a budget item from the governor that was initially for $10 million in American Rescue Plan money for infrastructure improvements.
“We had been working on it for quite a while,” Hooper added. “Early last year we got a call from the Office of State Budget and Management, saying ‘We’ve got all of this stimulus money that we want to use, the governor would like to apply some of it to revitalizing racetracks across the state. How much money would you need?’ We worked hard to put together a proposal in one week on how much money we thought it would take in one week to extend utilities out here, do other infrastructure improvements, and that was actually the basis of the governor’s $10 million proposal for the racetrack. Well, the General Assembly got a hold of it and through some politicking from our local representative, and some folks from the racing industry, they boosted it up to 18, and of course the governor signed the budget and the amount is at 18 ($18,000,000).”
That means a lot of work to get the track in shape so that the green flag this community has been waiting for for decades, can once again fly at North Wilkesboro.
“And the reality is, as much as we wondered was it going to happen, it’s going to happen! And so, we couldn’t get any better than that,” Day added.
Fans who purchased souvenirs at www.northwilkesborospeedway.com and signed up for the “Join The Movement” email list will receive an email offer for the first opportunity to buy tickets to Racetrack Revival at 9;00 a.m. ET on Monday, April 18.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19, at www.northwilkesborospeedway.com.
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