Racing returns to North Wilkesboro and fans couldn’t be more excited

“It will make the town more prosperous, and we dearly need that,” one local resident said.
Local residents are excited for racing to return to North Wilkesboro.
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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WILKES COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - With the announcement of one of the biggest NASCAR races coming to North Wilkesboro next year, the excitement level quickly reached a fever pitch.

It was all anyone could talk about, and many businesses in the area were already busy planning on how to gear up for the big day.

Even residents we talked to who weren’t into racing could get behind this. They boast when this sleeping giant finally awakens, it’ll do amazing things for the local economy.

“It will make the town more prosperous, and we dearly need that,” Colgla Zier said.

But it’s not just the fans and the dollar bills they bring with them to spend, there’s a sense of pride and ownership when it comes to the speedway.

“Count the signs in people’s yards, they want it back,” Reece Cox said.

When the news broke about what’s to come, it wasn’t just the local fans who were high-fiving with anticipation.

“The excitement isn’t just here, it’s not just in the state of North Carolina, it’s all around,” Wesley Cover said.

When it comes to having ties with the speedway, it’s hard to deny the connection between racing and Cagney’s Restaurant which sits just a couple of miles away. The owner tells me she’s looking forward to hearing those cash registers humming during race weekend.

“We’re ready for that, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be good,” owner Rovena Dede said.

Karen Sheets has been dishing food out to hungry customers for over six years. Her grandfather is Bobby Waddell, a NASCAR legend. She was too young to see Waddell race when she was a kid, but would jump at the chance to take him to the All-Star Race.

“I just think it’s a neat part of history to have of him to be able to show my children all the news clippings and the trophies we have of him and stuff,” Sheets said.

But with all the good news, there is some collateral damage. Paul Allegra drove down from New Jersey on a raceway tour seeing several NASCAR events. He had tickets to the dirt track racing here, but it got cancelled…twice. Now, he’s on the outside looking in.

“I was going to go camping, walk around and look at the track, but now that’s all cancelled again,” Allegra said.

Even though he’s disappointed, he’s ready for the All-Star Race and plans on being back for it.

Related: NASCAR’s All-Star Race coming to North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2023