Racing Returns To Historic Nascar Speedway This Season

North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina will host races on pavement in August, followed by racing on dirt in October.

The news, announced Saturday, comes several months after the track’s owner Speedway Motorsports (SMI), announced a makeover of the track in January. The movement began a year prior as fans loyal to the track began to restore the property that held 93 NASCAR Cup race until 1996. In 2021, the effort picked up support when the state of North Carolina set aside $18 million from the American Rescue Plan in its budget for infrastructure improvements to the track.

In January SMI’s CEO Marcus Smith said the track, which celebrates 75 years in May, would be refurbished.

“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,” Smith said at the time. “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.”

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Smith was on hand at Bristol Motor Speedway, also owned by SMI, Saturday to help announce the return of racing to the track.

In August, North Wilkesboro Speedway will host a monthlong grassroots racing event, Racetrack Revival, featuring multiple racing series such as Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Late Model Stocks and Hornets on the .625-mile short track.

The tracks pavement will then be torn up and the original dirt surface the track first used for racing, will be prepared for racing in October.

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.

The events will be produced by XR Events a company that has produced events at several Speedway Motorsports venues, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. The company will also produce the upcoming May 10-14 Colossal 100 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for competitors and short track race fans to experience North Wilkesboro Speedway one more time on the old asphalt and then on dirt as it first began,” said XR Events CEO Barry Braun. “We have a lot of work to do with sanctioning bodies and competitors to get ready for August, but we’re committed to producing an event that both fans and racers will remember for a lifetime.”

Once the October racing is completed, the track will begin the process of a repaving, which is expected to be finished sometime in 2023.

After Saturday’s announcement Smith said that while a return by NASCAR is possible, it would most likely be the NASCAR truck series by 2024 at the earliest. He added that even with the infrastructure upgrades and improvements to the track, the facility will still be too small to host a Cup or Xfinity series event.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”