Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Racing Returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway This Summer

Pavement races will take place in August before a series of dirt events in October.


hero image for Racing Returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway This Summer

North Wilkesboro Speedway is officially back in business.

Speedway Motorsports and racing promoter Barry Braun will reopen the legendary North Carolina short track for a series of events in August and October titled 'Speedway Revival.' These are the first steps towards a long-term restoration project that could see the return of NASCAR national events to Wilkes County.

The month-long schedule in August includes Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Late Model Stocks, Tour Type Modifieds, Hornets and Street Stocks and will be contested on the current existing pavement surface. Following the August schedule, the pavement will be torn up so the October event can host Late Models, Modifieds and 410 Sprint Cars on the original clay surface that lies beneath.

A repaving is scheduled for 2023 as part of an expansive renovation and restoration process.

North Wilkesboro hasn't hosted a NASCAR event since 1996. A series of revival events featuring Late Models and Modifieds took place in 2010 and 2011. It has sat dormant ever since, but enthusiasm for the facility has never waned over the following decades.

Speedway Motorsports president and CEO Marcus Smith said during a press conference on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway that much of this is owed to Dale Earnhardt Jr., who set these events in motion by putting together a clean-up crew to get the track ready for an iRacing scan in 2018.

Because of the enthusiasm surrounding that event, Smith began to mull over the feasibility of restoring the property to life and was met with widespread support from state and local government, who banded together to make it happen.

Using funding released by North Carolina’s portion of the Federal American Rescue Plan, and approved by the state legislature in November, $18 million has been earmarked to North Wilkesboro Speedway for improvements designed to bring motorsports, concerts and other entertainment options to the facility.

An additional $13 million would be allocated to the City of Concord for similar improvements to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Rockingham Speedway is currently designated to receive $9 million. The state budget has also allotted $1 million to state short track and grassroots facilities through the Department of Commerce.

The motorsports industry contributes over $5 billion to the North Carolina economy each year.
Should everything go well, Smith could see the NASCAR industry returning to its once oldest track.

"I think this is a great opportunity for race fans to be able to experience that again, coming up in August and October," Smith said. "We're excited to team up with Barry and his team at XR Events, and I think there will be a lot of classes that will give a lot of racers from all over the world a chance to compete at historic North Wilkesboro.

"Moving forward, I think it would be a perfect place for the NASCAR Truck Series to go out and enjoy the classic track in a great setting in Wilkes county."

Never say never, but Smith doesn’t foresee a Cup Series or Xfinity Series race at Wilkesboro due to the logistical constraints of the facility.

"You know, I think the infrastructure there and the size of the facility is just not what we would put on the schedule for Cup and Xfinity at this time," Smith said.

With that said, Smith is hopeful the schedule of the events in August and October, not to mention any Truck Series date, would permit Cup Series stars from racing in the foothills of the North Carolina High Country.

"When you look at the schedule in August and October, you've got a full month of racing and we anticipate having professional drivers from bigger series like Cup, Xfinity and Trucks," Smith said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see racers come in from around the world."

While Braun has his own streaming platform that could make scheduling a series with a different streaming partner logistically complicated, he and Smith said they are open to talking to any sanctioning body that wants to be a part of Racetrack Revival.

They haven’t had those conversations yet because this was a secret until the weekend, but Braun encouraged sanctioning bodies to reach out.

"There hasn't been any discussions yet, but the door is open," Braun said. "So, if it would work out, absolutely. It's just one event at a time in a number of events throughout each month, so we certainly would talk to anyone and I'm sure the floodgates will open now.

"We'll have to work extremely fast, but we can get it done."

Digital renders of what the facility could look like within the next several years have already been released by Speedway Motorsports. Smith said their goal is providing a world class, modern experience, while also staying true to the historic roots of North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Before that will be making sure fans can experience old Wilkesboro one last time in a safe environment. The man tasked with that goal is Speedway Motorsports operations director Steve Swift.

"We're taking time to look at what old Wilkesboro looked like, and what it felt like," Swift sad. "We want the seats to look and feel like what they did 30 years ago but cleaning it up and keeping it safe because it had fallen into some natural hazards over the years.

"But we want the old Winston paint, the old things that make Wilkesboro, Wilkesboro. We want to preserve that history as best we can for the races this year.

"After those October events, we'll open the next phase of what Wilkesboro can be, while still holding onto the history as you saw in the rendered views. We want to tap into the value and integrity of what Wilkesboro was in the new build."