North Wilkesboro back on track in a big way

North Wilkesboro

Sept. 8. The 2023 All-Star Race will return to its roots at the North Wilkesboro Speedway for the 75th year of NASCAR. Gov. Roy Cooper, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other officials from NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports made the announcement this morning in Raleigh.

The race will be held at North Wilkesboro on May 21.

Steeped in history

Earnhardt said some of his best memories as a little boy were going to North Wilkesboro with his legendary father.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Photo: NASCAR

“And it got even better when I raced there as a teenager. I never thought I’d see that place full again, and then I got to race there this summer in a late model before a full house,” he said. “There’s just something special about it. I know the track, the fans, and the community will put on a show when we’re back with the Cup cars for the All-Star race.”

Tourism impact

The NASCAR All-Star Race will bring an international spotlight and thousands of race fans to North Carolina. The tourism impact will carry through the following weekend with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The All-Star Race will be the first NASCAR race at North Wilkesboro since 1996.


In his budget proposal last year, Governor Cooper included funds to revitalize speedways across North Carolina. In November 2021, the governor signed the state budget that included these funds. The budget allocates American Rescue Plan funding to speedways across the state, with North Wilkesboro Speedway receiving $18 million.


“Motorsports are critical to North Carolina’s history, culture and economy, and our investments have helped to get the engines running again in places that needed revival,” Cooper said. “North Wilkesboro Speedway is back and better than ever, and the All-Star Race will take it to new heights.”

North Wilkesboro Speedway is one of the first NASCAR tracks. The final NASCAR Cup Series race at North Wilkesboro was held in 1996 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon.

The track sat largely abandoned, but in recent years, the community made significant efforts to revitalize the track. Racing returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway on August 31 for the Window World 125 race, where fans sold out the stadium.



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