On Thursday, Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, and House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, announced that NASCAR’s All-Star race will be returning to North Wilkesboro. This will be the 40th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race.
“Your legislature is laser focused on bringing prosperity to every county in North Carolina,” said Newton.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps and Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith drove up to the state legislative building with a “special delivery” for the announcement; a NASCAR All-Star Race Chevrolet Camaro pace car. Rep. Jeffrey Elmore and Sen. Eddie Settle, both representing Wilkes County, were there to celebrate.
Opening as a dirt track back in 1947, The North Wilkesboro Speedway was a part of NASCAR’s founding, operating from NASCAR’s inception in 1949 until the track was bought in 1996. The series left after it was sold, returning to racing only briefly. The final Cup race at Rockingham came in 2004.
The track had fallen into disrepair amidst community efforts to revive it. It is short relative to other race tracks, measuring 0.625 mi, and features a unique uphill backstretch and downhill frontstretch according to enthusiasts.
The 2021-2022 North Carolina state budget included $40 million earmarked for three race tracks—$13 million for Charlotte Motor Speedway, $9 million for Rockingham Speedway, and $18 million for North Wilkesboro Speedway. The General Assembly gave the North Wilkesboro Speedway an additional $4 million grant for additional facility upgrades for the All-Star weekend.
In 2021, the Department of Commerce invested $30 million in federal American Rescue Plan money to make improvements to North Wilkesboro and Charlotte Motor speedways. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources also created a tourism project that includes a a Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail.
“We are very grateful that NASCAR and FOX Sports have supported our efforts to bring the NASCAR All-Star Race back to North Wilkesboro in 2024,” said Smith. “While NASCAR’s current 75th anniversary season still has some memorable moments to come, it’s hard to imagine a more magical moment than what we witnessed with NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro Speedway this past May. The success of the 2023 All-Star Race with fans coming from all 50 states and seven foreign countries would not have been possible without the support of the NASCAR industry, our state legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper and the Wilkes County community. We’re thankful to have the opportunity to bring back an international spotlight for the second consecutive year to North Wilkesboro and the great state of North Carolina.”
The NASCAR All-Star Race will take place at North Wilkesboro Speedway as part of a three-day weekend of motorsports entertainment on May 17-19, 2024.