Revitalization plan revealed for North Wilkesboro Speedway

Images courtesy of SMI

Revitalization plan revealed for North Wilkesboro Speedway

NASCAR

Revitalization plan revealed for North Wilkesboro Speedway

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With $18 million ready to be spent on infrastructure improvements, Marcus Smith has begun laying out plans to revitalize North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Smith, Speedway Motorsports president and CEO, spoke before a group of 250 people gathered Thursday night for the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce 75th Membership Celebration. In sharing hopes for the speedway to see a motorsports return while bringing other entertainment options to the area, Smith also shared conceptual renderings for the property.

“The future of North Wilkesboro Speedway is bright,” said Smith. “There is a great opportunity to revive this fantastic venue to be, not just a racetrack, but a place that can host a lot of events, a place that people will come to from far away and enjoy the community, enjoy the region and enjoy special events.

The money comes from the North Carolina State budget. In November, Governor Roy Cooper approved $40 million be divided among North Wilkesboro, Rockingham Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway for improvements.

“Water, sewer, electricity, roads, connectivity — those are a lot of the building blocks that we need to get done,” Smith said. “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.

“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. Our hope is to celebrate the history and look forward to the future. North Wilkesboro is an amazing, historic place for NASCAR. It’s almost like Fenway Park is to baseball. I think, with this money from the state and the American Rescue Plan, we can make some dreams a reality at North Wilkesboro Speedway.”

The track has sat dormant for years, last hosting racing events in 2010 and ’11. NASCAR last hosted an event at North Wilkesboro in 1996.

Thursday night, Smith specifically mentioned the Camping World Truck Series as a potential series that returns to the track.

“We specifically — and I’ll thank Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World, for his voice of support — we specifically think it’s a real possibility to bring back NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” he said. “Those races are nationally televised events, and it’s a national NASCAR touring series. We have a number of those (races) in our portfolio, and I would love to see one of those here.”

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