Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Wednesday night

The No. 3 Sun Drop car will race in CARS Tour event.
The No. 3 Sun Drop car will race in CARS Tour event.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 7:12 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Driving a car painted in the throwback bright green Sun Drop paint scheme, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will race on Wednesday night at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.

“I came to North Wilkesboro so many times as a kid,” Earnhardt said in a press release. “It’s a special place. I never thought I’d get a chance to race around here again. To put this program together with Sun Drop, who sponsored my late model in ‘93, I wouldn’t want it any other way. They were with my dad for years and one of my first sponsors. Seeing the Sun Drop Chevy at Wilkesboro again will bring back some great memories for me.”

Earnhardt Jr. will enter the Window World 125 CARS Tour event at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Aug. 31. The race will mark the NASCAR Hall of Famer’s first late model stock car start since 1997 and his first race at North Wilkesboro since 1995.

The car will bear a very close resemblance to the car Earnhardt Jr., ran in the early 1990s, including at North Wilkesboro in 1993. Dale Earnhardt, Sr., won five NASCAR Cup Series races at the track.

“We owe a lot to North Wilkesboro and we owe a lot to all these little tracks were part of the series and part of NASCAR when it was just getting going and this place can certainly serve the NASCAR industry and the motorsports industry in many ways,” Earnhardt said on Tuesday.

The first race was held at North Wilkesboro in 1949, and it was a regular NASCAR stop through 1996. After it closed there were several attempts to bring racing back, not nothing was successful and the track fell into disrepair.  But when Dale Earnhardt, Jr., scanned the track for use in an iRacing Series, the interest peaked, and Speedway owner Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports agreed to reopen the track for competition. Dale Jr. thinks this may just be the beginning.

“And that’s really the very reason why we’re all here today,” Earnhardt said. “That little moment where we came out here and cleaned that track up is what kind of kickstarted this whole idea of having racing at North Wilkesboro. When Marcus comes here and sees everything going on tomorrow night that’s going to get his brain and his wheels turning even more about what this place can be in 2023 and beyond.”

No one knows now what the future may hold, but they know this track, even with much work still to be done, is once again getting its moment in the sun.  And that’s true for Dale Jr., and Jesse Cottrell, a racer who came all the way from Kentucky to take part in the week’s events at North Wilkesboro.

“Being able to race on a track where all these legends have ran.  I know the track’s got a lot of history…where these other tires hit the pavement.  I want to get my car on that,” Cottrell said.

The event on Wednesday begins with a concert at 5:45 featuring Dirty Grass Soul. Driver introductions are set to begin at 7 p.m. and the race will begin at 7:30 p.m. The track is located at 381 Speedway Lane in North Wilkesboro.