Crews working to have North Wilkesboro Speedway ready for NASCAR All-Star Weekend
NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (WBTV) - What seemed like the impossible dream is now just three months from reality.
NASCAR racing will be returning to the North Wilkesboro Speedway after an absence of 27 years, and it’s coming back bigger than anyone could have imagined with the running of the NASCAR All-Star Race in May.
“I think this surpassed any dream that Benny had for this track,” said Terri Parsons.
Parsons is the widow of legendary NASCAR driver and Hall of Famer Benny Parsons, and she was the guiding light that pushed to bring racing back here.
“This is beyond anything that a local community could possibly expect, and for me especially because as everybody knows, this was one of my husband’s dying wishes on the list that he left me to get done,” Parsons added.
And it’s nearly there. SAFER barriers are being installed, mounts for the Musco lights are in place. New signs that are made to look weathered fit well with the historic signs that have been left untouched. New suites, asphalt in the infield, and other touches help provide all the touches needed to create a modern racetrack in a vintage venue.
“We rarely get to bring old things back. We normally tear old things down and build new, so to be able to bring something old and be able to keep on holding on to that and preserve that, very very grateful,” said Steve Swift, Sr. VP, Operations and Development. “Since December, we have SAFER wall that’s started with about 70 percent installed at this point or maybe 60 percent, all the SAFER wall has been delivered.”
“All the Musco bases were put in, all the foundation, wiring to those has been completed.” added Swift. “We got our first load of Musco poles; those will start standing tomorrow. All the siding on the suites, there was no siding on the suites at that time and that’s started and we are about 80 percent complete with the siding on the exterior of the suites. We have dry roofs on everything so we aren’t having any water problems or leaks. Plumbing and electrical has all been run in, sheetrock has been hung in the suites with the first coat of paint going on soon on the inside and the exteriors have already started painting.”
“The infield has been halfway paved, ready for another half of paving starting on Thursday so we’ve made a lot of progress.”
Additional improvements scheduled ahead of NASCAR All-Star Race week include updating the infield scoring tower, installing MUSCO track lighting and re-installing a manual lap-count and top-five leaderboard.
And in a town that is so NASCAR focused that even the clerks at the convenience stores plug their sponsors…
“Got to get that little plug in there for Raymer Oil Company, you guys stop and see us,” said Angela Prevette at the Run-In store not far from the track.
She says there’s a new buzz around the old track that’s already been good for business.
“The buzz is, like I said, the excitement in the community, there’s a lot of new tourists starting to come through, new people starting to come through,” Prevette said. “There had been rumors, numerous rumors of different races that may come through and then when we found out that it was definitely the All-Star, there was a lot of excitement in the community.”
And while the enthusiasm of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Marcus Smith gave this project the push it needed to move towards the finish line, it’s been the vision of people like Terri Parsons who were determined not to let the dream die.
“It shows what happens when a local community can come together, get along, check your egos at the door and work together for one common cause,” Parsons added.
A limited number of single-day tickets will are available for: Sunday, May 21st (Infield Access ONLY), Saturday May 20, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, as well as for Friday, May 19, which includes Cup and Truck Series practice on All-Star Friday presented by Raymer Oil Company.
Tickets for the All-Star Weekend are on sale now. The package means fans can attend all of the on track events and concerts, including the Dierks Bentley pre-race show on Sunday, May 21.
Information about the race weekend, tickets, camping, parking, and more can be found here: https://www.northwilkesborospeedway.com/
NASCAR All-Star Race week will include six days or nights of entertainment including:
- Tuesday, May 16: ASA Stars National Series
- Wednesday, May 17: CARS Pro and Late Model Stocks
- Friday, May 19: NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Cup Series practice; Concerts by Midland and Chase Rice
- Saturday, May 20: NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series qualifying and Tyson 250; NASCAR Cup Series qualifying
- Sunday, May 21: Dierks Bentley pre-race concert; NASCAR All-Star Open and NASCAR All-Star Race
Schedules are tentative and subject to change. Specific on-track schedules and the All-Star Race format will be released at a later date.
Speedway Motorsports contributed to this story.
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