The NASCAR Cup Series is coming back to North Wilkesboro.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference Thursday outside the North Carolina Museum of History to announce NASCAR’s 2023 All-Star Race will be held at legendary North Wilkeboro Speedway next May.
“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.”
The track, a 5/8ths oval, held its first race in 1947 and hosted Cup Series races until 1996.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., a longtime advocate for the return of the iconic race track, was also part of the announcement.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 8, 2022
More than $18 million in funds in the North Carolina state budget last November was dedicated to repairing the track, which had fallen into disrepair.
The track, owned by Speedway Motorsports, has been the site of wins by several of the sport’s greatest competitors, from North Carolina natives Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Sr. to Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and David Pearson.
“The NASCAR All-Star Race has always been the fans’ race, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the fans during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary than returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “We couldn’t have made this happen without tremendous support from so many people including Gov. Cooper, our state legislature, NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and of course, the people of Wilkes County. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got the will to create something special alongside a community and hard-working staff that will get it done.”