NC Gov. Cooper Tours North Wilkesboro Speedway Ahead Of State-Funded Revival

Wilkeboro Speedway


North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has visited and toured the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway, in Wilkes County, North Carolina, ahead of grassroots racing’s return to the iconic short track later this summer.  

The governor was joined by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress, legendary NASCAR driver Harry Gant, and state and local officials. Following a tour of the facility and three ceremonial pace laps with Childress behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Camaro, Gov. Cooper addressed the vital importance of motorsports to the state’s economy. 
“North Carolina’s speedways are strong economic drivers for communities across the state that bring friends, families, and neighbors together for a rip-roaring good time,” Gov. Cooper said.  

After more than a decade without racing, the 0.625-mile facility will host the “Racetrack Revival” with nearly a month of grassroots racing on the paved track in August. Then, following the removal of the old asphalt, racing will return on dirt in October. The facility will also have upgraded water, sewer, and Wi-Fi capabilities. Smith likened his vision of North Wilkesboro Speedway to that of a resto-mod, maintaining the speedway’s nostalgic appeal while upgrading to modern conveniences.  

A total of $18 million in funding was secured as part of the American Rescue Plan allocations in the North Carolina state budget, which allocated a total of $45.8 million to help revitalize motorsports venues across the state. 

“North Wilkesboro Speedway is just one of many race tracks that will be able to cross the finish line on much-needed repairs with these state funds—racing in North Carolina is back and here to stay,” Gov. Cooper said.  

In addition, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural took the opportunity to announce the new “Moonshine and Motorsports Trail,” a program to highlight the state’s history and cultural impact. 

“In addition to being an economic engine, motorsports are an important part of North Carolina history and culture,” North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Reid Wilson said. “The Moonshine and Motorsports Trail will launch in 2023 to help celebrate the rich and diverse history of distilling and racing in our state. The trail aims to drive tourism and benefit local economies across the state, particularly in smaller communities.” 

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