There’s a major update in the story about reopening North Wilkesboro Speedway.
The track has long-been a point of controversy in the world of racing since it closed 25 years ago after Jeff Gordon won the last cup series race there in 1996, and the idea of getting it back up and running has picked up momentum again over the last several weeks.
Ever since Marcus Smith went on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast not too long ago and said the idea of repairing and reopening the historic track was on his radar, the people of Wilkes kick-started their county-wide “We Want You Back” campaign.
It garnered tons of new eyeballs and ended up being a massive story, picking up a big-name investor, which you can read about in more detail HERE.
It seems their plan is working, because today, the Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper announced that the track would be receiving $10 million for infrastructure repairs (which it’s badly in need of, as it’s basically in disrepair) from the state’s “American Rescue Plan” fund:
#NEW Governor Cooper has announced $30 million of “American Rescue Plan” money will go towards infrastructure repairs at Rockingham Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Breakdown looks like each gets $10 million. #NASCAR@savethespeedway
Another $10 million will go to the speedway in the home of racing, Charlotte Motor Speedway, which plans to host all three national NASCAR series in just a couple of weeks.
Rockingham speedway will also receive $10 million, and another $15 million will go towards the state department of commerce. $5 million of that portion will be allocated for cultural tourism trails, including a Motorsports Mooneshine Heritage trail to spotlight the history of mooneshine and racing in the state, according to Speed Sport.
Seeing as the sport generates millions and millions in revenue for the state every year, and is a big part of the history and culture of North Carolina, it’s not a huge surprise that part of the money is going towards these historic tracks.
Dale Jr.’s dad, the late, great Dale Earnhardt Sr., won multiple races there back in the day, and Jr.’s long-been a supporter of reopening North Wilkesboro Speedway.
He took to Twitter, happy about the news, saying:
“Excited to see an opportunity open up for North Wilkesboro. Never excpected that place to ever make a come back, but maybe there’s a worthy purpose for it yet.”
Excited to see an opportunity open up for North Wilkesboro. Never expected that place to ever make a come back, but maybe there’s a worthy purpose for it yet. https://t.co/LRvRnmEShz
Just a thought, but maybe these two might consider investing in the project now that the movement is seeing real momentum. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Dale Jr. do exactly that in the near future.
Not only is this a big deal for the community of Wilkes and the state of North Carolina, but also the NASCAR brand as a whole. Like I said before, I think this is just the thing that will get people excited about the sport again, and there’s nothing they need more than that at the point in time.
It remains to be seen if the track will be repaved, or return to its original form as a dirt track, but at this point, I don’t even care.