North Wilkesboro Speedway. (Speedway Motorsports photo)

NASCAR All-Star Race Headed To North Wilkesboro

RALEIGH, N.C. — NASCAR Cup Series racing is returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 19-21, 2023. The announcement was made Thursday in a fitting location — the North Carolina Museum of History.

As part of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season, the NASCAR All-Star Race will be held at the famed five-eighths-mile track that played a vital role in the history of stock car racing.

Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell, Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper were among those in attendance for the announcement.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

North Wilkesboro is owned by Speedway Motorsports and the track returned to action in August with the running of the Racetrack Revival in which Earnhardt competed.

“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,” said Cooper. “North Wilkesboro Speedway is back and better than ever, and the All-Star Race will take it to new heights.”

In November of last year, an $18M allocation from federal American Rescue Plan funds was designated for infrastructure improvements at North Wilkesboro Speedway through the North Carolina state budget.

Earlier this week, Wilkes County awarded construction contracts for the forthcoming work. The General Assembly has agreed in principle to provide a $4 million economic grant next year toward additional facility improvements to host the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race and future special events.

North Wilkesboro, then a dirt track, hosted its first race in May of 1947. Over the next five decades, the 0.625-mile circuit hosted 93 NASCAR Cup Series races — its list of winners a variable who’s who of NASCAR royalty, including Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough and hometown hero Benny Parsons. 

Next year, the 39th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race will mark the first Cup Series event at North Wilkesboro Speedway since Jeff Gordon won there in September of 1996.

Earnhardt has been a passionate supporter of the revitalization of North Wilkesboro Speedway.

“Some of my best memories as a little boy were going to North Wilkesboro,” said Earnhardt. “And it got even better when I raced there as a teenager. I never thought I’d see that place full again, and then I got to race there this summer in a late model before a full house. There’s just something special about it. I know the track, the fans, and the community will put on a show when we’re back with the Cup cars for the All-Star race.”

It’s a fitting place for the All-Star Race during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season.

“North Wilkesboro Speedway boasts a winners list that features the true giants of our sport, and next year, another great will be added as the NASCAR Cup Series stars once again race at this historic facility,” said O’Donnell. “As part of our 75th anniversary season, we’re excited to return to the roots of the sport for the NASCAR All-Star Race. This will be a can’t-miss event as we honor our past and look forward to the future.”