A bombshell was dropped on the NASCAR world as Marcus Smith, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and SMI have announced that the newly refurbished North Wilkesboro Speedway will host the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race!
North Wilkesboro Speedway was one of the original stops on the NASCAR schedule, with the short track hosting dates on the NASCAR circuit from 1949 until the track's original closure in 1996. Through the decades, North Wilkesboro hosted 93 Cup events. NASCAR legends like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon have all won at the legendary speedway. However after 2011, the track was left to rot and was assumed to never hold another race again. However, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr, featured the track on his Peacock exclusive show Lost Speedways. After the release of the episode, Earnhardt Jr. launched a passion project to one day have North Wilkesboro return to its former glory.
After Marcus Smith and SMI hopped onboard, Nascar fans have received almost weekly updates on the progress of the Save the Speedway initiative. It's safe to say, it was a successful project. Late Model Stocks returned to North Wilkesboro on August 31st, with Carson Kvapil of JR Motorsports taking the win. The venue was sold out and many legends of racing were in attendance. Even Dale Jr, hopped in a Late Model for the first time since 1997 and brought his #3 Sundrop Chevy home 3rd.
The NASCAR All-Star Race formally known as the Winston is an exhibition event where the victor receives a one million dollar cash prize. It was held at Charlotte (1985) and Atlanta (1986) for its first two events before staying at Charlotte from 1987-2019. In 2020, NASCAR and Marcus Smith announced that the All-Star race would travel to different tracks for All-Star weekend similar to the NBA All-Star Weekend and NFL Pro Bowl. In 2020, the event was hosted at Bristol Motor Speedway and for the last two years the All-Star race has been at Texas Motor Speedway.
Next year is NASCAR’s 75th or diamond season, so it's only right that they return to North Wilkesboro, which is the perfect spot to host the 2023 All-Star Race. We will see if in the future Nascar continues this trend and finds new, or older tracks to run their All Star event at.
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