Racing returns to North Wilkesboro track
By David Whisenant
NORTH WILKESBORO, NC (WBTV) – A once defunct NASCAR track is now set to roar back to life. The North Wilkesboro Speedway was one of NASCAR’s first tracks, but it shut down in 1996.
Now a USARacing Pro Cup event is scheduled for next year at the half-mile track and many fans are excited about it.
If you see the track just off Highway 421 today, it looks like a rundown time capsule. There are faded Winston Cup signs and a lonely victory lane, but soon this place will come back to life.
There are already some signs of change, the old billboard at the main entrance just got its first fresh coat of paint in 13 years.
“This is memories up here, this is where NASCAR started,” said Jimmy Shoaf. He and two friends drove up to look at the old track on Monday after hearing that racing would return next year.
North Wilkesboro was one of NASCAR’s first tracks going back to 1949.
It all stopped when NASCAR started needing dates for tracks in California and Los Angeles. North Wilkesboro, like Rockingham, fell victim to changing times.
Over the years, there have been numerous developers and schemes to try to bring competitive racing back to the North Wilkesboro Speedway, but this represents what some say this is the best chance to really have a race here.
The stock car series known as the USAR Pro Cup will run at North Wilkesboro next October on the same weekend that traditionally hosted the NASCAR race.
The track is now under a new ownership group that includes Terri Parsons, the widow of former NASCAR Champion Benny Parsons.
The Pro Cup series also runs at another track that was once home to NASCAR, the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.