North Wilkesboro Speedway last race was September 29, 1996 when Jeff Gordon won the Tyson Holly Farms 400 before the recent renovation.

Renowned for its intricate layout and steeply banked turns, the North Wilkesboro Speedway held NASCAR Cup Series races from 1949 to 1996. The final race at this iconic track evoked profound emotions among fans and drivers, symbolizing the culmination of an era in the annals of motorsports.

Throughout its storied history, celebrated racing legends like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon triumphed on the hallowed grounds of this legendary circuit.

The climactic final race showcased gripping battles, exemplifying these drivers' unwavering competitive spirit and extraordinary skill, all vying to etch their names in the annals of the speedway's illustrious past.

After years of desolation, an announcement on September 8, 2022, revealed that North Wilkesboro Speedway would host the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race as part of NASCAR's 75th-anniversary festivities.

This monumental decision heralded the long-awaited return of the NASCAR Cup Series to the track, marking the end of a lengthy hiatus since 1996.

North Wilkesboro Speedway Past Winners Till 1996

A list of past NASCAR track winners at North Wilkesboro Speedway are:

  • 1996 - Jeff Gordon - Terry Labonte
  • 1995 - Mark Martin - Dale Earnhardt
  • 1994 - Terry Labonte - Geoffrey Bondine
  • 1993 - Rusty Wallace
  • 1992 - Geoffrey Bondine - Davey Allison
  • 1991 - Dale Earnhardt - Darrell Waltrip
  • 1990 - Mark Martin - Brett Bondine
  • 1989 - Geoffrey Bondine - Dale Earnhardt
  • 1988 - Rusty Wallace - Terry Labonte
  • 1987 - Terry Labonte - Dale Earnhardt

The North Wilkesboro Speedway, addressed in Wilkes County, North Carolina, enjoyed a significant reputation as a racetrack that hosted NASCAR events from 1949 to 1996. This track was well-known for its distinct layout and demanding turns.

Throughout its history, the North Wilkesboro Speedway held 93 premier series races within the NASCAR circuit, with 73 of those victories earned by esteemed NASCAR Hall of Famers.

Picture of the 1990 Tyson Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway
Source : facebook

Notably, Richard Petty emerged as the most successful driver at the track, securing an impressive 15 wins, while Darrell Waltrip achieved 10 victories. Other notable drivers who found success at the track include Earnhardt Sr, Cale Yarborough, and Terry Labonte.

Besides, the final race held at the North Wilkesboro Speedway took place on September 29, 1996, and was triumphantly won by Jeff Gordon. 

Gordon's victory at the Tyson Holly Farms 400 marked his success in conquering all four short tracks he competed on throughout his illustrious career. This race was the 27th event in the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

North Wilkesboro Speedway TV Schedule for All-Star Weekend

North Wilkesboro Speedway has a series of races scheduled for this week, culminating in the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 21.

The track had been inactive for several years until Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the American Rescue Plan Act played a vital role in its revival. In 2022, the track reopened, and NASCAR announced its return to North Wilkesboro Speedway last fall.

Image of the North Wilkesboro Speedway under construction
Source : hagerty

On May 21, 2023, the NASCAR All-Star Open race will be held at 5 p.m. followed by NASCAR RaceDay: All-Star Race at 7 p.m., and the NASCAR All-Star Race at 8 p.m. All these events will be broadcasted on FS1 and FOX Deportes.

Here is the schedule of events at North Wilkesboro Speedway:

  • Wednesday- May 17: CARS Tour race
  • Friday- May 19: All-Star Friday
  • Saturday- May 20: NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Trucks, Tyson 250
  • Sunday- May 21: NASCAR All-Star Race

The CARS Tour race, part of the schedule, is set to transpire at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 17, 2023. Yahoo Sports reports that for 2023, the maximum number of entries has been increased from 30 to 38 cars to accommodate full-time drivers and special one-off competitors.

How Big Is North Wilkesboro Speedway?

The size of North Wilkesboro Speedway is roughly 0.625 miles (1.0 kilometres) featuring a steeply banked turn with a 14-degree angle. It is on US Route 421, 5 miles east of North Wilkesboro. 

These tight turns pose a challenge for drivers, demanding cautious navigation and reduced speeds. Unfortunately, since its closure in 1996, North Wilkesboro Speedway has suffered from neglect and deterioration.

In terms of specifics, the map coordinates of the track's location are approximately 36°08'32" latitude and -81°04'19" longitude, equivalent to 36.142222 latitude and -81.071944 longitude.

During its operational years, North Wilkesboro Speedway had a seating capacity of 19,800 permanent seats, which could be expanded to accommodate 24,800 spectators with temporary grandstands.

North Wilkesboro Speedway days before the NASCAR All-Star race  on May 14, 2023
Source : instagram

However, since its closure, the speedway has undergone renovations. For the upcoming NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend in May 2023, the seating capacity is expected to reach approximately 25,000. This includes the installation of around 5,000 temporary seats specifically for the event, as reported by The Appalachian.

There are no free North Wilkesboro Speedway parking lots; all parking is on a general admission basis. Fans can reserve parking passes, which will be sent to them by mail before the event.

Furthermore, according to the official website, off-site parking locations are available. One is the Blue Lot at 1605 Curtis Bridge Road, Wilkesboro, NC. The other off-site parking option is the Green Lot located at 4938 Fishing Creed Resort, North Wilkesboro, NC.

North Wilkesboro Speedway Weather Forecast

The weather for North Wilkesboro Speedway during the Cars Tour race anticipates a high temperature of 81°F on 16th May 2023. The expected low temperature for the day is 61°F.

As per AccuWeather, the May 17, 2023 forecast, the day preceding the race, predicts a high of 79°F and a low of 55°F, with a modest 13% chance of precipitation. Furthermore, the forecast for May 18, 2023, the day following the race, suggests a high of 73°F and a low of 47°F, with a mere 8% chance of precipitation.

Inclement weather, such as rain, has the potential to cause delays or even necessitate race cancellations, disrupting the race schedule and introducing difficulties for drivers.

Wet track surfaces can compromise traction, making it more arduous for drivers to maintain vehicle control and potentially heightening the risk of accidents. Additionally, diminished visibility caused by rain or fog can raise safety concerns for drivers and spectators.

Race organizers prioritize the safety of all participants and may adjust the race's start time or implement other measures to mitigate the impact of unfavorable weather conditions.