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North Wilkesboro Speedway holds media event Tuesday with Governor Cooper, open house to public on Wednesday

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Last Updated on May 18, 2022 7:50 am

Editors note – Information for this article also provided by Speedway Motorsports.


Governor Roy Cooper, Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Childress and “Handsome Harry” aka the “Bandit” Harry Gant were among the dignitaries attending an event at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Tuesday. Other officials, invited guests and members of the media were also in attendance to celebrate the revitalization efforts.

North Wilkesboro Speedway will bring grassroots racing back to the famed .625-mile short track in August and October of 2022, officials announced on April 16th. The track is being brought back to life after Speedway Motorsports, Wilkes County and North Carolina state officials are utilizing an $18 million American Rescue Plan budget allocation earmarked for infrastructure improvements at the nearly 75-year-old facility.

“North Carolina’s speedways are strong economic drivers for communities across the state that bring friends, families and neighbors together for a rip-roaring good time,” Cooper said. “North Wilkesboro Speedway is just one of many racetracks that will be able to cross the finish line on much-needed repairs with these state funds – racing in North Carolina is back and here to stay.”

Fans will have their chance on Wednesday (May 18), the day marking 75 years since the first race, to enjoy an open house, where they can walk the track, see show cars, purchase new merchandise and reserve tickets to Racetrack Revival from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

“For the community, it's going to be great,” Childress said. “Anything Marcus Smith does, he does first class. So just looking at the renderings of what the future of this place is going to look like, it’s going to be amazing. The race fans are going to love it and it’s going to be a special place.”

Smith highlighted the efforts of the Wilkes County community, state and local officials for their encouragement and efforts to bring racing and entertainment back to North Wilkesboro Speedway. He also presented Cooper with a vintage North Wilkesboro Speedway racing jacket.

“It’s just a real testament to what happens with a fantastic community,” he said. “Amazing history, the right support that we got from all of you – all of our racing family and of course, from the governor's office – what a special, special thing. And it doesn't happen very often. It's really hard to put this into a formula, but sometimes things come together just right and special things happen.”

State officials also shared details about the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail, a new effort to weave together the rich history of moonshine and motorsports from across the state.

“In addition to being an economic engine, motorsports are an important part of North Carolina history and culture,” North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Secretary Reid Wilson said. “The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is excited to announce that the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail will launch in 2023 to help celebrate the rich and diverse history of distilling and racing in our state. The trail aims to drive tourism and benefit local economies across the state, particularly in smaller communities.”

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper (second from left) toured North Wilkesboro Speedway on Tuesday, May 27, 2022, and shared the importance of motorsports to the state’s economy, jobs and tourism. He was joined by (left to right) NASCAR legend Harry Gant, NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress, Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith and North Wilkesboro Speedway Executive Director Graig Hoffman. (CMS/HHP photo)

Videos/Photos: Kenneth Reece/WataugaOnline.com

Video posted on social media at the time of the event

Looking around the Speedway at track level

Looking around the Speedway at higher level

Governor Roy Cooper

Richard Childress and Governor Roy Cooper take laps around the track

Richard Childress and Governor Roy Cooper take laps around the track

Full Ceremony

Interview with Harry Gant and Richard Childress

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