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Is the North Wilkesboro Speedway here to stay only for a short time, yet again? After returning to the NASCAR Cup Series calendar after a 26-year-absence, it seems many are wary of its long-term sustainability. And among them is Hendrick Motorsports star Chase Elliott.

Evidently, North Wilkesboro would not have found itself on NASCAR radar if not for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The former NASCAR driver was one of the most influential figures and the key to the track’s revival. And, finally, the track is all set to host the NASCAR All-Star race this weekend. But for how long?

Chase Elliott reflected on the decision to bring North Wilkesboro back

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What once was an iconic venue hosting two Cup races a year and the site for a staggering 15 victories by Richard Petty, saw an untimely demise decades ago as NASCAR moved into bigger markets. However, come 2019, it was all set to change. On a cold December day in 2019, the Dale Earnhardt Jr turned up at the North Carolina venue with 21 others to help preserve it on the iRacing platform. However, what he discovered upon reaching was far too heartbreaking.

With weed growing from the asphalt and grandstands falling apart, the track seemed “far too gone” according to Junior. But with joint efforts by the veteran, Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith and many others, North Wilkesboro Speedway finally made it to the roster. And it’s safe to say the community was excited while also being a tad bit wary.

During a recent press conference, Chase Elliott indicated the same as he spoke of the once dilapidated racetrack with a lot of hope in his voice. “I think it’s a good thing. This place has been around for a long time. Kind of in the heart of NASCAR land, with Charlotte being right down the road and all that stuff. I think it’s a good thing. Personally, I was excited to see that NASCAR spent a bunch of money to repave the place. That just told me that it was going to be around for a while, and then they made that commitment very quickly. I think it’s all positive, the fan turnout was great last year, I hope that continues,” he said.

However, the racer also expressed his suspicions about a recurring behavior by the NASCAR community. “I’ve seen a couple of times in my career, that we’ll have something new and go really good the first time. Then it won’t after that, so I hope that this continues to be a positive event, because it was, last year. That led to the money being spent on the race track and resurface and seemingly sticking around.,” he added. Admittedly, Elliot was a bit wary that this track might not stand the test of time.

Moreover, Chase Elliott cited his fear that novelty and race craft would only decline after the first year. Fortunately, that has not happened yet for the North Wilkesboro Speedway, though he has yet to see what 2024 has in store. As for now, everything depends on how the NASCAR All-Star Open and the NASCAR All-Star Race will play out this weekend.

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The Hendrick Motorsports driver has been in good form this season

It’s safe to say that 2023 was somewhat miserable for Chase Elliott. After missing out on playoffs for the first time in his Cup career, courtesy of a left tibia fracture owing to a snowboarding accident, the racer was relegated out of the racetrack for multiple races. Evidently, that absence affected his racing form, as returning to his earlier dominant form seemed cumbersome for the driver.

However, 2o24 comes with a lot of promise for the #9 driver. He has more than made up for his losses with a win at the Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year. . Not only did it secure a Playoff berth, but it has come a long way in restoring his confidence. This triumph reaffirmed him as an elite NASCAR driver, and now he even has the results to prove it. So, it would also be great for Elliot’s morale if he won at the North Wilkesboro Speedway and notched up his second win of 2024.

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USA Today via Reuters

What’s your take on Chase Elliott’s upcoming trajectory? Share your thoughts in the comments.