How Dale Earnhardt Jr Was Instrumental in Revamping the North Wilkesboro Speedway

Published 11/21/2021, 5:18 AM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JUNE 30: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 59th Annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)


In what comes as great news for NASCAR, the North Wilkesboro Speedway has received some funding. Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith revealed that part of North Carolina’s state budget will be set aside for the track. The best part is that it will also include the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Rockingham Speedway. This counts as a win for former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, who has been lobbying for it.

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He paid a visit to lobby for motorsports funding. Earnhardt Jr. has been working towards this since 2019, where he successfully had the track surface cleaned up and scanned for iRacing.

According to reports, governor Roy Cooper allocated $40 million to revamp all three race tracks. Out of that, $18 million will go to Wilkes County. The idea is to take care of infrastructure projects pertaining to the North Wilkesboro Speedway.

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Why is Dale Earnhardt Jr so invested in this project?

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Dale Jr’s interest in the project largely stems from the fact that he is pretty fond of the track. This explains why he had the track resurfaced in order to try and revive it. Who knows, there could soon come a time when the North Wilkesboro Speedway returns to the NASCAR calendar in some capacity.

FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide/Justice League Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

It is worth mentioning that the 0.625-mile speedway has been abandoned for a long time. To be precise, there has not been a Cup Series race at the track since 1996. Naturally, many NASCAR fans would love to see the sport return there some day. However, at that time, the conditions were highly unfavorable. It got so bad that some considered it “closer to being condemned than anything else.”

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Now hopefully, this new development will see the speedway restored to its former glory. Whether it will bring back the NASCAR paddock is a different story altogether. At least the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Rockingham Speedway could also be revamped as well.

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Dhruv George

12337 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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