NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — A historic North Carolina speedway is being transformed for this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race, and the renovations are ahead of schedule on Wednesday.
Construction crews have been hard at work at the North Wilkesboro Speedway since September, when the announcement was made that the old-school race track will be hosting the race.
The town has a population of 4,239, but it plans to welcome around 30,000 people in May. Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the track on Wednesday, and there are visible improvements even though it still looks like a construction zone.
Channel 9′s Dave Faherty visited the track and learned there’s still a lot of work left to do. Thanks to a mild winter, construction is ahead of schedule.
(In the above graphic, use the slider to see the change since September)
Faherty learned there are more than 150 people working 12-hour days to transform the track.
To make the race a success, track management will need help from the fans, especially when it comes to transportation to and from the raceway.
“We’re gonna need the cooperation of the fans. We’re gonna be encouraging people to try to carpool to get to the track. We’re gonna encourage people to use our remote parking options and take the shuttle buses,” Scott Cooper of Speedway Motorsports said.
The last NASCAR race held at North Wilkesboro came in 1996. Faherty could see workers putting in safer barriers for the drivers and paving the infield, while also giving updates to the suites.
Faherty spoke to Terri Parsons, the wife of former NASCAR driver Benny Parsons. His last wish before he died was for the track to reopen.
“It shows what happens when a local community comes together, gets along, checks your ego at the door, and works together for one common cause,” Parsons said.
The speedway received $18 million in allocation money from the American Rescue Plan funds. Money was designated for infrastructure improvements at the speedway through the North Carolina state budget.
Dean Combs, a former racer and longtime resident, thinks the investment will pay off for the city.
“We lost all of our industrial,” Combs said. “We lost Lowe’s and this is really gonna help. This is a big benefit for Wilkes County.”
Tickets are now available for the race. You can purchase them by clicking here.
(WATCH BELOW: NASCAR All-Star Race coming to North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2023)
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