WILKESBORO, N.C. — Aside from getting fans in the stands, crews are working around the clock to get North Wilkesboro Speedway ready for the big weekend.
WFMY News 2's Jaelen Gilkey stopped by Wednesday for an update on their progress.
In September of 2022, Gov. Roy Cooper and Racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr shocked the world when they announced that NASCAR was making its way back to North Wilkesboro.
“The unknown is a little scary, but there's a lot of opportunity here and we're making a lot of memories, which is exciting,” Chief Experience Officer, Speedway Motorsports, Jessica Fickenscher said.
It's been close to 27 years since NASCAR last ran a sanctioned race here at the North Wilkesboro Speedway and the facilities needed a lot of work in a short period of time.
“Construction-wise, we are really confident and very comfortable with where we're at now. We'll have the construction piece taken care of. It's just making sure we give the fans what they're looking for when they get here,” Speedway Motorsports Senior Vice President of Operations & Development, Steve Swift said.
With only nine months to bring everything up to the safety code, NASCAR and Wilkes County had to kick this project up into 6th gear. The drivers want to keep the old track feel but a safety wall still needs to be installed, the suites for the fans needed upgrades, and the infield was completely re-done.
“We always make the jokes, it's the right way, the wrong way, and then the speedway. So, we're always in that speedway gear. With that speedway gear, we've been watching the clock closely and watching the calendar closely, but we’re feeling pretty confident right now," Swift said.
Currently, we are less than 90 days away from the dropping of the green flag at the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race.
“This event is on everyone's radar and it's just so exciting that the community has so much pride in this place. I've enjoyed every moment of this project,” Fickenscher said.
The sport of NASCAR, as well as the community, know just how much it means to bring big-time racing back to North Wilkesboro Speedway.
This year's NASCAR All-Star race is set to run Sunday, May 21st from the North Wilkesboro Speedway.