NASCAR Announces Return to North Wilkesboro in 2023 After 30 Years

by Dustin Schutte

The thunder will soon be rolling through North Wilkesboro again. Thursday, NASCAR announced it will return to the North Carolina racetrack in 2023, after a nearly three-decade absence.

Officials from the North Wilkesboro Speedway confirmed this week that NASCAR will be back at the track next season. It will be the site of the 2023 All-Star Race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also confirmed NASCAR’s return to the speedway. It will be the sport’s first race on the track since 1996. The announcement was made from the North Carolina Museum of History.

North Wilkesboro was a frequent stop on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule from 1949-96. Jeff Gordon was the last NASCAR driver to take a checkered flag at the speedway, winning the Tyson Holly Farms 400 in 1996.

“Motorsports are critical to North Carolina’s history, culture and economy, and our investments have helped to get the engines running again in places that needed revival,” said Gov. Roy Cooper, per “North Wilkesboro Speedway is back and better than ever, and the All-Star Race will take it to new heights.”

NASCAR’s History at North Wilkesboro

The North Wilkesboro track was a staple on the NASCAR Cup Series stage for decades until 1996. The 2023 return marks a revival of sorts of one of the iconic tracks in the sport.

The 0.625-mile track saw some of the biggest legends in NASCAR dominate. Richard Petty claimed 15 victories at the speedway, most all-time at the track. Darrell Waltrip won 10 times and Dale Earnhardt and Cade Yarborough each crossed the finish line first five times.

Other multi-race winners at North Wilkesboro include Bobby Allison, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Lee Petty and Bobby Labonte.

NASCAR’s 2023 Cup Series All-Star weekend is set for May 19-21. The schedule for the full weekend is to be announced at a later date.