My least favorite word in the English language is “deserve” because everybody in our modern society thinks they deserve whatever they want just because they want it. Not very many people seem to want to go out and earn whatever they want or need, they just want it given to them claiming they deserve whatever they desire. As a result, I rarely use the word deserve in any context. However, I am going to make an exception to that right now.
If ever any group of modern-era people ever deserved something, it is the people who have invested their blood, sweat, and tears to bring the North Wilkesboro Speedway back to life. There are many folks both in the spotlight and behind the scenes who have devoted themselves to this project and now it is finally coming to fruition. They deserve this moment.
After contesting 93 events beginning in 1949 the NASCAR Cup Series held its last race at this historic North Carolina short track back in September of 1996 when Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag as the winner. That will change this weekend.
During the time between that last race in 1996 and this coming weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race, a core group of citizens in Wilkes County, North Carolina and surrounding areas never gave up on the idea that NASCAR would someday return to the 5/8 mile oval. Those ardent followers would eventually be joined by NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Jr., Speedway Motorsports, Inc. CEO Marcus Smith, and even the governor of North Carolina as the tidal wave of support for the revival of the track grew.
So far, the response has been very favorable from competitors, media, and fans.
The turnout for the ‘Race Track Revival’ event for Late Model machines held last August was outstanding. The races for Late Models held so far in the week leading up to this weekend’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and the NASCAR All-Star Race have been quite good. Competitors and media seem to be enjoying the experience as well with several NASCAR stars entering Late Model shows on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The excitement around this re-opening and the event itself is real which is something NASCAR can always use more of. The fans will turn out and will provide a charged atmosphere this weekend. The competitors are enthusiastic about the opportunity to race at a place they had only heard about or watched videos from. All the elements are in place for a great time.
Yes, North Wilkesboro deserves a great weekend!
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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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