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2024 Schedule Rumors: North Wilkesboro May Host the All-Star Race Once Again

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Joshua Lipowski

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The 2024 NASCAR schedule may have come into clearer focus on Sunday as Jule Hubbard of the Wilkes-Journal Patriot reported rumors regarding North Wilkesboro Speedway. According to Hubbard, as a part of the $42 million allocated to Wilkes County, $4 million was given to Speedway Motorsports Inc., the owners of North Wilkesboro Speedway. SMI reportedly committed to running two NASCAR events, and the rumor is that they will once again host the All-Star Race in 2024.

Many wondered if North Wilkesboro Speedway could receive a points-paying date on the 2024 schedule. Is it the right move for North Wilkesboro to keep the All-Star Race, and how can they improve the event if they keep it?

Is This The Right Move or Not?

Despite many calling for North Wilkesboro Speedway to be a points race in 2024, there are some detractors to that line of thinking. The main issue is the racing product at North Wilkesboro during the 2023 All-Star Race was not great. Now, that is not necessarily the fault of the track as the short-track product with the Next-Gen car has been not great.

Is the best solution to that to double the length of a North Wilkesboro race, or is it a better idea to give it a race that can be gimmicked up? The All-Star Race is truly all about the show, and a good format can mitigate some of the issues that the Next-Gen car creates.

Now, there are a lot of benefits to giving North Wilkesboro Speedway a points race. It is giving a historic race track a full-length, points-paying race. The local community would also certainly support the race as was evidenced by the full stands at the All-Star Race in May.

It just seems natural for the next logical step to be a points race, but, given the racing product, it is understandable why they would want to keep it as an All-Star Race for now. If they do end up keeping it as the All-Star Race, then how do they improve the event?

How Can they Improve the All-Star Race?

As we previously mentioned, the All-Star Race is all about the show, so they can do a lot to the race to gimmick it up. This year’s event was intentionally relatively free of gimmicks, but, with the short track product the way that it is, that may not totally work.

One thing that can be done that Dale Earnhardt Jr. potentially suggested is adding a competition caution or two in the final 100-lap segment. As a result, a driver would have to make a choice on when to take on tires in the final stage. Maybe they could even extend the final stage to 105 laps and give the drivers three separate 35-lap sprints in the final 100 laps with one pit stop under at least one of the competition cautions required.

SMI could also choose to completely reinvent the wheel with the event. They could go back to the old, Charlotte All-Star Race style formats where there is a 10-lap final segment or so that drivers have to finish out the race. This would create some very intense moments in those final laps as long as the race remained close.

What if SMI chose to put dirt over the track, and run the race on dirt? It could work, and North Wilkesboro was originally planning on hosting dirt races in late 2022 before the All-Star Race moved to North Wilkesboro. It could replace Bristol Dirt on the schedule, and it would keep dirt as a non-points event.

Regardless, the important thing to note is that SMI and North Wilkesboro Speedway have a lot of options to improve the race if the race remains an All-Star Race. That could mitigate the issue of the short track product for the time being until NASCAR fixes it.

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Joshua Lipowski

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