Moonshine & Motorsports Trail Special: North Wilkesboro Speedway Returns

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Joshua Lipowski

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Eric Estepp moves right along the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail to a place that was once seemingly forgotten, North Wilkesboro Speedway. Eric made the trek to Wilkes County for the All-Star Race last weekend, highlighting the return of NASCAR to the hills of Wilkes County.

Pre-Race Fan-zone Activities.

Eric highlighted the hopping fan-zone during prerace which included the usual merchandise haulers, show cars, and even a concert featuring country music star Dierks Bentley. However, North Wilkesboro Speedway featured a bit of a retro feel to it.

This is primarily an homage to North Wilkesboro’s place in NASCAR’s past. Eric mentions that the speedway, a part of the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail, was founded in 1947 and hosted NASCAR races from 1949 until 1996.

The Winston Cup Museum had a display at North Wilkesboro. This featured classic Winston Cup merchandise and classic Winston Cup cars.

The Winston Cup Museum also had a mobile display that featured different pieces of NASCAR history. Terry Labonte’s Winston Cup was on display, as well as different Alan Kulwicki relics and a Jeff Gordon helmet. The biggest display, however, belonged to the Intimidator himself, Dale Earnhardt.

Also during pre-race, Eric participated in a meet-up at Brennan Poole’s Moonshine and Motorsports Trail show car. Poole’s show car was on display along with Eric meeting plenty of fans, then Eric moved into the race track.

Inside the Race Track

Speedway Motorsports Inc. had called the renovations at North Wilkesboro Speedway a “resto-mod”. Highlighting that there were necessary improvements made to the track, they still looked to keep the timeless image of North Wilkesboro.

Greeting fans on the way in was the iconic Winston Cup sign behind the suites in turn four. Eric mentioned how when people saw North Wilkesboro in its’ abandoned state, this was something that they saw. He mentioned how it highlights the fact that this is a piece of the past being brought back for the modern day.

When getting into the track, Eric explored the renovated North Wilkesboro Speedway. This included a pre-race parade featuring cars that were famously used in moonshine and classic NASCAR cars as well.

While at the track between the Open and the All-Star Race, Eric talked about the job that SMI did at improving North Wilkesboro Speedway. He mentioned that, while there are definitely some thing about the facility that are a bit dated, the job done was impressive. Eric specifically called it a, “Bang-up Job.”

From there, Eric sat down to enjoy the All-Star Race. One of the most anticipated NASCAR moments in recent memory.

North Wilkesboro Speedway is now more than just a relic on the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail. It is a track that is alive and well, and it seems like there is a place in the motorsports landscape for North Wilkesboro Speedway.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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