NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — North Wilkesboro Speedway, a monument in the history of motorsports, is coming back to the NASCAR scene in a big way.

As has been previously reported, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race will be taking place at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

The announcement was a full-circle moment for North Wilkesboro Speedway and local residents. The track finally announced its long-awaited return to racing in November 2021.

The official dates for a return to racing at North Wilkesboro were announced in April. Although several alterations would ultimately be made to that initial plan.

Despite laying dormant for over 25 years, with the expectation of a few stock car races in 2010, the region’s passion for racing and the historic venue never vanished.

“The historical value of this track is we have always been told that this track was the first track ever sanctioned by NASCAR. Not the first track, but the first track ever sanctioned by NASCAR and that’s a big component right there. Well, how do you tear down history?”

Terri Parsons, wife of late NASCAR legend Benny Parsons

A sellout crowd was in attendance on August 31 to watch North Carolina racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr, race in the CARS Tour Window World 125, the first race to take place since those 2010 stock car races.

Now, the revitalization of North Wilkesboro Speedway is going one step further with today’s official announcement that the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race will take place at the historic track.

“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 Governor Roy Cooper. “North Wilkesboro Speedway is back and better than ever, and the All-Star Race will take it to new heights.”

Gov. Cooper adorned a custom vintage North Wilkesboro Speedway racing jacket while making the announcement.

Gov. Roy Cooper during Thursday’s announcement

“The NASCAR All-Star Race has always been the fans’ race, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the fans during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary than returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “We couldn’t have made this happen without tremendous support from so many people including Gov. Cooper, our state legislature, NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and of course, the people of Wilkes County. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got the will to create something special alongside a community and hard-working staff that will get it done.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr, has been among the largest and most vocal supporters of the revitalization of North Wilkesboro Speedway, citing the childhood memories that many people from this region cherish as his reason why.

“Some of my best memories as a little boy were going to North Wilkesboro,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “And it got even better when I raced there as a teenager. I never thought I’d see that place full again, and then I got to race there this summer in a late model before a full house. There’s just something special about it. I know the track, the fans, and the community will put on a show when we’re back with the Cup cars for the All-Star race.”

NASCAR itself would eventually say the words racing fans have been longing to hear, making the company’s first event at North Wilkesboro since Jeff Gordon’s win at the 1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400 official.

“North Wilkesboro Speedway boasts a winners list that features the true giants of our sport, and next year, another great will be added as the NASCAR Cup Series stars once again race at this historic facility,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief operating officer. “As part of our 75th anniversary season, we’re are excited to return to the roots of the sport for the NASCAR All-Star Race. This will be a can’t-miss event as we honor our past and look forward to the future.”

The 2023 All-Star Race will be held on May 21, 2023, ahead of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2023.