- Media were invited to the speedway Tuesday to view the first repave at the legendary North Wilkesboro Speedway since 1981
- The resurfacing process, which included milling, sealing and replacing the existing surface with 2,000 tons of a specially designed asphalt mixture, came in preparation for NASCAR’s return for the 2024 All-Star Race week
NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (Nov. 7, 2023) – As the 2023 NASCAR season came to a close in Phoenix last weekend, crews were already hard at work preparing for an action-packed week of racing at the famed North Wilkesboro Speedway for next year’s NASCAR All-Star Race, including resurfacing the 42-year-old track surface.
North Wilkesboro Speedway, which welcomed NASCAR racing back to the North Carolina foothills for the first time since 1996 when it hosted the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race in May, hadn’t been repaved since 1981. The resurfacing process included milling approximately two inches of the old track, repairing failing spots, sealing and adding a specially designed asphalt mixture in the same configuration as the original track, including the 13 degrees of banking in the corners.
“There’s not a racetrack that I’m aware of other than North Wilkesboro Speedway that ran on a 40-year-old surface,” said Steve Swift, senior vice president of operations and development for Speedway Motorsports. “That’s a tribute to the asphalt that they used back in the 80s. That was a really good product. There’s not many new tracks that have been placed since the 90s that will last 30 years.
“We were really deferential to try to maintain the character that was here before. Naturally the old track was a unique creature. The patch materials that we had to use kind of changed the racing for the All-Star Race, just because of where we had to patch it. The product created so much grip, so it’s going to be pretty exciting to see how it goes back to where it was pre-patching, where they were racing two-wide and three-wide. Now the track has got the same grip all the way across.”
Similar to the process used at the Atlanta Motor Speedway repave, Swift said Speedway Motorsports used a special mix that is expected to age faster than traditional asphalt, creating a more “worn-in” surface more quickly. A more worn surface traditionally leads to better racing, according to Swift. At Atlanta Motor Speedway, the track saw an eight to 10 percent falloff in grip in the first year after the repave.
Carl Rose & Sons Asphalt, the original paving contractor for North Wilkesboro Speedway, supplied nearly 2,000 tons of specialty asphalt for the project, while North Carolina-based Delta Contracting managed the milling process. Summers Taylor, a contractor from nearby Johnson City, Tenn., used a process called echelon paving to lay a seamless surface across the roughly 50-foot-wide track.
As a result of innovative improvements made during the refurbishment ahead of this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race, including a concrete foundation beneath the newly added safer barrier, the barrier was not be removed for the resurfacing project, allowing crews to complete the work in less than two weeks.
Through Speedway Children’s Charities, portions of the previous track surface will be available as a keepsake for fans. Jars of the milled aggregate will be available for sale for $60. For $75, fans can collect a limited-edition, numbered jar. Each jar will come with a certificate of authenticity. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Wilkes County nonprofits through Speedway Children’s Charities. Jars will be pre-sold online, with availability expected in early 2024. For additional information about the keepsake jars, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.
NASCAR’s best will turn their first laps on the all-new surface ahead of the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race, May 17-19. Tickets for the NASCAR All-Star Race and the companion CARS Tour event are on sale now at www.NorthWilkesboroSpeedway.com. Additional details on the schedule, format and entertainment announcements will come at a later date.
NASCAR All-Star Race weekend ticket packages for all May 17-19 activities including NASCAR Cup and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series practice and qualifying sessions; NASCAR All-Star Open; NASCAR All-Star Race and Tyson 250 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race are on sale, as are tickets for back-to-back nights of CARS Tour action, May 14-15. Tickets can be purchased online at www.NorthWilkesboroSpeedway.com.