North Wilkesboro Speedway
Facility statistics
Location North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Broke ground
Opened May 5 1947
Owner Bob Bahre/Bruton Smith
Operator closed
Construction cost
Former names
Major events
No Major Events
Seating capacity
Current dimensions
Track shape Oval
Track length 0.625 miles
Track banking Turns - 14 degrees
Straights - ? degrees
North Wilkesboro Speedway was a short track which held races in NASCAR's top 3 series' from NASCAR's inception in 1949 until its closure in 1996.


The track is situated in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It measures 5/8ths of a mile, or 0.625 miles around. One area of interest was the uphill/downhill effect of the straightaways – the backstretch is banked slightly upward, the frontstretch banked slightly down.

Memorable momentsEdit

  • One year Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace drove side-by-side for around 10 straight laps for the lead. The track was generally always a single groove track.
  • The Wilkes 400 in 1972 featured Bobby Allison against Richard Petty in a 39 lap slugfest. The lead changed thirteen times. In the final five laps, Petty was held up by a slower car. Both drivers plowed into the fences, guardrails, and each other. Both continued at full speed. Allison led with one lap to go, but Petty passed him for the win.
  • Allison came back for the win in the 1973 Wilkes 400 by passing Petty for the win on the final lap.
  • In the late 1970s, Cale Yarborough dominated the track. Cale blew up a tire, but made up three laps in the fall 1978 race to win easily.
  • In 1979 Bobby Allison led most of the race. In the final 150 laps Darrell Waltrip caught Allison. The two hit together hard and Darrell nailed the front stretch wall. Waltrip began crowding off Allison under the caution and got black flagged for the crowding. Benny Parsons won the race
  • In the fall 1988 race, Dale Earnhardt led nearly half the race until Ricky Rudd caught him. The drivers banged fenders for the final 41 laps. They were both black flagged to the rear of the field and pounded together again with five to go. Rusty Wallace passed Geoff Bodine with ten laps left. Bodine struck Wallace's car at the start of the final lap. Wallace pushed Bodine sideways, and Wallace crossed the finish line for the win.
  • In the Fall 1989 race, Dale Earnhardt led 343 laps, but a caution set up a two lap showdown with Ricky Rudd. Rudd went side-by-side with Earnhardt. The two spun, and Geoff Bodine passed the two for the win.
  • Brett Bodine led most of the spring 1990 race. During a caution the pace car picked up the wrong leader, which gave Bodine a lap lead. Bodine put on a set of tires before the error was corrected. He held off Darrell Waltrip for his only career Winston Cup win.

Track bought out and closedEdit

The track was bought out in 1996 by Bob Bahre and O. Bruton Smith, who gave the track's race dates to New Hampshire International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway respectively. Since the sale to Bahre and Smith, there have been gestures to buy the track and re-open it by, among others, local native Junior Johnson. However, no deals have yet materialized. The last race was held there in September 1996, and there are currently no plans to re-open it to any form of racing.


The track will hold 4 races in 2010. The races are: September 5, 2010 - PASS Super Late Model Labor Day Classic(200 Laps), October 3, 2010 - USARacing Pro Cup Series(250 Laps), Fall 2010 ASA Late Model Series King's Ramson 300(300 laps), and the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals.


  • Current car owner Jack Roush of Roush Racing held round one of "Roush's Race For The Ride" at North Wilkesboro Speedway, a competition to find the next Roush Racing development driver.
  • Richard Petty's fifteen wins were the most in the history of the track.

External linksEdit

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