Repave under way of iconic North Wilkesboro Speedway

The historical .625-mile short track garnered high praise after hosting NASCAR competition in May for the first time since 1996, featuring a Truck Series race and the NASCAR All-Star Race.

The successful return of NASCAR races to this track was the result of an extensive and challenging process that involved convincing state and local government officials by Speedway Motorsports, as well as an $18 million investment from the N.C. state government for infrastructure improvements.

This long-awaited revival took place on the same surface the track featured when it originally closed its gates nearly 30 years ago.

This transformation commenced with Speedway Motorsports initiating a repaving process aimed at restoring the track, involving the milling of approximately two inches of the old track, repairing failing spots, and adding a specially designed asphalt mixture in the same configuration as the original track, including the 13 degrees of banking in the corners.

Photo by: Speedway Motorsports

Repaving of North Wilkesboro Speedway

“There’s no other race track, apart from North Wilkesboro Speedway, that used a 40-year-old surface,” said Steve Swift, Speedway Motorsports’ senior vice president of operations and development. “That’s a testament to the durability of the asphalt they used back in the 80s. There are very few modern tracks built since the 90s that can last 30 years.”

“We made every effort to preserve the unique character of the old track. The old track was truly special. The patch materials we had to use altered the racing dynamics for the All-Star Race due to the areas we had to patch.”

“The new surface offers exceptional grip, so it will be exciting to witness the return to the pre-patching conditions, where drivers raced two-wide and three-wide. The track now offers consistent grip throughout.”

Similar to the process used at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Speedway Motorsports employed a special mix that is expected to age faster than traditional asphalt, resulting in a more “worn-in” surface.

According to Swift, Atlanta saw an eight to 10 percent decrease in grip in the first year after the repave.

Repaving of North Wilkesboro Speedway

Photo by: Speedway Motorsports

Repaving of North Wilkesboro Speedway

Carl Rose & Sons Asphalt, the original paving contractor for the track, supplied nearly 2,000 tons of specialty asphalt for the project, while N.C.-based Delta Contracting managed the milling process.

With innovative improvements made ahead of the All-Star Race, including a concrete foundation beneath the newly added safer barrier, the barrier remained intact for the resurfacing project, enabling crews to complete the work in less than two weeks.

The track is set to host the All-Star Race in 2024, alongside a Truck race during the May 17-19 race weekend.

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