After a 13 year absence, race cars will once again be battling around the 5/8 mile track in the foothills of North Carolina. After losing its race dates to New Hampshire and Texas, the track has sat dormant. Fortunately for race fans, that will not be the case this coming weekend. A gentleman from Georgia has signed a three month lease to put on a race show at the historic race track. There will be a late model and super late model race that should draw quite a few fans back to the old circuit.
Charles Collins is a contractor from Georgia who now lives in North Wilkesboro. He has built shopping malls and other structures and is now interested in bringing racing back to the famous speedway. Collins plans to build a resort that will include a amusement park, a water park, condos and other things along with the race track. He is currently putting in new restrooms that will be supplemented by portable restrooms if they are not completed in time for the races this weekend.
He intended to put sealer on the track but the Goodyear engineers told him that he only needed to get rubber on the track and it will be fine. The catch fence and walls are in fine shape, as well as the bleachers. They are aluminum bleachers and are in just as good of shape now as they were when the last race was run in 1996.
Collins is planning on running a late model 100 lap race and a super late model 200 lap race. He had originally planned on having a tractor pull but the company that ran the events notified him that the competitors were going to another event, so he decided to have the races. While the races compete with all of the other series that run in the area and the local tracks, Collins feels that there are a lot of drivers who are picking and choosing races to run this year rather than running for track championships. Since this is North Wilkesboro and the purses are significant, he feels he’ll be able to secure at least 20 cars in each race. They have already received calls from drivers in the local area and other areas near the track that are very anxious to compete.
At a press conference in the media center at Charlotte this weekend, Bruton Smith did not know that there was going to be racing at North Wilkesboro. However, his son and president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway Marcus Smith, confirmed that there is a lease and that racing is going to take place.
Fans of NASCAR, and racing in general, should do their best to get out to North Wilkesboro next weekend and see a sight that has not happened in 13 years: Race cars making purposeful laps around the old track that saw Jeff Gordon win the last race there in 1996.
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