May 5, 2024 - News

Examining a speedway's economic boost

North Wilkesboro

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Busch Light Ford, during the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21, 2023. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Gov. Cooper is touting the economic benefits the state is seeing from the North Wilkesboro Speedway, which will host the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race on May 19.

Context: Built in 1947, the North Wilkesboro Speedway is one of the sport's oldest and most iconic venues, hosting popular NASCAR races for decades. Amid financial challenges, the track closed in 1996 and fell into disrepair.

  • The North Carolina budget set aside $18 million for renovations to the historic track in 2021.
  • In 2023, the track hosted the NASCAR All-Star Race, an event attended by about 39,000 fans, according to the governor's office.

By the numbers: According to a new study from the governor's office, the 2023 race had the following effect on North Carolina's economy:

  • $29 million generated in visitor spending.
  • 625 jobs created for North Carolinians.
  • A statewide economic impact of $42.4 million.

The intrigue: North Carolina has been historically reticent to spend state money on sports facilities. In 2013, for instance, state lawmakers declined to help then-owner Jerry Richardson pay for upgrades at Bank of America Stadium.

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