May 6, 2024 - News

🏁 NASCAR's effect on 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 in North Wilkesboro. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Gov. Roy 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 speedway is one of the sport's oldest and most iconic venues, hosting popular NASCAR races for decades. Amid financial challenges, it closed in 1996 and fell into disrepair.

  • Yes, but: $18 million for renovations on the historic track was secured in the state budget in 2021.

By the numbers: According to a new study from the governor's office, the 2023 race:

  • Generated $29 million in visitor spending.
  • Created 625 jobs for North Carolinians.
  • Had 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 in Charlotte.

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