Joey Logano, William Byron and Ty Gibbs got a look at the brand new asphalt on North Wilkesboro Speedway Wednesday, as they participated in a Goodyear Tire Test leading into the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 19.

Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford, Byron’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Gibbs’ No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota shook down the 0.625-mile track and tried different tire compounds to test tire wear and grip around Wilkesboro’s fresh, new surface. 

Completed last November, the resurfacing process included milling approximately two inches of the old track, repairing failing spots, sealing and adding a specially designed asphalt mixture in the same configuration as the original track, including the 13 degrees of banking in the corners. Similar to the process used for the most recent Atlanta Motor Speedway repave, Speedway Motorsports used a special mix that is expected to age faster than traditional asphalt, creating a more “worn-in” surface more quickly.  Carl Rose & Sons Asphalt, the original paving contractor for North Wilkesboro Speedway, supplied nearly 2,000 tons of specialty asphalt for the project, while North Carolina-based Delta Contracting managed the milling process. Summers Taylor, a contractor from nearby Johnson City, Tennessee, used a process called echelon paving to lay a seamless surface across the roughly 50-foot-wide track.

Select quotes from today’s test:

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 TEAM PENSKE FORD: “They did a good job, there’s still some character, it’s still a unique shaped race track, which is all good. There’s a pretty big bump down in turn one, I think where the wall was out too long and they cut it, and it’s kind of an interesting area. There’s a huge bump leaving four, which really kind of upsets the cars. I don’t think that’s bad. I’m OK with that. That’s something that made this racetrack so cool in the past, was that it had a lot of character, it was bumpy, you were forced to move around on it because it was challenging. You can make the thing like glass, I don’t know if that really makes the racing better. I think the fact that it’s got a couple of bumps and some areas where your drivers can make mistakes and jump out of the groove and do different things is just going to promote passing so that’s a good thing.”

“I mean this place is cool. I remember coming here, I guess it was five or six years ago, when it was shut down and we shot a couple videos here and it was a ghost town. Graffiti everywhere, there was weeds growing through the race track. It was crazy. It was like the world ended and nobody had been here since the last race. You walked in the infield care center, which was… right here, there were stretchers in here still. It was kind of creepy. It was kind of crazy to see all that and what Marcus and SMI have done I think to restore the race track, but keep the feel, they did a tremendous job. I know they had to repave, I think every driver doesn’t ever want to see a repave, but it was coming apart. You got to do something, we patched it, we got through last year. I don’t think you can get lucky that many times before you just got to bite the bullet and do it. I do think when you come up here it’s just a, I don’t know, it’s a different vibe than any other race track you go to. When you pull up to it, it’s just cool, and where you’re at, you’re in the mountains, and it’s a unique facility. I think last year the fans showed up and appreciated it and thought it was really cool and I would expect this year you’re probably going to have a similar crowd and hopefully we’re able to deliver again and keep that hype.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET: “We just needed to work on the balance and grip of our car and I felt like the track probably was coming in as well, even though the trucks were out there (yesterday), the different rubber that we have probably took a little bit to transition for our cars. And then just started doing those tire runs and felt pretty good about our car and thought we made some improvements through probably the middle of the day, eleven-thirty to one, and then just kind of stuck with that. Made a lot of progress through the afternoon so I thought it was probably one of our best test days of just progress and being able to just get to a spot where I felt like we were a lot better than where we started.”

“I would say that if it was a mile-and-a-half track, I think it being a short track it would probably be a lot like Richmond was when they repaved it, so I don’t know, I vividly have seen some of those races and I feel like it was pretty treacherous, a lot of guys would get in crashes or there would be a lot of restart wrecks, so I think the racing could actually be pretty exciting with a repave on a short track, but yeah you won’t have the style of comers and goers I don’t think. The guys who are up toward the front will be racing hard and there’s probably just going to be more wrecks.”

“I’ll be here, I’m excited. I’m excited that we’re in the race. You never take that for granted, right? You have to win to be in this race. As a driver that’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you win the first race of the year, is ‘great, you know, I’m in the All-Star Race.’ It’s an honor to be in the race and is something you want to win. It’s a big, it’s not a crown jewel, but it’s a big race to have on your resume.”

TY GIBBS, NO. 54 JOE GIBBS RACING TOYOTA: “The track is definitely a lot different with the repave, but I feel like they did a really great job with the repave. I’ve been to a lot of repaves and this is probably one of the best ones I’ve been to. And the way that they did it, they did a really great job. Just normal stuff for when we first come in here with the new repaves. It’s kind of a one-lane groove until it gets worn in. Testing, it’s really hard to get a good race feel for it, but I know that it’s gonna be pretty cool and we’ll see what happens.”

“For sure, it definitely has taken some rubber. You can visually go out there and look at it, right? You can look at how different the line looks. It’s definitely a lot better, I don’t know a lot better, I’m fine with racing the old way or the new way. You just look at the track, and you can just look at it. It’s not all, it doesn’t look like a puzzle. There are some tracks on the schedule that they did repaves at, that it just looks like a mess out there. They did such a great job here. Kudos to them.” 

“It’s really cool, of course, I wasn’t really alive when this place was rolling, rolling steam, so it’s cool to come back and check it out. I came here probably 2017 when it didn’t have anything going on so to see how much it has progressed is really cool. They did a great job with this track. It’s cool to be racing here, I really respect it and it’s cool.”

NASCAR All-Star Race week will include five days or nights of entertainment at North Wilkesboro Speedway including:

  • Tuesday, May 14: zMAX CARS Tour
  • Wednesday, May 15: zMAX CARS Tour
  • Friday, May 17:  All-Star Friday presented by Raymer Oil NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck and Cup Series practice; the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear; Neal McCoy concert
  • Saturday, May 18: NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series qualifying and Wright Brand 250; NASCAR Cup Series qualifying heat races
  • Sunday, May 19: Warren Zeiders pre-race concert; NASCAR All-Star Open and NASCAR All-Star Race 

Schedules are tentative and subject to change. Specific on-track schedules will be released at a later date.

TICKETS:
Ticket packages can be purchased online by visiting www.northwilkesborospeedway.com. Fans who purchase a five-day, NASCAR All-Star Race week ticket package including all NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and zMAX CARS Tour races, qualifying and practice sessions plus Neal McCoy and Warren Zeiders concerts and the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear before April 1 will receive a free, limited edition 1/24-scale Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 3 zMAX CARS Tour diecast.

MORE INFO:
Fans can connect with North Wilkesboro Speedway and get the latest news regarding NASCAR All-Star week and North Wilkesboro Speedway by following on X and Instagram or becoming a Facebook fan.

SMLLC PR