Study Finds Significant Economic Impact for North Carolina Generated by 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Today, in advance of the 2024 NASCAR All Star Race, North Carolinians got a glimpse of the economic impact provided by last year’s event. Governor Roy Cooper announced a new report from the NC Department of Commerce showing the impact of hosting the 2023 NASCAR All Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The event:

  • Created 625 jobs for North Carolinians
  • Increased the value of the statewide economy by $42.4 million
  • Increased statewide labor income by $27.9 million
  • Led to over $20 million in direct construction and infrastructure investment in Wilkes County
  • Generated nearly $29 million in visitor spending

“When we made the bipartisan decision to invest federal relief funds from the Biden Administration to renovate speedways, we knew it would put money in the pockets of North Carolina families. The data is in and we were right that bringing NASCAR racing back to North Wilkesboro not only brings back a great sport, but tens of millions of dollars and good jobs for North Carolinians,” said Governor Cooper.

“Grants from our Motorsports Relief Fund have turbocharged tourism, from places like the North Wilkesboro Speedway to racing venues all across the state,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Small businesses in each of these communities benefit from this investment in one of North Carolina’s most important economic engines.”

“In 2023, North Wilkesboro Speedway hosted race fans from all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven foreign countries as far away as Australia during NASCAR All-Star Race weekend,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “We’re very grateful for the financial and community support both from the state and local levels that enabled us to modernize the facility while still maintaining its historic character. This is a place where history continues to be made and fans can continue to be a part of it. We look forward to hosting race fans again in two weeks for the 40th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race.”

In his 2021 budget proposal, Governor Cooper included funds to revitalize speedways across North Carolina. In November 2021, the Governor signed the state budget that included these funds. The budget allocated American Rescue Plan funding to speedways across the state, with North Wilkesboro Speedway receiving $18 million. The funding went toward new safety barriers, lighting, paving, fencing, roofing, internet, the public address system and HVAC and electrical equipment, as well as refurbished bathrooms and concession areas. These upgrades were critical to the decision that the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race would be held at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

In May 2022, Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Commerce announced that 15 local governments were awarded $45.8 million to help 17 motorsports venues recover from the pandemic. The money was used for public infrastructure and facility upgrades to the speedways. The grants enhanced local tourism, travel and hospitality industries that benefit from the many motorsports events held in North Carolina.

Legendary North Wilkesboro Speedway is one of the first NASCAR tracks. The final NASCAR Cup Series race at North Wilkesboro was held in 1996 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. The track sat largely abandoned, but in recent years, the community made significant efforts to revitalize the track.

In May 2022, Governor Cooper visited the North Wilkesboro Speedway to highlight the significant investments it is receiving for repairs from the state budget. Racing officially returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway on August 31, 2022 for the Window World 125 race, where fans sold out the stadium. The 2023 NASCAR All Star Race returned to North Wilkesboro on May of 2023, in front of a packed crowd of 39,000.

The 2024 NASCAR All Star Race will return to North Wilkesboro on May 19.

Read the Report from the Department of Commerce Here.

NC Gov Office PR