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The NASCAR Cup Series is returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Officials made the move official Thursday during an announcement at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Speedway officials, along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, were on hand to confirm that the track would host the Cup Series All-Star race in 2023.
It’s set to be the first NASCAR race at the historic venue since 1996, when Jeff Gordon won the Tyson Holly Farms 400.
North Wilkesboro last hosted NASCAR in 1996
Speedway Motorsports, which owns the track, revived it earlier this year and has since hosted several races.
Earnhardt Jr., who has long been at the forefront of bringing the speedway back to life, recently finished third in a Late Model event at the venue.
Earlier this week, North Wilkesboro officials canceled a planned dirt track race at the speedway in October.
Reportedly, officials recently determined the current 0.625-mile asphalt surface is suitable to host NASCAR national series events and green-lit next year’s return.
Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports President, hinted at a possible Truck Series race at the venue earlier this year.
Clearly, those plans have changed in recent weeks, with the sanctioning body deciding to bring NASCAR’s highest series back to the iconic track next season.
— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) September 7, 2022
Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt dominated North Wilkesboro
North Wilkesboro first hosted a NASCAR race back in 1949. Richard Petty won 15 times at the historic track, while Dale Earnhardt Sr. won five times.
For the past two seasons, the Cup Series All-Star race has taken place at Texas Motor Speedway.
The race was held at Bristol during the COVID-plagued 2020 season, but spent the majority of its first 40 years at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Ryan Blaney won the annual exhibition race earlier this year, taking home the $1 million prize.