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Elliott: Regular Stop at Wilkesboro ‘A Good Thing’


Chase Elliott during NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race practice at North Wilkesboro Speedway. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — For the second year in a row, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway for its annual All-Star Race. The winner: a $1 million payday and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with it.

But more than anything, it’s the prestige of racing at a track containing memories from legends like Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. A regular visit to the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and moonshine country. For now, it’s not going away, either.

NASCAR announced this week that the Cup Series will return to NWBS in 2025, making it a third straight year with a race at the .625-mile oval.

At least for Chase Elliott, he’s on board.

“I think it’s a good thing. This place has been around for a long time. It’s kind of in the heart of ‘NASCAR land’, with Charlotte being right down road and all that stuff,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said, speaking in a press conference Friday. “I was excited to see that NASCAR or whoever spent a bunch of money to repave the place because that just told me that it was going to be around for a while, and they made that commitment pretty quickly. Yeah, I think it’s all positive. The fan turnout was great last year, and I hope that continues.

“I’ve seen a couple times in my career where we’ll have something new; it’ll go really good the first time and then it won’t after that. So, I just hope that this continues to be a positive event because it was last year, and I think that led to the money being spent on the racetrack, the resurface and all that stuff. Seemingly, it’s sticking around, so I hope the fans’ support and excitement continues now that the racetrack got the support that it needed to live on.”

After an attempt to revive NWBS in the early 2010s, a group spearheaded by Dale Earnhardt Jr. began a successful revival in spring 2022. The CARS Tour debuted on the track’s original asphalt that summer before NASCAR came to town in spring 2023, running the All-Star race and bringing the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for a points race.

As Speedway Motorsports continued to improve the facilities, the track underwent a repave over the off-season. So, fresh asphalt awaits the Cup Series on Sunday evening.


Chase Elliott during NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race practice at North Wilkesboro Speedway. (Photo: Ricky Martinez | The Podium Finish)

“Just money… They have the money to spend and the resources to support it like it needs to be supported,” Elliott said when asked about how NWBS completed its revival. “Nowadays, asphalt racetracks across the country that aren’t affiliated with NASCAR, ISC, SMI or whatever you want to call them, struggle. They just do and I hate to say that, but a lot of them do. This place needed NASCAR’s involvement to become what it once was.”

But as the Next Gen car continues to struggle on short tracks, it leaves NASCAR with a hypothetical question: continue to tweak the package, or consider adding more intermediates?

“I think we just need to be careful not to do that and put enough emphasis and importance into making our short-track package better because we do have great short tracks around the country that we can lean into and race at,” Elliott said. “We just need to make our cars structured into a position that we can put on better shows, and I think we can do that. There’s no reason why we can’t. We’ve had it before, so why can’t we recreate that moving forward?

“I don’t think they’re taking [short tracks] away, but I would hate to see a movement away from that, just because it’s an important part of our sport.”

Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Open is set for 5:30 p.m. ET with the All-Star race following at 8 p.m. on FS1. Kyle Larson dominated and won last year’s race, but will have to start from the rear due to missing on-track activities for his Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt.


Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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