North Wilkesboro is transitioning from the iRacing county system to the 2023 NASCAR schedule

I believe collectively, most individuals would argue that there have been a couple of odd years these days. Between the pandemic and the adjoining rise of sim racing esports, those that’ve been within the recreation for some time (for probably the most half) have been completely psyched about all the eye our area of interest has acquired since then.

We have now professional gala’s, digital historic occasions, high stage league appearances, and even some negatives like, nicely, actual world high stage drivers do dangerous issues and make us all look dangerous. However, it has been a principally constructive time for the racing and sim gaming neighborhood, and one platform specifically,, has been using out on the positives these days.

I noticed a tweet some time in the past from Steve Meyers, Govt Vice President of iRacing. It was a couple of dialog he had with iRacing Senior Vice President and Govt Producer Greg Hill. Simply up to now couple of years, and principally since closing, iRacing has been part of many neat initiatives, together with the development of latest venues, reworking and, sadly, some preservation of the now defunct services.

Within the subsequent month or so, NASCAR will as soon as once more recreate the brief course contained in the LA Coliseum for the second time, initially slated and examined on iRacing with the assistance {of professional} eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing drivers. In addition they noticed the fruits of creation from the Atlanta Motor Speedway repave, one other iRacing particular because the observe transitioned into increased banking and ultra-high-speed racing.

Maybe iRacing’s best achievement is about to return in a couple of months when NASCAR returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the primary time since 1996, albeit for the All-Star race within the NASCAR Cup Collection, but additionally for the factors race within the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Collection.

What was presupposed to be only a conservation venture has lastly revived the place, and it began from an investigation introduced by NASCAR Corridor of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It was initially cleaned to be preserved

The North Wilkesboro facility primarily closed in 1996 after the autumn NASCAR Cup Collection occasion, which was received by Jeff Gordon. They’ve change into “misplaced”, a time period for closed or deserted highways, for quite a lot of years.

Whereas the observe was nonetheless used sometimes throughout the late Nineteen Nineties, 2000s and 2010s, the positioning’s constructing infrastructure and grandstands finally declined. The asphalt racing floor turned weedy and cracked and mainly turned unsweatable.

In late 2019, an effort was made to scrub up the observe sufficient to bodily protect it. Now NASCAR Corridor of Fame driver/proprietor and CEO of iRacing, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has organized a clean-up committee to get North Wilkesboro sufficient to enter iRacing and clear the observe.

Speedway Motorsports president Marcus Smith, Earnhardt Jr., Meyers and others took their heavy-duty gardening instruments and started working cleansing up the historic oval. The objective was to select up as a lot trash and particles in order that iRacing’s laser scanners might decide up the suitable space of ​​the racing floor.

Some cracks and potholes apart, digital leisure will principally protect observe situation in 2019 with recreated art work from the late Nineteen Eighties, to coincide with the discharge of the 1987 NASCAR automobiles. Whereas the observe was roughly polished, the world shut down and NASCAR drivers took on the duty of being Grow to be an expert esports racer with the eNASCAR Professional Invitational.

It in all probability wasn’t able to go in Could of 2020, however with the 1987 automobiles anticipated within the subsequent construct and yet one more race left earlier than issues begin to open up once more, iRacing and NASCAR determined to make the Professional Invitational finale personal The place they put Wilkesboro again into the default area. Denny Hamlin took that digital victory as racing resumed in the true world every week later.

A decently used digital house between the oval audio system

Shortly after the observe’s digital occasion wrapped on nationwide tv, iRacing put their recreated model of North Wilkesboro Speedway up on the market for iRacers to personal and race at, forward of the discharge of their 2020 Season 3. Since its launch, North Wilkesboro has been a frequent cease in lots of NASCAR’s official oval collection, particularly the NASCAR Legends Collection with its 1987 automobiles.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Collection made it an All-Star race in 2020, and it concluded in epic trend as Blake Reynolds and Logan Clampitt collided for the win, leading to Graham Pullen’s submission popping out of the ultimate nook.

Some high-level tournaments and collection have additionally used the observe, such because the First In Flight 400 at Podium Esports, which Michael P Frisch received once more in 2020.

Though there aren’t plenty of huge occasions or periods hosted on the venue anymore, it is nonetheless a decently used venue, seeing over 500 iRacers on the 1987 venue stopping by to run official races on the observe when it is on the calendar.

And that was the true imaginative and prescient at first, to maintain the observe digital for sim racers to take pleasure in whereas the real-world freeway lay idle. Nonetheless, after an uptick in curiosity following screening combined with a number of recognized efforts to revive the speedway, actual world racing returned this previous summer season.


Throughout the summer season of 2022, North Wilkesboro will probably be revitalized with a racetrack revitalization program, dusting off the present floor of a number of racing lessons, headlined by a CARS Tour Late Mannequin occasion that can embody Dale Earnhardt Jr. within the area.

With the successes from the revival weekend’s races and the rising curiosity in Earnhardt Jr.’s experience, in addition to authorities cash being earmarked for the revitalization venture, NASCAR jumped in and introduced its aspirations to get again on the observe shortly after the occasion.

It was initially deliberate to be ripped up and used as a dust observe after the revival races, which have been placed on maintain as NASCAR introduced a return to Wilkesboro on September eighth. The observe will see infrastructure upgrades throughout the fall, winter, and spring months main as much as the large day, together with the introduction of SAFER partitions across the outdoors of the observe, grandstands, and inside buildings.

It is again for sim racers, however now it is again for actual world racers too. It would not have been doable if iRacing hadn’t stepped in and introduced some curiosity again to Wilkes County in 2019.

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