Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:24

LOGANO: Project 'in the works' at North Wilkesboro track

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NASCAR driver Joey Logano stands at the legendary North Wilkesboro Speedway, teasing a "little project." NASCAR driver Joey Logano stands at the legendary North Wilkesboro Speedway, teasing a "little project." Source: Joey Logano's Facebook story

ROCKINGHAM — A NASCAR driver is teasing fans about the future of a former North Carolina race track.


2018 Cup Series Champion Joey Logano posted a photo to his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts on Tuesday standing alongside the pit wall of North Wilkesboro Speedway.

The caption on the photo reads: “Have a little project in the works… stay tuned.”

No other hints were given in the post.

The historic track shares a bond with Rockingham Speedway as they were both bought by Speedway Motorsports Inc. and had their racing dates moved to other SMI tracks while North Wilkesboro and Rockingham were closed.

North Wilkesboro’s last Cup race was in 1996 when Jeff Gordon claimed the checkered flag.

Rockingham — formerly called North Carolina Motor Speedway and North Carolina Speedway — closed after the 2004 race, which saw one of NASCAR’s closest finishes when Matt Kenseth edged out Kasey Kahne by 0.01 seconds.

Rockingham was given a second life after former driver Andy Hillenburg bought it at auction for $4 million in 2007. 

Under Hillenburg’s ownership, Rockingham saw the creation of “Little Rock” — a replica of Martinsville’s half-mile track” — and hosted its last event, a NASCAR truck race, in 2013.

Rockingham Properties, LLC bought the speedway in August of 2018 and racing returned earlier this year, with both a go-kart race and the first of 10 events scheduled for MB Drift.

A CARS Tour race originally slated for March was moved to October.

North Wilkesboro has been dormant for the better part of the past 25 years.

SMI still holds ownership of North Wilkesboro.

According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal dated Jan. 26, 2007, SMI CEO Bruton Smith put a sell price of $12 million on the property. There have been attempts to purchase the speedway over the decades, but no deals have gone through.

Wilkes County tax records currently show the legendary track valued at $1,693,210.

In a 2018 Twitter poll by NASCAR on NBC asking at which historic track fans would rather NASCAR return, Rockingham garnered 50% of the vote and North Wilkesboro came in second with 26%.  The third track in the poll was Nashville Fairgrounds, which received 20%

Logano and other NASCAR drivers participated in an iRacing virtual race at the speedway in 2020 after Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a crew cleaned up the facility for scanning of the surface.

William R. Toler contributed to this story.