Uncovering the Mysterious Ownership of Wilkesboro Speedway

Wilkesboro Speedway has been a fixture in the racing community since 1947, when it first opened its doors to the public. Despite its long history, however, many questions remain about the ownership of this beloved track.

Over the years, several individuals and organizations have been rumored to own Wilkesboro Speedway, but the truth remains elusive. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of the track and explore the various ownership rumors that have circulated over the years, as well as examine the impact of the track on the local community. Join us as we attempt to uncover the mysterious ownership of Wilkesboro Speedway.

The History of Wilkesboro Speedway

Wilkesboro Speedway has a rich history that spans over 70 years. It was first established in 1947 by Enoch Staley, a local entrepreneur and racing enthusiast. The track quickly became popular among fans and drivers alike, and over the years, it has hosted a variety of racing events, from stock cars to motorcycles to drag racing.

Throughout its history, Wilkesboro Speedway has undergone many changes. In the early years, the track was made of dirt and had a unique shape, with one end wider than the other. In the 1950s, the track was paved, and in the 1970s, it was expanded to its current size of 0.625 miles. In the 1990s, the track underwent a major renovation, including the addition of a new grandstand and press box.

Early Years

  • Wilkesboro Speedway was first established in 1947 by Enoch Staley.
  • The track was originally made of dirt and had a unique shape.
  • The first race held at Wilkesboro Speedway was a 150-mile event won by Fonty Flock.

Recent Years

In the 1990s, Wilkesboro Speedway underwent a major renovation that included the addition of a new grandstand and press box. Despite these changes, the track struggled to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of motorsports. In 1996, the track lost its NASCAR Cup Series race, and it closed for several years before reopening in 2010.

  • In 2010, Wilkesboro Speedway reopened under new ownership.
  • The track now hosts a variety of events, including stock car racing and concerts.
  • Wilkesboro Speedway remains a beloved institution in the local community and a must-visit destination for racing fans.

The Impact on the Community

Wilkesboro Speedway has had a profound impact on the local community throughout its history. Not only has it brought visitors and revenue to the area, but it has also been a source of pride and identity for many people. The track has helped to create a sense of community among racing fans and has inspired many young drivers to pursue their dreams.

Despite its ups and downs over the years, Wilkesboro Speedway remains an important part of the community and a symbol of the enduring passion and spirit of racing.

The Importance of Local Racetracks

Local racetracks are often the backbone of the racing community, providing a place for amateur and professional drivers alike to hone their skills and compete in front of a live audience. While big-name tracks may attract the most attention, it is the smaller tracks that provide the foundation for the sport.

These local tracks often rely on community support to keep their doors open, and their success can have a ripple effect on the local economy. The money spent by fans and participants at the track can benefit nearby businesses, and successful tracks can even attract tourism to the area. But beyond the economic impact, local tracks also serve as a gathering place for racing enthusiasts, creating a sense of community and camaraderie among fans and drivers alike.

Supporting Amateur Racers

Local tracks offer amateur racers the opportunity to get their start in the sport, providing a lower-cost alternative to big-name tracks. These drivers often don’t have the budget to compete at the professional level, but the local tracks allow them to race against other drivers in their area and gain valuable experience. This can also serve as a stepping stone for drivers looking to move up to bigger tracks and more competitive racing.

Keeping the Racing Tradition Alive

Local tracks often have a rich history in their community, with many of them having been around for decades. By continuing to support these tracks, fans and drivers alike can help preserve the history and tradition of racing in their area. These tracks can also serve as a link between generations, with younger drivers learning from and racing alongside more experienced veterans.

Supporting the Local Economy

  • Local tracks can bring in revenue for nearby businesses, as fans and participants often spend money on food, lodging, and other necessities while in the area.
  • The success of a local track can also attract tourism to the area, further benefiting the local economy.
  • Additionally, local tracks often employ people from the community, providing jobs and income for local residents.

In conclusion, local racetracks play a vital role in the racing community, providing a place for drivers to compete and fans to come together. Supporting these tracks not only preserves the history and tradition of the sport, but can also benefit the local economy and community as a whole.

The Economic Impact of Raceways in Small Towns

Raceways are a staple in many small towns, providing entertainment and excitement for locals and visitors alike. But beyond the thrill of the race, raceways also play an important role in the economy of these communities. From job creation to tourism, the economic impact of raceways in small towns is significant.

One of the biggest benefits of raceways is the jobs they create. From drivers and pit crews to concession stand workers and security personnel, raceways provide employment opportunities for local residents. In addition, raceways often require the services of local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and car repair shops, further boosting the local economy.


Tourism is another major economic benefit of raceways in small towns. People from all over the country, and even the world, travel to attend races at their favorite tracks. This influx of visitors can provide a significant boost to the local economy, as they patronize local businesses and support the tourism industry in the area. In addition, many raceways offer guided tours and other experiences that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers, providing even more opportunities for economic growth.


Another way that raceways contribute to the local economy is through sponsorships. Many businesses and corporations sponsor races and individual drivers, providing financial support and increasing visibility for both the raceway and the sponsor. This type of partnership can be mutually beneficial, as it allows businesses to reach a wider audience and raceways to secure additional funding for events and infrastructure improvements.

Challenges Faced by Wilkesboro Speedway

Wilkesboro Speedway has had its share of challenges over the years. One of the main challenges faced by the speedway is declining attendance. With the rise of other forms of entertainment and the high cost of maintaining a raceway, it has become increasingly difficult to attract fans to the races. In addition, the speedway has also faced financial difficulties due to the cost of maintaining the facility and the declining revenue from ticket sales and sponsorships.

Despite these challenges, the management of Wilkesboro Speedway has been working hard to keep the speedway running and to attract more fans to the races. They have implemented a number of strategies to address the challenges they face, including reducing costs and improving the overall fan experience.

Reducing Costs

  • One of the ways that the management of Wilkesboro Speedway has addressed the financial challenges is by cutting costs wherever possible. This has included reducing staff, cutting back on the number of races, and finding more cost-effective ways to maintain the facility.
  • They have also worked to attract more sponsors and increase revenue through advertising and merchandise sales.

Improving Fan Experience

The management of Wilkesboro Speedway has recognized the importance of providing a great fan experience to attract and retain fans. They have taken steps to improve the overall experience for fans, including:

  1. Offering more amenities such as improved seating, better concessions, and more parking.
  2. Hosting special events and promotions to attract more fans, such as concerts and autograph sessions with drivers.
  3. Providing more accessibility to the speedway for fans with disabilities and families with young children.

Despite the challenges faced by Wilkesboro Speedway, the management remains committed to providing a great experience for fans and keeping the speedway running for years to come.

The Future of Local Racetracks

Local Racetracks, Motorsports, and Community

The future of local racetracks is uncertain. As local racetracks face new challenges in terms of declining attendance and rising costs, the question of their future viability is increasingly relevant. The importance of local racetracks extends beyond the realm of motorsports, with racetracks often serving as a central hub for their surrounding communities. Racetracks offer a unique opportunity for communities to come together and support a shared passion, which is why it is crucial to explore potential solutions to help local racetracks thrive.

Technology, Sustainability, and Innovation

The future of local racetracks will undoubtedly involve a greater focus on technology, sustainability, and innovation. As new technologies emerge, local racetracks will need to adapt to stay relevant and attract new audiences. From hybrid engines to electric vehicles, the future of motorsports is becoming increasingly focused on sustainability. Racetracks will need to embrace this trend, incorporating eco-friendly practices into their operations to attract environmentally conscious audiences. Innovation will also play a crucial role in the future of local racetracks, with racetracks that offer unique experiences and events likely to be the most successful.

Challenges Facing Local Racetracks

  • Rising costs of operation, maintenance, and safety regulations
  • Declining attendance and ticket sales
  • Competition from other forms of entertainment and sporting events

Potential Solutions for the Future

  1. Offering unique experiences and events that go beyond traditional racing
  2. Investing in technology and sustainability initiatives
  3. Partnering with local businesses and organizations to build community support

Preserving the Legacy of Wilkesboro Speedway

The Wilkesboro Speedway is a historic racetrack that has played a significant role in the sport of racing for many years. With a rich history and strong connection to the community, it is important to preserve this legacy for future generations. However, as with many historic sites, there are challenges that come with maintaining and preserving the Wilkesboro Speedway.

One of the major challenges is the financial aspect of preserving the speedway. As with any historic site, there are costs associated with maintaining and repairing the facility. Additionally, there is the cost of promoting and marketing the speedway to attract visitors and generate revenue. These costs can be a significant burden for local organizations and community groups that are responsible for preserving the speedway.

Preserving the Speedway for Future Generations

Preserving the Wilkesboro Speedway for future generations is vital to keeping the rich history of racing alive. There are several ways that this can be achieved, such as:

  • Partnering with local businesses and organizations to generate revenue and support preservation efforts.
  • Hosting events and races to attract visitors and generate revenue.
  • Creating educational programs and opportunities to teach the community about the history and significance of the speedway.

The Role of the Community in Preserving the Speedway

The community plays a crucial role in preserving the Wilkesboro Speedway. Without the support and dedication of local organizations, businesses, and individuals, the speedway may not be able to continue operating. It is important for the community to come together and work towards the common goal of preserving this historic site. This can be achieved by:

  • Volunteering time and resources to assist with maintenance and repair efforts.
  • Participating in events and races held at the speedway to show support and generate revenue.
  • Advocating for the preservation of the speedway and spreading awareness of its significance to the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Wilkesboro Speedway?

Wilkesboro Speedway is currently owned by Bob Bahre, who purchased the property in 200Bahre is a well-known figure in the racing industry, having previously owned and operated New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

What is the history of Wilkesboro Speedway?

Wilkesboro Speedway opened in 1947 and quickly became a fixture in the world of stock car racing. The track hosted NASCAR Cup Series races from 1949 to 1996 and saw some of the sport’s biggest names compete on its surface, including Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon. The track’s unique layout, with its high banking and long straightaways, made for some exciting racing and many memorable moments.

Is Wilkesboro Speedway still in operation?

No, Wilkesboro Speedway has not hosted a race since 1996 and has fallen into disrepair over the years. While there have been efforts to revive the track and bring racing back to Wilkesboro, none have yet come to fruition. The property is currently owned by Bob Bahre, who has expressed interest in seeing the track restored and brought back to life.

What is the future of Wilkesboro Speedway?

The future of Wilkesboro Speedway is uncertain at this time, but there is hope that the track will one day be restored and brought back to life. Bob Bahre, the current owner, has expressed a desire to see the property renovated and returned to its former glory. However, there are many challenges to overcome, including securing funding and navigating the regulatory process. Despite these obstacles, many racing fans remain hopeful that Wilkesboro Speedway will one day once again host some of the best drivers in the world.

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