Chase Elliott Hopes for Patience at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Getty NASCAR returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the All-Star Race Weekend.

The NASCAR Cup Series takes on North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21 with the All-Star Open and the All-Star Race. There will be a historic feel to the race weekend, one that Chase Elliott hopes the fans and teams embrace.

The 2020 Cup Series champion met with media members at the historic short track on May 19, and he provided some thoughts about the return of North Wilkesboro Speedway. He explained that there is a lot of excitement in the garage about the unique pair of events, and he expressed hope that the fans would focus on that instead of the facility’s limitations.

“It’s not the norm, either, and I think that’s exciting,” Elliott explained on May 19. “Less is more. I say that a lot I feel like, especially when it comes to race tracks and the places we visit. I’m a big believer in less is more. This is special. It’s different. I hope everybody just exercises a little patience, as it pertains to getting in and out of here, and not being able to go outside.

“We can’t get across the race track, right? That’s fine. It’s all good. We just have to know that and have the right headspace for it. It’s not the normal facility that we go to every weekend that we’ve become accustomed to and I’m cool with that, and I hope everybody in here, the fans and everybody that comes this weekend, is as well.”


There Have Been Concerns About Certain Limitations

GettyKevin Harvick’s No. 29 Ford Mustang (right) sits ahead of practice.

North Wilkesboro Speedway has not hosted a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1996. It has undergone renovations to bring it back to life, but there are still some aspects that will create logistical problems.

One of the biggest is the traffic heading to the North Wilkesboro Speedway. With Speedway Motorsports expecting around 100,000 people throughout the race weekend, the company knew it needed to find ways to get cars in and out on a two-lane road.

Speedway Motorsports created a traffic plan ahead of All-Star Weekend, which included shuttling fans to the track with buses. The North Carolina Department of Transportation also created temporary paths from the highway to the parking lot to help with the congestion.

Along with the traffic concerns, there will be a separation between the infield and the fan sections of the track. There isn’t a crossover path, so once the gates are closed, the people at North Wilkesboro Speedway are stuck in the respective areas of the track.


North Wilkesboro Week Continues a Celebratory Month

While there is a scenario where fans and teams voice complaints about the traffic and other situations that aren’t prevalent at other tracks, it likely won’t overshadow the festive feel in the Carolinas.

The month of May features a stretch lineup of races in and around the heart of NASCAR country. This stretch began with Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway and then it continued with the All-Star Race weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The final event in this stretch will be the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which honors military members that gave their lives in service of their country.

Along with the NASCAR events, there were also multiple Late Model events in the week leading up to the All-Star Race. These races featured standout drivers from the Late Model ranks, as well as such guest stars as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Elliott, William Byron, and Jordan Taylor.

“I think it’s great. That’s what I grew up with was the All-Star race at Charlotte,” Byron said in his own media session. “I know that the race there at times wasn’t the best, so we had to make adjustments. Now that we’ve gotten these short tracks back in order, it creates an awesome opportunity to have these Late Model shows on the same week and transition our way through all three touring series and get our way to the main feature on Sunday.

“It gives the fans the chance to understand what some of these Late Model guys do and how good they are. It puts everything in an order that builds up to Sunday. That’s great. I hope we get a lot of fan engagement over these next two weeks to build up some of these local races and take it to the big track.”

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