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A NASCAR legend, North Wilkesboro Speedway, forced to close again

  North Wilkesboro Speedway: 1996, the last NASCAR Winston Cup race. (Photo: NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern



  The renaissance of North Wilkesboro Speedway came to an unexpected screeching halt Monday when Alton McBride Jr., the man running the track for the past year and a half, announced "We have run out of money necessary to go forward."

   The legendary track, once a NASCAR staple and for decades host to two major Cup events, was closed after the fall Cup event in 1996. But in the fall of 2009 McBride put together a plan to resurrect the five-eighths-mile track.
   And McBride has held a number of well-attended events there over the past year and a half.
   Now, though, McBride says "the business climate and a lack of working capital" has forced him to end the effort.
   "We made a lot of improvements to the speedway," McBride said. "We lined up some great events.
   "However, even though we can project positive income from events at the speedway, we do not have the money needed on the front end to make those events happen. In spite of our complete investment in the speedway and in this community, we have run out of money necessary to go forward.
    "Being able to cover event expenses is not the problem. The problem is that we put a lot of money into the speedway, and ultimately we did not have the amount of support that we needed. Our working capital has been drained and it has impaired our ability to hold future events.
   "The speedway can be a viable business if it has adequate capital. If anyone wants to partner with us or stand on our shoulders to make the Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway work, they should talk to us."


Sad. I had the gall to think

Sad. I had the gall to think that just maybe it was going to rise from the ashes.

It's a shame. Bruton and his

It's a shame. Bruton and his "partner" are to blame, and unless they put a lot of money into the track to spruce it up, Wilkesboro may be lost forever. The facility was still not in great shape even holding the events it's held the last year and a half, but it was operable. Moving forward, as Mr. McBride said, that's not going to be good enough. "The Race" super late model event held their last month had the best field of late models I've ever seen assembled. Hopefully a sugar daddy will come to the plate for the track and keep it alive.

How North Wilkesboro got

How North Wilkesboro got closed was scandalous, but the reality is the place was digging its own grave - it was and is outdated, too small, and lacked any ability to expand. The demographic for racing there was drying up and clearly is gone completely if Alton McBride's group can't make it work.

Yet there will be the delusional who insist that NASCAR should go back here or to Rockingham with "get back to NASCAR's roots" as the talking point - the fact remains superspeedways are the sport's roots - Winston Cup is a superspeedway league; if any track should be restored it's something like Texas World Speedway, not a bullring like Wilkes that is beyond outdated.

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