MotorMouths: What should be next for North Wilkesboro?
Now that North Wilkesboro Speedway has hosted its first Cup race since 1996, what should be next for the track?
NASCAR on NBC analysts Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett discussed that topic on this week’s MotorMouths.
Jeff Burton said that even if Cup returns to North Wilkesboro next year, it doesn’t necessarily have to go there every year.
“I think part of the excitement about North Wilkesboro is that we weren’t there,” Burton said. “I’m not saying that it was good to leave, but what I’m saying is if you make North Wilkesboro a regular-season race next year, it doesn’t have to be that way the following year.
“The same way with Indy. Do you have to run the road course? Can it be the oval? The same with the Roval at Charlotte. We are learning that we don’t have to have these permanent facilities that are only owned by NASCAR or (Speedway Motorsports). We are finding out that we can do other things. I think that flexibility is really important.
“Even with the All-Star Race. I think it was the right place, the right time (at North Wilkesboro), no question. That’s not necessarily the case three years from now. We can’t just say, ‘Hey that’s it, that’s how we’re going to do it.’
“We have to remain flexible. We’ve got to give our fans different stuff, different things, different ideas, different thought processes. It’s not a bad thing if you don’t go to a particular racetrack every year. It’s OK to go away from it and come back.
“I think we’re learning that with the (Clash at the ) Coliseum, with this race, with Chicago. There’s some flexibility that we can have now that we’ve never had. Take full advantage of it.”
Petty said there is a place on the schedule for North Wilkesboro.
“I would love to see it go back there,” Petty said. “I never wanted to see them lose the dates. … I think it’s time for these places to come back.”
Petty noted the capacity crowd of nearly 30,000 looked good on the TV broadcast.
“It looks spectacular on TV because the stands were packed,” he said. “There was not a parking place anywhere. The visual of this place on TV was fantastic.
“Listen, we know this sport is a TV sport now. So it’s about eyes watching this thing. So, I don’t care whether they race in your backyard that holds nobody or they race at Wilkesboro that holds … 30,000 or they race at Daytona that holds 120,000 or 150,000 or whatever those numbers are.
“I don’t care about how many people come to the race. I care about how many people see the race. I think this is a venue that people would tune in to see.”