An open test session Saturday at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the PASS Super Late Model Touring Series provided the competitors with a glimpse of what they will face when they race on the historical 0.625-mile track Labor Day weekend.
“It doesn't have a lot of grip, but that's just typical of North Wilkesboro,” said Brandon Ward, who will compete in the Sept. 4 PASS event and the Oct. 3 USARacing Pro Cup Series race. “It's always been that way here. It's a challenging race track because both ends are different. You're downhill on the front straightaway and uphill on the back straightaway, so it makes it a lot different than anywhere else we race.”
Fifteen-year-old Dylan Presnell, who was 12 months old when the track held its last NASCAR race in the fall of 1996, saw the speedway for the first time Saturday.
“I love it,” said Presnell, a Sevierville, Tenn., resident. “I like how big it is and how big, wide and sweeping it is. It's a real fun track; long straightaways and real fast.
“Some people had already told me that there wasn't that much grip here. The tires go away in like 10 laps.”
Ward believes the track conditions and the tire wear will translate into a good race for the fans.
“It's going to create good racing because as the race goes on, I think you'll have some cars trying to still run the bottom,” continued Ward, a Winston-Salem, N.C., native. “You're going to see some cars move up to the top. I really believe that it will open up two grooves here. As the tires start to wear off, you're going to see a lot of people start moving around, searching for where their car's the best and where they can find the most grip for what they have. I definitely think it will provide for good racing just like it did in the past.”
A half dozen PASS teams participated in the afternoon test session, as well as some historical race cars. Prior to the test beginning, the Wilkes Amazing Race began at the track. Proceeds from that event went to Samaritan's Christian Ministry of Wilkes County. Members of the Wilkesboro HOG chapter and the HOG chapter in Danville, Va., also received an escorted lap around the track as part of Saturday's activities.
Another open test session for the various series competing at the track is scheduled for July 3, the historic facility's official open house. That same day, starting at 5 p.m., there will be a Southern Truck and Tractor Pull.