Cory Casagrande Ready To Be Part Of Historic Week At North Wilkesboro Speedway 

Cory Casagrande’s new car will make its debut as part of the CARS Pro Late Model division on Wednesday at North Wilkesboro Speedway (Photo: Courtesy Casagrande Motorsports)

For Cory Casagrande, part of the enjoyment of racing is finding new tracks to run at annually. 

In recent years, the former Stafford Speedway Late Model division regular has gone away from focusing his effort on one track or series, but rather putting a varied schedule together of events up and down the east coast. 

When it came to figuring out where his 2023 schedule would take him, there was one track he knew was definitely going on the list. 

When it was announced that the CARS Pro Late Model division would be part of the schedule for NASCAR’s All-Star Week celebration at the historic venue, Casagrande immediately marked it for himself as a place to be for 2023. 

“When they announced it for this year I just thought, ‘Let’s put it on the schedule so we can go.’” Casagrande said. “Usually we pick a race or two down south to do each year and I knew this was was going to be a pretty big deal.” 

Casagrande, of Stafford, is one of 50 cars on the entry list for Wednesday’s 75-lap CARS Pro Late Model division race at North Wilkesboro. There will also be a CARS Late Model Stock division event that will feature a number of well known NASCAR names including Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR’s Cup Series All-Star race will take place at the track on Sunday. 

The .625-mile North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway opened in 1947 and hosted its first top level NASCAR event in 1951. The track, which was paved in 1957, features a unique uphill backstretch and downhill frontstretch. For decades track hosted the NASCAR Cup Series twice annually, but the facility was closed following the 1996 season. One of its Cup Series events was moved to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the other to Texas Motor Speedway. Over the years numerous names familiar to the NASCAR scene looked at ways of bringing the track back. In 2010 the track hosted a Pro All-Stars Series event in September. The division returned for another event in April 2011, but the track closed was closed once again following the event. 

“The PASS series had a big $100,000 to win race there in [April] 2011 and it was just a one and done deal,” Casagrande said. “They cleaned the place up a little bit and made it worth racing, but after that it was just gone again. I’m sure everybody thought it was dead forever after that.” 

After receiving state funding for refurbishment in November 2021, the track’s ownership group, Speedway Motorsports Inc. went for with plans for two grassroots racing cards at the track in 2022 known as the Racetrack Revival events. In Sept. of last year it was announced that the Cup Series All-Star event would take place at North Wilkesboro in 2023. 

“It was never really a track that was part of my childhood at all,” the 29-year old Casagrande said. “I was like two years old when the Cup Series left there. Nonetheless, it’s still a track that’s just been sitting there and it’s pretty cool to see it come back to life. Everybody has been asking for North Wilkesboro back forever, drivers, fans, everybody.” 

Casagrande said part of his preparation for the event has been watching videos. 

“I watched the old PASS races there,” Casagrande said. “I’ve watched some videos of guys testing there. I went back and watched the Modified race there from last year. I’m just trying to learn something. Not everything will be relative to what I’m doing. I think we’re all in the same boat because nobody really has any laps on it. I think that’s a good thing for us. It may not play in our favor, but it’s not going to play against us either.” 

Casagrande goes into the event with a brand new car. The car had its first test on Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

“We started building the new car last year,” Casagrande said. “My original plan was to take it to Jennerstown [Speedway last year] and I just didn’t finish it in time. It took all winter to finish up. After that it was kind of like, let’s make this our travel car and take it [to North Wilkesboro] first. It’s nice to get there with a brand new piece and make sure we have our best bullet for this race.” 

Qualifying for the event will take place at 5:45 pm Wednesday with the feature scheduled to hit the track at 8 pm. Wednesday’s racing card, including both CARS events, will be streamed live on FloRacing. 

“Just the hype that’s being built up around the event and the whole week, I think the place will be jam packed on Wednesday night, which is great for short track racing,” Casagrande said. 


  1. I love this idea of going to different and new tracks. Being a big fish in a small pond does not make you a better driver. Good luck!

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