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NASCAR All-Star Week fuels business in Wilkesboro

When the announcement that the NASCAR All-Star race was coming to town, it restarted the community's engine. Now, it's go time, as it is a week away.

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — The races at the North Wilkesboro Speedway will be serving up business across the county. 

Several business owners said it's a long time coming after the gates closed nearly 30 years ago.

If you remember, the Speedway, a once thriving race track, shut the gates in 1996.

Keith Huffman manages a few businesses in town, like Raymer Oil and the IGA grocery stores in Wilkesboro. He said it was tough to hear that the track was closing 27 years ago.

"It ended in kind of a shock, for everybody," said Huffman. "It was kind of sad that it left us, it did a lot for our economy, everybody depended on those races to make some money to help out."

Huffman was a key player in the race track revival. He said when the announcement that the NASCAR All-Star race was coming to town, it restarted the community's engine.

"We're just blessed to have it back," said Huffman. "Brian Call is the official Moonshiner for the speedway, we're the official grocery store of the Wilkesboro speedway, a lot of local companies are involved."

People from all over are racing into Wilkes County. 

Anna Foster is a property manager at Frog Holler Cabins. There are 5 places to stay on the property. It's all booked up for race week. 

"We have people coming in from Colorado, Ohio, and South Carolina," said Foster. "It does feel great to get these longer stays, obviously they help us, and then the folks whenever they come here, they are going to take advantage of what we have to offer in this area, we have some great vineyards, distilleries, and restaurants."

One of those restaurants is Glenn's. The NASCAR All-Star race is fueling changes at this pit stop.

Owner Stephanie Winebarger said there are changes to the menu and new signage outside. She's even adjusting her hours. 

"Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we're going 6 am until, so until the people stop coming in, that's kind of what we're planning on," said Winebarger.

Glenn's is one of the oldest restaurants in the county and as someone who worked when the races stopped 27 years ago, Winebarger said it's different this round.

"This just seems to be such a more collaborative effort from the community and we're super excited and we're all trying to help each other and give shared experiences and what we think might help each other so that we all can be successful," Winebarger said.

These businesses said this is just the first lap to a long and successful road ahead. 

"Let this be a destination, because that's what we want and that helps us stay in business all year long, not just for these big events," said Winebarger. 

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