NASCAR All-Star Race

Author JL Huffman
3 min readMay 20, 2024


North Wilkesboro Speedway

This past weekend, the NASCAR All-Star Races were held at the North Wilkesboro Speedway (NWS). The racetrack reopened in August 2022 after a 25-year hiatus (broken only by a one-and-done race in 2010). After a grand reopening race in 2023, the speedway tradition continues.

NWS, a paved oval short track (0.625 miles), held its inaugural racing season in 1947. The track roots hail from moonshine runners.

A Young Junior Johnson

During the Prohibition Era, North Wilkesboro was the unofficial “Moonshine Capital of the World.” Local good old boy Junior Johnson, was profiled in Esquire for his role in the bootleg trade, which evolved from driving his daddy’s “shine” to eager customers. Junior was a pro at evading the Alcohol Tax agents from “boro to boro” and “ville to ville” on the switchback mountain roads, roaring over ridges, and chasing through clay cuts.

This daring reprobate starred in a decade of stock-car racing from 1955 to 1966 with a record of 50 victories, 11 at major speedways. He was the “winningest driver who never won a championship. He went on to become a NASCAR team owner.

Presidential Pardon

His career had a brief interruption to serve a year in prison 1956–57 for running an illegal still, but he never was captured transporting liquor. Thirty years later, President Reagan granted him a presidential pardon. Johnson was most pleased to have his right to vote restored.

NWS Rainstorm

History notwithstanding, the 2024 race was almost a washout due to Saturday’s two hours of torrential rains (four inches), which necessitated a halt to the qualifying runs and the NASCAR decision to decide competitors by metrics.


Unfortunately, the rain didn’t cool off some of the testosterone tempers, with two drivers coming to blows. The Southern good old boys keep it coming.

Local Legends

Are you a race fan? Are you privy to any local history, legends, and heroes?

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Author JL Huffman

I’m a retired Trauma surgeon/ICU doctor, a world traveler and gardener. I’ve published in the surgical literature; now I’m writing poetry, memoir & fiction.