WILKESBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — NASCAR is back at the North Wilkesboro Speedway.

“This is beyond our Super Bowl. We’ve never had anything quite like this,” said Thomas Salley, tourism director in Wilkesboro.  

When NASCAR left in the late 90s, it left a void behind that the people of Wilkes County were eager to fill when NASCAR announced its return this year.  

“Today is actually the 75th anniversary of when the track opened in 1947, so it’s especially momentous to have this occasion, the hauler parade happening today and seeing the hard work that’s gone on over the past two decades,” Salley said.

Fan Fest in Wilkesboro brought racing fans back together again just days before the culmination of that hard work with music, food trucks, games and the big hauler parade.

Those shiny NASCAR cup haulers signified the return of something big the town so dearly missed.

“Seeing the fans come into town and seeing the big smile on their face and all the excitement, it just makes all that hard work so worthwhile to see the satisfaction, the happiness and the joy in everybody’s face,” Salley said.

It’s also a big boon for the city with economic impact estimates already in the millions. 

“It certainly will have a huge impact on the community, and we are expecting to see a transformative effect on our community,” Salley said.

Across Wilkesboro, signs declare “we got you back.” For fans, it’s a revival in more ways than one.

For Wilkesboro, it got NASCAR back. For NASCAR, it got Wilkesboro back.