NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Transportation officials are already preparing for massive crowds for when NASCAR makes its long-awaited return to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in May.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation told Queen City News that there are currently “no funded projects” to help with traffic and improve access to the speedway as the site prepares to host the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race.

Officials said there has been some local interest in building an interchange on U.S. 421, but it would take several years to plan, design, acquire right of way, relocate utilities and build any improvements.

NCDOT said engineers are in the process of analyzing concepts and developing cost estimates.

Traffic into the speedway became a point of discussion after a sell-out crowd for the CARS Tour race last month.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said they were in the planning stages of a traffic safety plan for the event scheduled for the weekend of May 19-21, 2023.

“The NCSHP has a long-standing history of traffic management and direction at major events across our state.  We will pull from that playbook and also apply lessons learned from the most recent races held at the North Wilkesboro Speedway,” said First Sergeant R.K. Aldridge.

Aldridge said the sold-out event in August was beneficial for Highway Patrol to be more prepared when NASCAR thunders into town.

“We are early in the planning stages, but we look forward to the opportunity to assist with this exciting event for our local community and our state,” he said.