North Carolina Governor Proposes State Funding For Rockingham Speedway

Mar 08 2019

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has proposed a state-funded package to resuscitate Rockingham Speedway. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES FOR NASCAR

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has proposed a state-funded package to resuscitate Rockingham Speedway. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES FOR NASCAR

The facility is already set to play host to a long-running music festival

The latest step to a Rockingham Speedway revival was taken on Thursday as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper proposed the state give the property $8 million for capital improvements for what is now known as The Rock Speedway and Entertainment Complex.

The facility was recently purchased by a consortium spearheaded by North Carolina real estate developer Dan Lovenheim, who has taken steps to turn the grounds into a multipurpose entertainment facility.

The state-provided money would go toward upgrading the speedway and its grounds, as well as the adjacent Rockingham Dragway -- a combined space of 550 acres and 10.5 million square feet.

In offering the money, Cooper has visions of turning the property into a “world-class events venue and (to) attract additional investment and visitation to south central North Carolina.”

Cooper’s budget would result in providing infrastructure improvements including “wastewater and water extension, a pedestrian bridge, repaving the speedway, upgrades to speedway facilities and dragway, bathrooms and grandstand repairs/erosion control.”

The budget also requires that for every $3 that the state invests, there must be an additional $1 non-state match to round out the funding for the overall $11.45 million project. That non-state match will likely come from Lovenheim himself and other private investors.

The grounds are already set to host a music festival called 'Epicenter,' a three-day gala planned for May 10-12 at the Rockingham Festival Grounds that utilizes both the dragway and speedway properties.

Over 70 bands are expected to perform, including Foo Fighters, Judas Priest, Korn, Evanescence, Tool, Bush and Rob Zombie. Los Angeles-based production company Danny Wimmer Presents recently signed a 10-year contract to bring the annual music festival to The Rock.

Lovenheim has said from the beginning of his purchase that his personal vision includes racing returning to the property. That vision is one step closer to fruition this week.

The Rock opened in 1965 and hosted NASCAR Cup Series events until 2004. From 2008 to 2013, the track hosted a combination of Camping World Truck Series, ARCA and Late Model events but has not been used since then. Kyle Larson won the most recent NASCAR-sanctioned event there in 2013 in the Truck Series.

Ownership has since changed hands multiple times, with Billy Silas of BK Rock Holdings being the most recent owner before Lovenheim.

SOURCE: AUTOWEEK 

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