Rockingham Speedway wants to get back on the NASCAR schedule. Matthew Sasser of the Richmond County Daily Journal reports that Rockingham Speedway has asked for more funding to make the race track ready to host NASCAR again.
You Need to Know:
- According to Sasser, Pandemic Recovery Grants were given out partially to race tracks across North Carolina. $18 million of those were given to North Wilkesboro Speedway, which returned to NASCAR in 2023. Rockingham got $9 million.
- Rockingham Speedway was a staple on the NASCAR schedule from 1965 until 2004. It was bought by ISC in 1999, and one of its race dates was given to Auto Club Speedway in 2004. Soon afterward, SMI bought the track and gave the second Rockingham date to Texas Motor Speedway.
- Plenty of NASCAR fans have been asking for Rockingham to be added back to the schedule. The movement has ramped up some in the wake of North Wilkesboro Speedway returning to the schedule in 2023.
What Did the Leaders Have to Say?
According to Sasser, Rockingham has asked for the $9 funding on three separate occasions. Richmond County Finance Director, Cary Gartner, said the track requested $3 million in October of 2022 for a repave, just over $1 one year later, and has recently requested the remaining $4.99 million. This is what Chairman Jeff Smart had to say about Rockingham’s ambitions.
The obvious goal… [is] getting NASCAR back. Not only for financial reasons, but for quality of life. Bring it back. Let’s bring racing back to the rock. That’s what we are doing this forJeff Smart via Matthew Sasser
Vice Chairman Dr. Rick Watkins also made it very clear that getting NASCAR back to Rockingham is the goal according to Sasser.
I think this board would agree that our number one goal here is to get NASCAR back in RockinghamDr. Rick Watkins via Matthew Sasser
According to Sasser, some of this chatter was due to $1.2 million of funding being originally allocated to “Little Rock”, next to Rockingham Speedway. No decision has been made, but, there was concern raised that funding would be better off saved until the big track is ready to bring NASCAR back. Still, it highlights that the local government is hoping to bring back Rockingham Speedway.
Recent Work Done at Rockingham
Rockingham Speedway has had work done on it very recently. Eric Estepp recently visited the track as a part of the “Moonshine and Motorsports Trail”, and he highlighted that the track had recently been repaved along with installing SAFER barriers.
However, by Eric’s own admission, the track still has a lot of work to be done. There might need to be grandstands added, and there may need to be some work done on the facilities. However, the race track itself is race-ready.
How much money will it take for Rockingham to get everything done? Well, we can compare it to another track that was recently revitalized, North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Comparing Rockingham to North Wilkesboro
According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports North Wilkesboro Speedway’s renovation cost over $20 million. Rockingham got far less than that, so do they have enough money to renovate as much as it needs?
However, the two tracks are not the same. North Wilkesboro was largely abandoned for two and a half decades. Rockingham closed 8 years after North Wilkesboro, and Rockingham has been far more active than North Wilkesboro. Rockingham hosted 2 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races between 2012 and 2013.
Rockingham was active and hosting NASCAR far later than North Wilkesboro ever did. That naturally means Rockingham may not need as much work as North Wilkesboro did. It’s also worth noting that Rockingham will not have to repave anytime soon, which North Wilkesboro did this offseason.
Overall, it seems that Rockingham coming back has support from the local government. It also may not be as big of a construction or revamping project as North Wilkesboro was. Will Rockingham come back?