Racing is set to return to the legendary North Carolina race track
Rockingham Speedway is 1.017-mile oval in Rockingham, North Carolina. The track is full of character but in recent years, it’s lacked racing of any kind.
The track opened in 1965. It’s opener brought in an estimated 35,000 race fans. Throughout the years, 78 NASCAR Cup Series races, 42 NASCAR Xfinity races and two NASCAR Truck Series events aside from multiple short track racing series.
In 1999, Penske Speedways was purchased by International Speedway Corp. In 2004, ISC moved one of the two NASCAR Cup Series races from Rockingham to California.
Rockingham was left with a single NASCAR Cup Series event, a February event. Attendance became increasingly lacking at the track.
The Ferko lawsuit was the final straw. A shareholder of SMI sued NASCAR for failure to schedule a second event at Texas Motor Speedway, an SMI track. A move previously promised by NASCAR.
The lawsuit claimed the close ties between NASCAR and ISC prevented a race at the SMI owned Texas track (before the two companies merged). In the settlement of that lawsuit, ISC sold Rockingham Speedway to Speedway Motorsports Inc.
SMI took dates from Rockingham Speedway and Darlington Raceway and moved them to Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.
In 2007, Andy Hillenburg paid $4.4 million for the track. Both the ARCA Menards Series and CARS Tour hosted events at the track. A resurgence was brewing for the legendary race track.
In 2011, the NASCAR Truck Series returned to the track. The announcement was made by the track owner with help from North Carolina governor Bev Perdue.
However, in April 2013, Rockingham Speedway hosted the Camping World Truck Series. That would be the last race at the track, to date.
Rockingham Properties LLC
On August 30, 2018, the track was sold. Rockingham Properties LLC now operates the track and they promised a return to racing.
What type of racing? Any kind. The track even stated they were open to hosting dirt track events.
Rockingham Properties LLC is led by majority owner Dan Lovenheim. He’s a business owner of multiple Raleigh, NC properties.
The speedway surfaced is weathered, just the way real race fans like it. However, some spots needed to be touched up and earlier this month, that’s exactly what they did. The walls have been painted and holes in the track have been patched. We’re ready…
As promised, racing is set to return the famed speedway. The CARS Tour will host isn’t season opener at the track on March 6th.
The CARS Tour race will be 100-laps. The late model portion of the show will pay $10,000 to win however other classes are also expected to race.
The track was leased to Red Dot LLC for that weekend. Red Dot then signed a deal to bring the CARS Tour to the facility.
Note: COVID restrictions currently sit at 7% capacity in the North Carolina state. Under those restrictions, the event likely wouldn’t be able to take place. With the lease of the track for that race weekend, Red Dot LLC will depend on grandstand attendance to turn a profit. 7% of the 34,500 seats would only net 2,415 allowed into the stands. Those restrictions would need to be significantly reduced.
This week, race cars returned to the racing surface for a tire test. Late models ringed the inside lane of the track once again and rolled through the bumps at high speeds. You can watch video from that test below.