North Carolina proposes $45 million total for motorsports with the American Rescue Plan funding
The American Rescue Plan will send $5.7 billion to the state of North Carolina. The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package was passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden.
NC is the birthplace of NASCAR. Most of the NASCAR teams are still based in the state along with the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has proposed a plan for spending the $5.7 billion. It includes $10 million each to North Wilkesboro Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Rockingham Speedway (The Rock).
Additionally, funding is planned for the Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail.
The county surrounding North Wilkesboro Speedway has been itching to see NASCAR’s return. The community has placed billboards and banners all over town, “We want you back.”
The stimulus plan reads, “Provides $45 million to expand motorsports and outdoor event opportunities across the state. Of these funds, $30 million will be allocated for infrastructure and repairs needed for The Rock Speedway and Entertainment Complex, the North Wilkesboro Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Additionally, “The Department of Commerce (DOC) will receive $10 million for a grant program for other motorspoort facilities. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) will receive $5 million to develop, connect and market new and existing natural and cultural tourism trails, including a Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail.”
Motorsports has been presented as the leading tourism generator, representing an industry worth $5 billion.
The proposal explains, “The Charlotte Motor Speedway alone brought 1.1 million visitors to its events in 2019 and pre-pandemic, the Speedway generated more than $25 million in state and local tax revenue annually. However, between March and September 2020, Cabarrus County, home of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, lost over $24 million in hotal revenue, equating to a loss of $540,000 in local taxes.”
Plans for the American Rescue Plan spending in North Carolina
In order to receive the funds, non-state spending must be matched by $1 for every $4. The tracks could see the following upgrades:
-Water and wastewater extensions
-Pedestrian walkway enhancements
-Upgrades to facilities and dragways
-Bathroom fixtures and maintenance
– Erosion control
North Carolina legislature still must approve the plan.
“This pandemic brought us a once-in-a-generation challenge, and these funds have brought us a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Gov. Cooper said Wednesday. “Let’s use them to make transformational change for our state.”
Speedway Motorsports Inc comments on the American Rescue Plan
North Wilkesboro Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway are both owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc.
“We’re very pleased to see Governor Cooper’s support of motorsports and statewide tourism in his new budget,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “Motorsports is a significant part of not only North Carolina’s past but also its future to create jobs and grow tourism.”
“The proposed allocations from the American Rescue Plan can have a significant impact on renovating parts of Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as starting restoration efforts at North Wilkesboro. Our team at Speedway Motorsports will get to work on the best ways these funds could be utilized and we’ll watch closely as the proposals continue through the legislative session.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr has been vocal in an attempt to bring NASCAR back to North Wilkesboro Speedway. Not too long away, Earnhardt and Marcus Smith unlocked the gates to clean the racing surface. After removing the trees, they sent the iRacing scanners on the track to preserve the track in a digital world.
Earnhardt is excited for this new spending possibility, “Excited to see an opportunity open up for North Wilkesboro. Never expected that place to ever make a come back, but maybe there’s a worthy purpose for it yet.”