North Wilkesboro 2011 Adam Fenwick Photo
North Wilkesboro Speedway (pictured) is one of three North Carolina race tracks planned to receive government funding for improvements from the state's portion of the American Rescue Plan. (Adam Fenwick photo)

$45 Million In Government Funding For N.C. Race Tracks

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina is receiving $5.7 billion from the American Rescue Plan and Governor Roy Cooper plans to spend it.

Motorsports is included in the proposal that Governor Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse outlined on Wednesday afternoon.

The highlights of the plan include $30 million ($10 million each) in funding for repairs and improvements for three of the state’s signature race tracks — Charlotte Motor Speedway, Rockingham Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Another $10 million is set aside to be distributed to smaller motorsports venues. It is not yet known how tracks go about acquiring a portion of the funding.

Finally, Cooper set aside $5 million to develop, connect and market a Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail, which would highlight the state’s long history in auto racing.

According to Cooper’s statement of need regarding these allocations, tourism in North Carolina is a $5 billion industry and Cabarrus County, home of Charlotte Motor Speedway, lost more than $24 million in hotel revenue between March and September 2020, equating to a loss of $540,000 in local taxes.

The recommendation calls for the allocation of $10 million for Wilkes, Richmond and Cabarrus counties — where Rockingham, North Wilkesboro and Charlotte are located — and requires a non-state match of $1 for every $4 received in government funding.

According to the governor’s plan, county governments will partner with the venues to fund the needed infrastructure.

The second tier of the program provides $10 million to the state department of commerce to partner with the North Carolina Motorsports Ass’n to administer a grant program that provides flexible grants of up to $500,000 for local governments to work with racing venues to enhance amenities and increase opportunities for events.

Lastly, $5 million has been earmarked to develop new and existing natural and cultural tourism trails, including a Motorsports Moonshine Heritage Trail. This trail will highlight the founding and history of both motorsports racing and moonshine production in North Carolina.

To view Gov. Cooper’s full plan for North Carolina’s American Rescue Plan funds, click here. The motorsports portion begins on page 54.

Charlotte Motor Speedway has operated regularly since 1960. However, the last event at Rockingham Speedway was a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on April 13, 2013, though a CARS Late Model Stock Tour event is planned there on Nov. 6. The last event at North Wilkesboro Speedway was in 2011.