NASCAR Returns to Rockingham
I am not much a planner.
I usually don’t know what I am going to be doing tomorrow much less eight months from now. But I can tell you without a doubt where I will be on April 15, 2012.
I will be at Rockingham Speedway for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. After an eight-year absence, NASCAR will be back at the track for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine.
And I hope that if you have read the first five sentences of this column, you will be there too.
This is a big deal for the region. In fact, it is such a big deal that Governor Beverly Perdue came to the speedway on Wednesday to make the announcement. The race will bring an approximate $7.5 million to the region according to the governor. That’s people eating in local restaurants and staying in local hotels. That is a huge economic impact.
Rockingham Speedway President Andy Hillenburg and General Manager Robert Ingraham have worked tirelessly over the last four years to get to a point where NASCAR could come back to the track and the last step was the investment of nearly $1 million for the installation of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers. The SAFER barriers are scheduled to be installed in two phases, with the first phase happening this month and the final sections in December.
It’s not often that you get a genuine second chance like this, but now it’s time for race fans to step up. NASCAR has done its part — they are sanctioning racing at Rockingham. Hillenburg has done his part — he is taking a huge risk; it’s not cheap to hold a NASCAR event. Good Sam Club, Camping World and Cheerwine have done their parts.
Now fans have to support it. Over the last eight years, all I have heard from race fans is that NASCAR wronged Rockingham and the supporters and they have to come back to the track that hosted NASCAR races from 1965-2004.
Rockingham now has about 34,500 seats. If there is an empty seat in that place on April 15, I am coming to find everyone of those people who have complained over the last eight years, then didn’t buy a ticket to come out to watch what I am sure will be a great race. And I promise, I won’t be a happy camper.
I kid … a little.
If you have ever read this column you know I have a soft spot for Rockingham. It is a great race track with great amenities for fans. It is a perfect fit for the Camping World Trucks. Aside from that, it is a great asset for the region.
NASCAR has packed their bags and left the track once and if fans don’t show up for the new races, they will leave again. Let’s don’t let that happen. If you’ve read this far, you need to buy a ticket and tell all your friends that they need to be at Rockingham Speedway on April 15.
Contact Andy Cagle at firstname.lastname@example.org
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