Southern Pines resident Steve Earwood, who in 1992 realized a lifelong dream with his purchase of Rockingham Dragway, was recognized Tuesday, July 23, on the floor of the North Carolina General Assembly for his contributions to the state, Richmond County and the city of Rockingham.
Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger and State Senator Tom McInnis presented Earwood a certificate of acknowledgement expressing appreciation and gratitude for his 27-year stewardship of the track located on U.S. Highway 1 north of Rockingham.
“It was an honor to have Steve Earwood at the North Carolina General Assembly to recognize him for his contributions to drag racing and Richmond County,” Senator McInnis said. “During (his) ownership of the track, hundreds of millions of dollars have been brought to and invested in North Carolina.”
The 2016 recipient of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame’s Founder’s Award, Earwood also is a member of both the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the NHRA Southeast Division Hall of Fame. He is a founding member of the North Carolina Motorsports Association and has served on the Governor’s Motorsports Advisory Council.
After directing NHRA’s national media program for eleven seasons as Media Relations Director, Earwood was Marketing Vice-President at Billy Meyer’s Texas Motorplex outside Dallas and Vice-President and General Manager of Atlanta Dragway before buying Rockingham.
Under his direction, the NHRA Winston Invitational, which was contested at the track from 1992 through 1998, became the most successful All-Star event in drag racing history leading, in 1994, to his acceptance of the NHRA’s “Man of the Year” Award in the Southeast region.
His tireless effort to keep the track viable in an ever-changing marketplace and to promote Carolina tourism also led to his acceptance, in 2010, of Richmond County’s “Citizen of the Year” award.