WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A $9 million renovation to the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem has racing and football fans alike excited for new beginnings. 

On Tuesday, the ribbon-cutting unveiled the new upgrades for fans, players and racecar drivers. 

Bowman Gray Stadium is used to cheers and applause. But on Tuesday, it wasn’t for the athletes who compete inside of it but rather the facility itself. 

“We spent $9 million folks to make this a great new facility,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. 

The project that took roughly four years from planning to breaking ground was funded through the city. It regraded Winston-Salem State University’s football field, added a new HVAC system to its fieldhouse and added new flooring to the Richardson Room and hallway in the athletic department. It also created better seating and new restroom and concession stands. 

It will give Rams and racecar fans the boost they need to continue coming back to Bowman Gray Stadium. 

“I want them to go crazy. I want them to cheer. I want them to bring the Ram pride,” said Kameron Smith, WSSU Football offensive coordinator, QB’S and Wide Receiver’s Coach. 

Football coaches said the flat field compared to the crown-shaped field they played on before is a positive change for players. 

“The field itself is actually flat now. That was a big thing when I was playing. It’s like you couldn’t see across the field,” Smith said. 

With pride in their new field, coaches hope it will ramp up recruitment. 

“20 years ago when they were doing a survey for Division II…WSSU and Bowman Gray Stadium was considered to be in the top three. So, with this renovation, this new field if you will, we should be back in that top three, and it’s going to help us with recruitment.” Said Head Coach Robert Massey. 

The project also funded the resurfacing of the Bowman Gray racetrack. 

“We’re already practicing on the track and getting a lot of feedback from the drivers,” said Gray Garrison, Bowman Gray Racing promotor. 

For Garrison and the thousands of fans who enjoy races on Saturday evenings, NASCARmeans a lot to them. 

“Racing was originally started here by my grandfather, so I am third generation…I’ve been here basically all my life,” Garrison said. 

He believes the renovated stadium which now packs about 18,000 fans inside for a night of fun is going to rack up attendance numbers. 

“You’ve got to do something special to get people out of the living room and into the live events. With nice clean restrooms, good concessions, good food, good product, clean facility, they don’t mind something they can bring their family to and feel safe,” Garrison said. 

April 23 is opening day for Bowman Gray Racing. Garrison hopes the weather will cooperate. 

In the meantime, Coach Massey is hoping this stadium will get them noticed to host the NCAA Division II championship soon. He hopes his team will be able to play in that championship game in front of those 18,000 fans.