CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that $45 million of funding provided through the American Rescue Plan will go toward expanding motorsports and outdoor event opportunities across the state.
State officials say $30 million will be allocated for infrastructure and repairs at the Rock Speedway and Entertainment Complex, the North Wilkesboro Speedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each facility would receive $10 million.
The Department of Commerce will receive $10 million for other motorsport facilities, and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) will receive $5 million to develop and market new and existing natural and cultural tourism trails, including the Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail.
Officials say the trails will highlight the founding and history of both motorsports racing and moonshine production in North Carolina and that it would have a substantial impact on in and out-of-state tourism.
North Carolina is known for the motorsport industry and it’s a leading tourism generator for the state, representing a $5 billion industry. The state has nearly 40 active tracks, such as drag strips, kart tracks, oval tracks, and road courses, that could benefit from refurbishment and be used for tourism and events.
Officials say 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.
The pandemic severely impacted motorsports and the communities that host them.
In a statement released by state officials says that between March and September 2020, Cabarrus County, where the Charlotte Motor Speedway is located, lost more than $24 million in hotel revenue, delivering a loss of $540,000 in local taxes.
The Rock Speedway and Entertainment Complex, the North Wilkesboro Speedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway are expected to host at least five new outdoor events in the next three years with the funds.