Rockingham Speedway is set to host a racing event in March 2021

ROCKINGHAM – The CARS Tour announced Thursday evening that Rockingham Speedway will be the site of its 2021 season opener on March 6, 2021.

The racing event will feature late-model production cars, according to CARS Tour owner Jack McNelly. The CARS Tour schedule includes 17 racing events taking place from March 6 to October 16.

“People have all been clamoring to bring racing back to this part of the country and especially to Rockingham, and hopefully we’ll be successful and COVID won’t get in the way,” McNelly said. “I just hope the racing fans and the community really support this event. I think it’s very important for the area you’re in.

Rockingham Speedway is owned by a group called Rockingham Properties LLC, led by majority owner Dan Lovenheim in Raleigh. According to McNelly, this group rented the track for the CARS Tour event from a company called Red Dot LLC, and this group contacted the CARS Tour to come to the track to put on the show.

“If I understand correctly, they’re also going to have two other classes (of competing cars), but I’m not sure what,” McNelly said. “But, our cars will be the headliner and we’re going to have a 100 lap event and you have to pay $10,000 to win. So I think we’re going to attract a nice quality field for our event.

Speedway representatives could not be reached Thursday. Lovenheim did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

McNelly said Speedway ownership wants to bring racing back to the track in a limited way. The site has not hosted a racing event since the Camping World Truck Series race in April 2013. The CARS Tour racing event will serve as a sort of “test” for the track owner to judge feasibility logistically and financially of their ability to continue. to bring more racing events to the track in the future, according to McNelly.

“The track surface is in good condition,” McNelly said. “There are some things that need to be touched up, of course. But, they have a desire to bring the race back on a limited basis.

Currently in North Carolina, state COVID-19 restrictions allow 7% capacity for large venues seating more than 10,000. The capacity of Rockingham Speedway is around 34,500, meaning under current restrictions a maximum of 2,415 people would be allowed to attend.

However, there is no way to predict where the state will be with respect to the pandemic and relevant restrictions four months from now.

“If the promoters [Red Dot LLC] can’t have fans, naturally (the event) won’t happen because they need gate revenue to make it happen,” McNelly said. “All of us, myself included, hope and pray that this doesn’t get worse and that the powers that be don’t go completely mad and lock everything down again, bankrupting us all.”

McNelly said he started the tour in 2011 as the “Pro Cup Series”. In 2015 they moved to dual classes with the super late model and late production cars they use now.

“Our show is a traveling show,” McNelly said. “We are not sticking to one track. We travel everywhere. We cross Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Many people call them late model NASCAR stocks because they are the same vehicle that drives Saturday nights at NASCAR tracks.

The CARS Tour is based in Mooresville and is sponsored by Solid Rock Carriers.

The most recent event held at Rockingham Speedway was the “Victory Lap” for Richmond Senior High School grads on June 12.

“I mean, the setup is there,” McNelly said. “I think [the owners], they spent a lot of money on it. I’m sure they want to start doing something, shake things up and get some return on their investment.

Contact Neel Madhavan at 910-817-2671 ext. 2751 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter at @NeelMadhavan.

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