North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has pledged $45 million dollars to the motorsports industry as part of the state’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan.
The state will receive $575 million from the federal government and Cooper intends to use it to address housing needs in the aftermath of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional funds will be allocated to education needs, infrastructure and broadband expansion to close the digital divide, and providing clean drinking water to communities in need.
“This pandemic brought us a once-in-a-generation challenge. And these funds have brought us a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Cooper said. “North Carolina’s funding from the American Rescue Plan positions our state for a shared recovery and allows us to create a North Carolina that works for all.”
Part of the plan as outlined by North Carolina Budget Director Charlie Perusse will also address sports and entertainment facilities with $30 million combined going to Rockingham, Wilkesboro and Charlotte Motor Speedway to the tune of roughly $10 million each.
Short tracks and dirt tracks across the state are also eligible to receive a portion of a $10 million allocation for such venues.
“We know that motorsports is a $5 billion industry in North Carolina and we’re the proud home of NASCAR,” Perusse said. “This recommendation builds on this by providing $30 million or $10 million each for repairs and infrastructure at the three largest NASCAR tracks in North Carolina — The Rock, North Wilkesboro and Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Orange County Speedway operator Terry Deal says he would use any allocation of funding on infrastructure improvements, but isn’t counting on receiving any funding.
“I don’t have faith in Cooper,” Deal said with a chuckle.
The plan, of course, is pending Republican approval as the GOP controls a General Assembly majority.
“Until you told me about it, I hadn’t heard about it, and I’d hope the state would come to me and tell us more,” Deal added.
Carteret County Speedway in Swansboro says its ‘looking into it.’ Michael Diaz at Southern National Motorsports Park was just made aware of the plan when reached and said he would do more research into the matter before commenting.
The plan also calls for $5 million to develop and market what the state is calling a motorsports and moonshine heritage trail.
The allocation proposal is just that and is subject to state legislature approval in the coming months.