The following NASCAR figures signed on to this piece: Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick, Ned Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Marcus Smith, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Greg Fornelli and Tom Higgins:
It’s been several years since it was first acknowledged that the NASCAR Hall of Fame would not meet its initial attendance expectations outlined during the bidding process. But have we ever moved beyond this dialogue to discuss the value this landmark has created for our community? With a deal on the table to put this venue into a break-even position, it’s time we do.
More than anyone, we can attest to the anchor that this venue has been for motorsports since its construction. The Charlotte region has always been an area that embraces a collaborative spirit and works in the best interest of our community, and frankly it’s what’s rooted the motorsports industry here. This level of collaboration is also what drove us to go after a venue that would serve as an iconic landmark to forever solidify the industry’s legacy in Charlotte.
NASCAR wasn’t just raised here. It’s sustained here. This $6 billion industry in North Carolina supports 25,000 jobs. Its presence is undeniable with 90 percent of NASCAR’s top three national touring series based in our region. Charlotte Motor Speedway generates more than $450 million in economic impact annually alone.
While it’s always thrilling to see the next big company that will bring a host of jobs to Charlotte, let’s take time to pause on an industry that’s been doing it for decades. The Hall is a critical piece of this equation, which is why it’s important for us to see that past performance and projections do not overshadow what can be remedied with a resolution that paves the way for its future success.
Before we write the Hall off as a mistake that we abashedly hang our hat on, let’s evaluate the reset button on the table serving as a linchpin that holds a bright outlook for a city-owned asset and one of the many economic engines that drives the entire region.