NASCAR & Auto Racing

The more the merrier, Rockingham Dragway owner says

More drag racing in the Carolinas just means more drag racing fans.

That’s how Steve Earwood, the owner of Rockingham Dragway, feels about plans for construction of a new facility at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that could bring the National Hot Rod Association’s Powerade series here as soon as September 2008.

A drag racing facility in Charlotte “will do nothing but enhance the region’s reputation as a motor racing Mecca,” Earwood said. “All it will do is elevate our industry.”

Earwood’s track near Rockingham has been the outpost for professional drag racing in the Carolinas in recent years. It hosts a pair of International Hot Rod Association national events each year, including the season-ending World Finals event set this year for Oct. 19-21.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said he was considering building a drag strip at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. On Saturday, the NHRA released its 2008 schedule with a new race scheduled for Sept. 11-14 at a site to be announced. NHRA officials confirmed that Charlotte is one of the markets being considered for that date.

“With Bruton’s resources from publicly-traded Speedway Motorsports Inc., I would expect nothing but a top-notch facility,” Earwood said.

“It definitely will help grow our industry. I’m excited. I think everyone involved in this business will benefit. Bruton will raise the bar for the rest of us and I, for one, look forward to the challenge and to the opportunities it provides.”