ROCKINGHAM -- Andy Hillenburg, a former racer who owns a driving school, submitted the winning bid of $4 million for the North Carolina Speedway when it went on the auction block today.
Hillenburg has said that he wants to bring a lower-tiered racing event to the former NASCAR speedway. NASCAR abandoned the track in 2004.
Owner Bruton Smith, a Charlotte billionaire and speedway tycoon, unloaded the 250-acre piece of racing history, which is north of Rockingham, about 100 miles southwest of Raleigh.
The speedway has stood practically empty since Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc. shifted its last scheduled race to a track in Fort Worth, Texas.
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Richmond County leaders tried to persuade NASCAR to continue racing in Rockingham, but their efforts were to no avail. When NASCAR would not relent, they began lending support to Hillenburg, and at one point tried to persuade Smith's representatives to forgo the auction and negotiate directly with him.