UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Now” will be featuring a segment on the economic impact of NASCAR’s return to Rockingham Speedway.
Those looking to relive the excitement of NASCAR’s return to Richmond County will get another opportunity when the program airs its feature on Rockingham Speedway on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“They interviewed me at the speedway, and we sort of did a re-cap of the big day,” said Speedway Owner Andy Hillenburg.
The film crew also interviewed Emily Tucker, Chamber of Commerce president, Jyoti Patel, owner of America’s Best Value Inn in Rockingham, and Georgia Cagle, owner of Little Bo Steak House.
“North Carolina Now” features weekly stories related to pressing issues of the day, interesting places and the artistic and cultural aspects of the state and its population.
A film crew was on hand at the speedway for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 on April 12, taking in the scenes from the infield prior to the race, the opening ceremonies and the racing excitement provided by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors. With an estimated attendance of 27,500 fans, the race weekend was deemed a success.
UNC-TV Correspondent Jeff Smith returned to Richmond County a few days after the race for a follow up on the event’s impact. A previous economic study, commissioned by the City of Rockingham, predicted that bringing a NASCAR-sanctioned race back to Rockingham Speedway would lead to the creation of more than 200 jobs and $10.5 million in spending. Smith interviewed local business owners and found that, along with a financial boost, a larger sense of civic pride has been restored to Richmond County.
“I was interviewed at the restaurant,” said Cagle. “We talked about the fact that when NASCAR left the speedway, it was a financial decision for them — but for the people who live here it was emotional. That hurt us. This community has a lot of historical connections with the sport.”
Cagle went on to say that she was at the speedway during the weekend of NASCAR’s return, and she was happy to see so many others in the community turn out to support the event.
“It was like a reunion, I saw so many people I knew out there,” said Cagle.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com