Rockingham Speedway for sale

By: By William R. Toler -
Daily Journal file photo Rockingham Speedway has been listed for sale, following a legal battle that started in late 2014.

ROCKINGHAM — One of racing’s most well-known tracks is up for sale, six months after a public auction drew no substantial bids.

Iron Horse Properties, LLC listed Rockingham Speedway on its Facebook page and several real estate websites around 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Mark Baysek.

He said the company negotiated with the property owner, BK Rock Holdings, LLC, over several weeks, signing the deal to act as the real estate agent on Wednesday.

With a purchase price of $3,795,000, Baysek said the agreement is “strictly” for the real property and improvements on the roughly 250 acres. However, he added that “if someone made an enticing enough offer,” he feels the owners would “entertain” the idea of including the personal property, including the track’s pickup trucks.

The speedway property, which includes the 1.017-mile oval track as well as a half-mile track, is valued at $6.85 million, according to Richmond County tax records.

Baysek said he was “pleasantly surprised” with the overall condition of the property for sitting vacant as long as it has.

The last event at the track was a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in April of 2013. It was also used by the Super Cup Stock Car Series for tire testing in March.

A Raleigh attorney representing BK Rock Holdings, placed a $3 million credit bid during a public auction at the Richmond County Judicial Center in May.

According to court documents, Billy R. Silas is the manager of the Florida-based limited liability company that purchased the promissory note from Farmers and Merchants Bank on Nov. 17, 2015.

Former driver Andy Hillenburg bought the track at auction in 2007, but in late 2014 — a year and a half after the last race — Salisbury-based Farmers and Merchants Bank began foreclosure proceedings against him and Silas.

A consent order signed Oct. 8, 2014 by Presiding Superior Court Judge W. David Lee states the historic racetrack should have been sold or auctioned off by March 15, 2015, as part of an agreement to stave off the foreclosure. That date came and went with no word on any action.

Court records show more than $3.7 million on the $4.2-million loan — which, at at 6.875 percent interest, was set up to be paid with 59 monthly payments of $32,497.85 starting Nov. 16, 2008 and being paid in full by Oct. 16, 2013 — was still owed in December 2012 when changes were made to the loan’s term.

A letter sent to Hillenburg — as well as Bryan and Kim Silas, who are listed as member/managers of Rockingham Raceway Park, LLC — by Hash on Feb. 17, shows the total owed on the October note as $4,305,593.92 and that of a July 2008 note as $617,827.44.

The amounts include principle and accrued interest, but not attorneys’ fees and costs.

According to the letter, interest was continuing to accrue on the October note at the rate of $1,225.93 per day and $179.90 per day on the July note until paid in full.

Silas broke his silence in April, telling the racing news blog that he has never been a partner in the speedway and that he thought his name was off the note.

“I co-signed the note for Andy to purchase the track,” he told the blog, run by Dave Moody. “I saw it as something for my son Bryan to have a hand in at some point in the future, but I was never involved in the day-to-day operation of the track.”

Silas went on to tell the blog that the track should have been put back “on the auction block a long time ago.”

That was made evident in emails exchanged during the foreclosure case that were included in court documents.

Silas’ attorney, Alan I. Armour, wrote to David Schilli, who was representing the bank, that the Silas members wanted to list the speedway with Iron Horse Auction Company.

“The Silas members have previously suggested a $2 million minimum bid, however did not get any response from the Bank with respect to minimum bid,” he wrote on Aug. 12, 2014.

Although they are separate entities, Iron Horse Properties and Iron Horse Auction Company are connected and operate under the same roof.

When asked if there had been any serious inquires in the first 20 hours of being listed, Baysek said Thursday that his company has “had a conversation with a group from another country.”

The track opened in 1965 as North Carolina Motor Speedway and was a stock car staple for nearly 40 years.

The final Sprint Cup Series race at the speedway was Feb. 22, 2004, when Matt Kenseth edged Kasey Kahne at the line by .01 of a second in one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history.

After changing hands several times since 1997, the property was purchased in 2007 by Hillenburg and Silas.

Starting in 2008, “The Rock” hosted several lower-tiered races, including the ARCA Carolina 500 and the USAR American 200.

Rockingham Speedway was scheduled to host the K&N East Series season-ending race in the fall of 2013, but NASCAR officials announced the event was canceled because “the track failed to meet its obligations and we were forced to terminate the sanctioning agreement.”

A month later, “The Rock” was left off the 2014 truck series schedule.

While many racing fans and Richmond County officials would like to see Thunder Alley roar back to life, the chances of bringing a NASCAR race this decade are virtually nil. NASCAR announced earlier this year that it had made agreements with 23 tracks for the Sprint Cup Series and 24 tracks for the Xfinity series — with Rockingham nowhere to be found — through 2020.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.

Daily Journal file photo Rockingham Speedway has been listed for sale, following a legal battle that started in late 2014. Journal file photo Rockingham Speedway has been listed for sale, following a legal battle that started in late 2014.

By William R. Toler