ROCKINGHAM — The future of the Rockingham Speedway will include racing, the new owners say — and much (much) more.
Dan Lovenheim, majority owner of Rockingham Properties LLC, confirmed Saturday that racing would be an “integral part” of what he and his co-owners had in store for their new property, which will be known as the Rock Entertainment Complex.
“It’s not an ‘either/or,’ it’s an ‘and,’” he said on the question of whether racing would stay a part of broad plans for the track. “We’re going to pay tribute to the past with the future.”
Lovenheim declined to provide specifics on whether he would try to bring NASCAR back to the site.
The new complex will be modeled on the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, also built around an old speedway. The EDC welcomes hundreds of thousands of attendees for weekends of music, art and other live performances alongside carnival rides, but Lovenheim wants to do things even bigger.
“This is in the process of becoming the largest contiguous event site in the U.S.,” he said.
During its heyday, The Rock held only a couple of big events a year, but the Rock Entertainment Complex will be able to hold much more frequent events, Lovenheim said, because it will be able to “flex” from a racing event one weekend to a big concert the next.
Why do this in Richmond County?
“It’s the unicorn,” Lovenheim said. It’s a “prime location” seemingly in the middle of nowhere but at a central point between several important population centers. “It’s perfect for our business model.”
The owners have not provided a timeline on when construction will start or when events will begin.
Rockingham Properties finalized the deal to purchase the track from BK Rock Holdings for $2.8 million on Thursday.The company, which formed in April, had been in negotiations with the owners for several months.
The Richmond County Board of Commissioners issued a joint statement on Friday, celebrating the deal and praising Lovenheim and his team as visionaries.
“This new venture will help strengthen not only Richmond County but regional economies by generating opportunities for local businesses to expand and thrive,” the statement reads. “We are anticipating a multimillion-dollar impact to our local economy.”
The Rockingham Speedway opened in 1965 and was a significant draw to the area for nearly 40 years. The track has faded from the spotlight in recent years and had not held an event since a Camping World Truck Series race in April 2013.
The Rock Entertainment Complex recently launched a website, www.therocknc.com, where residents can seek more information.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]