LETTER: Let’s put The Rock back in Rockingham

To the editor:

Langley Speedway, located in Hampton, Virginia, is a circle track that closed October of 2015, but has reopened in April of 2017. That closure broke many hearts. It’s been a landmark for decades.

Tonight is Aug. 16, and I’m in the 3rd turn on the grass with some of my friends I used to race with. My daughter and I can smell the tires, the food, and hear the band. The sunset was at our backs. Their 29 car had won two championships and many races. My cousin, Diane Teel, won a championship in 1978. A lot of these families have children that will race. Go Karts, Enduro, Street Stock, Grand Stock, Late Model, and Unlimited are some of the classes. Modified qualifies, and I can smell the fuel additives on the wind. With her headset on for hearing protection, I see my little girl with an inspired look. She wants to race one day, too. I missed everything about this place when it closed, but we’re back, baby.

Richmond County is home to “The Rock,” a circle track in which legends have raced here for decades. Our landmark in Rockingham has been closed for a while. An investment of several million dollars is a pittance, compared to the money that reopening The Rock would generate. Dozens of cars and trucks, with the gear that accompanies them here, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The fans bring tens of thousands of tax dollars to Richmond County for each race. Sponsors, T.V., press and radio create even more of a revenue stream for Rockingham. The Dragway does well and I love it too, but The Rock can attract massive tax revenue for our county.

There are many ways to finance it’s rehabilitation. Fans could purchase stocks and bonds. Lifetime rights to each seat might work. Corporate boxes are always a winner. Racing is a family sport. Many jobs would be directly created, but the indirect jobs could number in the hundreds, or even more. Selling stocks openly to the public would be just as good a risk as lottery tickets. A lot of sponsors would love to own part of history. Bring in the team that revived Langley Speedway here to advise the town council on what is best for all off the taxpayers. Let’s put the Rock back in Rockingham.

David Doyle