North Wilkesboro Speedway Closing: For the last 1 ½ years, Speedway Associates Inc. has taken race fans and Wilkes County residents on a history-making ride with the reopening of North Wilkesboro Speedway which had been shuttered for 14 years. However, the business climate and a lack of working capital has now brought everything at the historic facility to a screeching halt. "Simply put, we made a lot of improvements to the speedway," Speedway Associates Inc. President Alton McBride Jr. said Monday. "We lined up some great events. However, even though we can project positive income from events at the speedway, we do not have the money needed on the front end to make those events happen. In spite of our complete investment in the speedway and in this community, we have run out of money necessary to go forward."
Despite the unexpected re-shuttering of the track after the 2011 season had begun, McBride said it was "not entirely a sad day" due to everything that had been accomplished, including receiving the North Carolina Motorsports Association's industry award for the track's contribution to motorsports in 2010. Speedway Associates began its journey at the five-eighths-mile track in November 2009 with an ambitious but strategic plan to reopen North Wilkesboro Speedway, which was closed after the fall NASCAR Cup race in 1996. Immediately, its name was adjusted to Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in order to pay respect to the track's place in motorsports history. From Labor Day weekend 2010 through the 2011 season-opening richest-ever Pro All-Star Series race, the SAI team conducted six large and more than a dozen small successful events. In 2010 PASS and SAI executives announced "The Race", which guaranteed a minimum $75,000 to the winner. Approximately 80 drivers, including past Daytona 500 winners Sterling Marlin and Geoff Bodine, entered the event. Every region of the United States, as well as Canada, was represented in the history-making race.(more at historicnws.com and / or savethespeedway.net)(5-10-2011)
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