Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Report: Rockingham Race In Doubt After Lease Is Terminated

The Richmond County Daily Journal is reporting today that the promised return of stock car racing to Rockingham Speedway later this month is now in serious doubt, after a lease held on the track by Executive Director Craig Northacker was terminated recently by speedway co-owner Bill Silas.  

Northacker and X-Cup Series promoter James Martin had announced plans to hold a race at The Rock on April 23, despite ongoing disputes between Northacker, Silas and fellow speedway co-owner Andy Hillenburg.  

Martin confirmed via Facebook Monday that both the event and the X-Cup Series’ inaugural season are now “at least temporarily on hold,” with an open test scheduled for this Sunday cancelled outright.
He confirmed that Silas has terminated Northacker’s lease, adding, “I was… as blown away as anybody else.” 
The historic speedway has not hosted a race since the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competed there in April of 2013.
Northacker, however, told Daily Journal reporter William R. Toler that his lease remains valid, and that an agreement to purchase the speedway is still being negotiated. In his words, “As far as I’m concerned, we’re still on track to do what we’re going to do.” 

Silas' attorney, Alan Armour, offered a much different assessment in January of this year, telling, "There are numerous parties who have shown, and continue to express, an interest in Rockingham Raceway, including Craig Northacker. However, to date, it is my understanding that none of the parties have presented any definitive proposals. We are aware of numerous parties who desire to bring racing events back to the Rock. However… until a definitive agreement is reached, there are no assurances that there will be any racing events in year 2016." 

In January of 2015, Northacker announced plans to purchase the track and convert it into a “Reintegration Center” for military veterans. At the time, he said auto racing would be a major part of his organization’s effort to “reintegrate veterans back into society… with stability, financial security and an affordable home.”  

The Daily Journal reported today that vice president of operations and development Jim Blakenbaker acknowledged receiving a 60-day written notice of termination of the lease, and had removed $30,000 worth of assets and equipment from the property by a March 14 cutoff date, in order to avoid having them seized.  Blakenbaker said he has also retained legal counsel regarding alleged back wages owed and a bounced check written by Northacker. 

He said there are “conversations going on trying to salvage (racing) in 2016. If there’s a way to do something, we’re doing it. There’s too much synergy not to be able to pull something off.” attempted to contact Northacker today for comment, without success. Hillenburg and Silas were unavailable for comment.


  1. Anonymous3:26 PM

    After hearing your interview with him, not only did I feel dirty, I had serious doubts that it would open. MP

  2. Rockingham was one of my favorite tracks. It's a shame NASCAR left, but I fully understand why they left. I would love to see racing there once again.