Friday, April 29, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
More than 500 people and organizations have contributed money, artifacts, cars and time to the museum, which was constructed by Morton Buildings in Gettysburg, Md. The museum will initially measure in at just over 9,500 square feet, with an additional 10,000 square feet to be added at a later date. The building will be used to house the history of motorsports from the Northeast area with multiple displays of racing vehicles and racing related artifacts.
“This project is unique in that virtually every museum in the country has one or several wealthy individuals behind it,” said Berggren, who plans to have the museum open for business by NASCAR race weekend Sept. 23-25. “This museum is being built with funding provided by hundreds of racers and race fans rather than a few wealthy individuals. The support of local companies that have donated or reduced the cost of their goods and services has been huge to help the project get where it is.”
A considerable amount of work has already been completed on the museum’s site. Thousands of yards of gravel has been moved to level the property (equipment for that work and payment of the equipment operator has been donated by legendary former supermodified driver Bentley Warren).
The water well (donated by Capital Well) and storm water evacuation system (pieces donated by EJ Prescott and EF Shea corporations) are both in the ground.
All under-floor plumbing (donated by Total Climate Control) has been installed.
All under-floor electrical conduit and conduit to carry wiring from the on-property pole to the building has been installed, with labor donated by Doherty Electric.
Footings and foundation have been back-filled, with concrete donated by the Michie Corporation.
Today, a crew from Kendall Construction arrived to prepare the underfloor sand for the five-inch thick concrete floor ,with plans to pour the floor later in the week.
The floor will take approximately a week to cure, after which Morton’s crew will begin to erect the building. The pre-fab will take roughly six weeks to set up and once the building is established, the work will begin to frame the bathrooms, library and offices. Interior plumbing will be finished and electrical wiring will then be installed, followed by sheet rock installation and paint.
Cars, motorcycles, books, photos, helmets and the rest will then begin to be moved in.
“I appreciated the Drivers Council support, but I didn’t want them to pay the fine. We decided as a group to donate the money to charity,” Stewart said. “Artie is such a good friend to all of us and his foundation does a lot of great work.”
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
|NASCAR's Brian France|
Monday, April 25, 2016
|Joie Chitwood, III|
Thursday, April 21, 2016
"With all the crap we’re going through with all the safety stuff, for them to sit there and sit on their hands on this one ... this is not a game you play with safety,” said Stewart yesterday. “And that’s exactly the way I feel like NASCAR is treating this. This is not the way to do this.
"Last year, it started. This year, you see the problem getting worse. Well, if you see a problem getting worse like that, where’s the bottom of that trend going to happen? It’s going to happen when somebody gets hurt, and that’s going to be one of the largest black eyes I can see NASCAR getting when they’ve worked so hard and done such a good job to make it safe."
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The Talla-Mento Dogwich ($5) will be sold in the O.V. Hill North and South Grandstands as well as the Tri-Oval Tower and all Infield Locations. The Big One Meatball ($13) will be sold at concession stands in the Gadsden and O.V. Hill South Grandstands, along with the Tri-Oval Tower along the frontstretch.
Monday, April 18, 2016
|Vets-Help.org Executive Director Craig Northacker|
Northacker’s written response, submitted to the GodfatherMotorsports.com comment board, took issue with Silas’ contention that the North Carolina oval “should have gone on the auction block a long time ago,” saying, “the only reason (Rockingham) was not on the auction block is that I was to be given the opportunity to buy it. We had a deal worked out last year, but the other members in the triad refused to cooperate. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars as well trying to make it work, only to be thwarted time and again.”
Thursday, April 14, 2016
It was announced this week that the venerable speedway will go up for public auction on Thursday, May 5 at the Richmond County (NC) Superior Court, with the track, its grounds and infrastructure being sold to the highest bidder. Silas confirmed that the sale will take place, while disputing past descriptions of him as a part-owner of Rockingham, along with former ARCA champion and NASCAR racer Andy Hillenburg.
“I have never been a partner in the speedway,” he said. “I co-signed the note for Andy to purchase the track. 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.
“I never thought we’d make a ton of money, but I didn’t think we’d lose a ton, either,” said Silas. “I thought we’d have it paid off in 10 years, and it would be a great opportunity for Bryan. It has always been about Bryan.”
Silas said that in his opinion, Rockingham’s financial downfall stemmed from a failure to supplement its on-track activities with other, non-racing events.
“The first race Andy booked was an ARCA show,” he recalled. “We spent $300-400,000 and never made it back. That was a tough way to start. Sponsorships didn’t come through the way we expected them to, and then we got hit with one of the biggest financial recessions in history. The timing could not have been worse.
“We tried bringing in the (NASCAR Camping World) Truck Series,” said Silas, “and it was a complete financial failure. (The monetary strain) began impacting my main business, and I started to realize that this was not working out the way we had hoped. I suggested (to Hillenburg) that he either buy me out, or that we hang a ‘For Sale’ sign out front, but he didn’t want to do that. He sincerely believed that we could make it work.”
Silas said that after some financial restructuring, he mistakenly believed that his name had been taken off the bank note.
“I trusted that my name was off the note,” he said, “but that was not the case.”
Silas stressed that he harbors no animosity or ill-will toward Hillenburg, who “put his life on the line for that race track. He never misled me. He worked his tail off, because he loves Rockingham Speedway and Richmond County. The decision was made to run a second NASCAR Truck race, and again, there was no money (made). A lot more money went out the door, with nothing coming back in.
“At a certain point, it just doesn’t make sense to keep writing checks.”
Silas said that in his opinion, Rockingham “should have gone on the auction block a long time ago. You can’t keep throwing good money after bad. I’ve spent more than $200,000 on attorney’s fees alone since the last race there (in April of 2013). I bought the note from the bank. I have spent millions of dollars. I’m spending money right now to get the track as operational as possible for a future buyer.”
Silas said he believes Rockingham could make money, if properly run.
“It can’t be just racing,” he said. “Two or three races a year will not begin to pay the bills. The track needs other (non-racing) events to draw people in. The place is totally underutilized. When you’re paying 7.5% interest on a bank loan and your payment is $37,000 a month, $22,000 of that is interest alone. That doesn’t work unless you have cross-revenue from other events.”
Silas said he believes Rockingham “will never be just a race track, ever again. Look at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” he said. “There is something going on there just about every day. They have 2-3 major racing events each year, but they’re putting something in the bank just about every day.”
He stressed, however, that he is not the man for the job.
“I have 1,000 employees in seven states,” he said. “I can only do so many things at the same time. Running a racetrack was never part of my plan. I am stretched too thin to do it myself, and Bryan doesn’t want to tackle it, either. The best thing to do is hand it off to someone who can give it their full attention.
“Rockingham needs a businessman, not just a racer.”
Silas declined to comment on statements made by Vets-Help.org executive director Craig Northacker, who announced plans in January of 2015 to purchase the speedway as the centerpiece of a “Reintegration Center” for military veterans. He did say, however, that at various points, a number of individuals have expressed interest in buying the track.
“At least 10 people have talked about buying Rockingham,” he said. “Unfortunately, not one of them put forth a single dime. In fact, people got in trouble for using the track, after being given permission to do so by people who had no authorization. Locks were cut off gates by folks who thought they had permission to be there."
Finally, Silas said he has been disappointed with the lack of support shown by area race fans, as well as the unfair criticism he believes he has received from some members of the racing community.
“I’m not going to write checks all day, if people won’t support the race track,” he said. “The people who criticize me are not the ones draining their checking accounts (to keep Rockingham running). I’m not trying to kill the speedway, I‘m trying to save it.
“On May 5, someone is going to own this race track, debt-free,” he said. “Any previous debts have either been paid, or forgiven by the courts. There is an opportunity here for someone to make a clean start and do what it takes to make Rockingham Speedway successful again.
“All it takes is for the right person to step forward.”