Rockingham Speedway is set to begin a repave this month as the track undergoes a series of major upgrades in hopes of luring NASCAR back along with other racing series, according to a report by Brett Baldeck of Queen City News. The 1.017-mile oval in Rockingham, N.C., which hosted NASCAR Cup Series races from 1965 until 2004, recently received $9 million from the state as part of the American Rescue Plan.
The schedule, weather permitting, calls for work to begin between October 24-26 with a scheduled completion date of December 1. Should the weather not cooperate, a backup plan calls for the track to be milled this month before being repaved in the springtime. The current racing surface, which was notorious for being abrasive and hard on tires, is more than 30 years old.
Following the repave, Rockingham also has plans to add lights to the racetrack and also remodel existing corporate suites. There are also plans to upgrade “Little Rock,” a half-mile short track behind the backstretch of the main speedway.
Justin Jones, the vice president of operations at Rockingham, says that the track’s goal is to once again attract NASCAR as well as other racing series like the CARS Tour, ARCA and Formula Drift.
“My goal when I first took this position was to rebuild the foundation of Rockingham in hopes of inserting Rockingham back in the foundation of NASCAR,” Jones said.
Rockingham was part of the very fabric of NASCAR for many decades, but in the early 2000s it became a victim of the sport’s expansion into newer, larger markets at the cost of its traditions. The track hosted its final Cup Series race in 2004 and was then shut down for several years before being revived under new ownership in 2008. Rockingham would then host several years of ARCA races as well as NASCAR Truck Series races before financial issues and ownership changes led to it being dropped from the schedule again.
News of Rockingham receiving upgrades comes on the heels of the revival of another iconic NASCAR track in the Carolinas. After sitting abandoned for many years before receiving millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan, North Wilkesboro Speedway reopened for racing this summer and has been awarded the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race as well as a Truck Series race next May. It will mark NASCAR’s first visit back to North Wilkesboro since the track was shut down following the 1996 season.