The history of racing in the south is pretty interesting. The most popular and purely American of theses stories is of Moonshine Runners who souped up their cars to be able to out-run the law. Before I was even a twinkle in my parent's eyes, they were both racing on the beaches in Daytona.
Rockingham Speedway, "The Rock" is a paper clip shaped track on US 1 in Richmond County between Hoffman and the town of Rockingham. This large structure, a monument to all things racing, stands all alone surrounded by fields that twice a year were filled with cars, trucks, campers and motor homes. One small mom and pop gas station is close by, all other businesses require at least a 15-minute drive. This county, like many of its neighboring counties, had earlier been dealt quite a blow as the textile jobs were shipped to Mexico courtesy of NAFTA and CAFTA
Pamela B. Easterling, a resident of the area and student of UNC Pembroke wrote a very interesting thesis titled, NASCAR Has Forsaken It Roots To Move West. ( pdf ) Her theory is that NASCAR doesn't care about the area of its birth; instead they now pander to a richer crowd.
Contrary to the myth of NASCAR attracting
"Rednecks", or Graham Spann's article in the Fall 2002 Journal of Popular Culture, pg 352, claiming NASCAR fans are all white, working class males, Spann contends: "an increasingly large number of dominant group members from high classes enjoy the sport." Subsequently, this may be a primary factor in Rockingham losing both races. An individual of this caliber does not find it entertaining to gather around a campfire indulging in a bowl of catfish stew and a can of Bud Lite.
Today, racing is a multi-million dollar industry with big money sponsors and prizes. Is it any wonder that the owners of speedways in the west want a piece of that pie? The people of Richmond County continue
the fight and rumors still float in hope of the return of these big dollar races.