Well, it’s been a while since we last heard anything about Rockingham Speedway. We last heard that the legendary Texas speedway was closed due to lack of attendance. Since then, we have not heard anything about the famous track. Is it still open for business? We decided to find out. Let’s take a quick look at some of the things that have happened since the last time we checked in with the legendary Texas track.
Rockingham Speedway Reopens For Business
After being closed for several years, Rockingham Speedway finally reopened its gates this past April. The track took a lot of the blame for the dwindling popularity of stock car racing in the state of Texas. In fact, there were talks of relocating the track for a time. Despite the fact that the track has reopened, it still struggles to draw big crowds. Only about 200 people were in the stands for the first race back. The next week, there were almost no spectators in the stands. The attendance has been poor ever since. However, the track still struggles to make money. It lost an estimated $12 million in 2015. The owner of the track, Tommy Hilfiger, has tried to turn things around and has invested about $20 million in upgrades since reopening the track. He has also increased his own personal expenditures as well. The hope is that with the upgrades and more spending, the crowds will return and the investment will be worth it.
Tragic Death At The Track
The last time we checked in with Rockingham Speedway, a tragedy had just occurred. About 300 yards from the start/finish line, Richard Petty’s heart exploded. He was only 54 years old. He was out driving his truck around the track when a tire blew out. The loss of such a prominent figure in the sport was a tremendous blow to stock car racing in Texas. However, as sad as the event was, it definitely raised the profile of Rockingham Speedway. It now has the attention of fans and drivers across the country. It was only a matter of time before the legendary track got back on its feet.
The New Las Vegas Motor Speedway
After Richard Petty’s tragic death, the Texas Motor Speedway officials decided to build a new track. They moved the existing track about 15 miles west to Las Vegas. The new Las Vegas Motor Speedway opened for the summer of 2015. It is a 7/8ths mile track that is much closer to the center of the city than the old track. The new track definitely has the feel of a smaller track. The turns are tighter and the banking is much more steep. The hope is that the new track will bring back the magic that made the old track so special.
New Name For The Track
When the track reopened in April 2015 after being closed for several years, it was originally named after its first corporate owner, Eddie George. However, about a month later, the track was renamed to honor the legacy of Richard Petty. The track now goes by the name of Richard Petty International Speedway.
Despite all of the setbacks that the track has suffered, it still remains one of the most famous and legendary tracks in all of stock car racing. It was certainly a tough road to restore the track to its former glory, but nothing ever dies completely. The track has survived many setbacks over the years and remains a vital part of the racing community thanks to the fans who love it and continue to support it. It’s now up to the owners and teams to see if they can continue the legacy and bring back the glory days of stock car racing in Texas. It’ll be tough, but not impossible.