Wheels of Fortune

NASCAR is more than a sport. It means big business in North Carolina. WRAL examines the economic impact of motorsports on the state in "Wheels of Fortune."

Posted Updated

Original Air Date: Oct. 11, 2006

NASCAR is more than a sport, it's a big business. Motorsports pump nearly $6 billion each year into North Carolina's economy and have created nearly 27,000 jobs in the state.

NASCAR accounts for most of that. "Wheels of Fortune" examines that economic impact. It's far more than the money that fans spend at hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other businesses when they attend a NASCAR race at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte. Most of the impact is from the NASCAR teams based in North Carolina, the jobs they create and the local businesses on which they depend for supplies and services.

A year-round tourism industry has also evolved around NASCAR in North Carolina. The race teams' shops and museums have become attractions that draw fans from all over the country.

Watch the Documentary

Part 1: From bootleggers running on dirt tracks to television contracts and Fortune 500 sponsors, NASCAR has come a long way from its humble roots over the last five decades.

Part 2: If you think the economic impact from NASCAR comes from the three races held in Charlotte, you're in for a big surprise. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Part 3: Although NASCAR is growing nationwide, two communities in North Carolina have lost races in the wake of that growth.

Part 4: As NASCAR grows, how does the state make sure it grows in North Carolina and continues to boost economy and create jobs?

Online Extra

Gov. Mike Easley On NASCAR & North Carolina: North Carolina's No. 1 NASCAR fan is Gov. Mike Easley. For this documentary, WRAL's Cullen Browder sat down for a one-on-one interview with the governor to talk about the state's thriving NASCAR business and what can be done to keep it growing. (Runs approximately 23 minutes.)

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