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Loss Of Race Means Blow To Rockingham Economy, Tradition

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — Once upon a time, stock-car racing was the sport of moonshine runners and a few country boys with fast cars.

Today, it's a multi-billion dollar business.

The North Carolina Speedway, better known as "The Rock," is a mile of black-top NASCAR thrills and a major money maker. The speedway in Richmond County is home to two races a year.

Richmond County leaders estimate that each NASCAR race in Rockingham generates at least two million dollars for area businesses.

One of those races may move away as the sport expands into other parts of the country. As a result, a huge chunk of the NASCAR profit and a little bit of tradition soon may come to an end in North Carolina.

It's hard to measure how large the economic loss might be. The race that may go away comes right before golfing season in the area. Business in the area is a little down before golf season cranks up, so the race has filled in and generated a lot of revenue.

But with names like Earnhardt, Allison and Petty among those who have raced for the finish line at the track, the race is about more than just money. There's also tradition and heritage at stake.

Rockingham residents and leaders say it all adds up to a chip off the "Rock."

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