RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. — In the sandy pines of eastern North Carolina, you'll find a silent relic, hoping for its own great comeback.
"This track used to be the crown jewel for the community and for the last 20 years it has basically been all but abandoned," said Daniel Lovenheim, owner of Rockingham Speedway.
It's been nearly two decades since a Cup Series race ran at Rockingham Speedway.
Lovenheim bought the track five years ago and has been working to lure NASCAR back to "The Rock."
"For the past few years, we've been putting a lot of time and energy and money into it to really bring it back and bring it back up to speed," said Lovenheim.
In 2021, Rockingham speedway received $10 million in COVID recovery grants from the state.
Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway were awarded similar grants.
Lovenheim used the money to lay down a new racing surface on the one-mile speedway.
Add another $10 million in upgrades out of his own pocket and Lovenheim says, "this will be race ready by 2024."
Lovenheim says there’s a push across North Carolina to bring racing back to its roots.
He says that's evident by the overwhelming success of the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
"That's the beauty of places like this and North Wilkesboro, there's such history, so much community ties and so much community involvement in the entire history of it, that, bringing it back obviously in 2020 it's not 1960 or 1970, but it's a whole new flavor and it could be just as wonderful, if not better." said Lovenheim.
History could repeat its self if racing returns to Rockingham Speedway.
Owners say the more than 500-acres surrounding Rockingham Speedway, in close proximity to Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, could also be home to major concerts and car shows.
"The magnitude of growing 30,000 people anywhere has substantial economic impact and that's what we plan on doing," said Lovenheim.
As for the chances of a NASCAR race in 2024, Lovenheim says "I can't put a number to it. What I can say is that we are obviously in talks with everyone, everyone. I am very hopeful and very optimistic at this point."
Since the 2024 NASCAR Schedule has not been finalized, racing fans remain hopeful that Cup Series races return to more of the sports forgotten tracks.