Waltrip's to Build Waltrip Racing World
Sherrills Ford, N.C. (August 4, 2005) -- Michael and Buffy Waltrip have announced today their plans to build an innovative racing facility in Cornelius, NC, adjacent to Interstate 77, entitled Waltrip Racing World. The Waltrip Racing World campus will encompass over eight acres and more than 110,000 square foot of building, housing the world's first truly interactive race shop that will be accessible to the public. Waltrip Racing plans to relocate its existing NASCAR Busch Series team and driver development programs to this facility, which will serve as the centerpiece of the entertainment for the interactive fan experience.
"Since 1996, we have operated Michael Waltrip Racing out of our backyard," Michael Waltrip explained. "I have dreamt of constructing the perfect building for a race team and this is the ideal location."
The facility Waltrip speaks of is a former 12-screen movie theater, located in a very visible and highly trafficked location, lending itself perfectly to converting it to the fan friendly experience Waltrip wants.
"NASCAR is a family sport and this, in our opinion, is the definitive family destination. We see the fans packing up their cars and motorhomes and setting out to experience Waltrip Racing World and the area that surrounds it. The value of letting the fans touch, hear and smell the workings of our NASCAR team seven days a week not only benefits the fans, but gives our sponsors more exposure. We believe the fans will come during the week to watch the teams prepare for the races, and on the weekends to watch NASCAR action on one of the giant movie screens as part of the full experience."
Waltrip Racing World will consist of a skywalk through the facility, live pit road practice sessions and team training, movies, a retail store, restaurant and more, including a 40-space private motor coach area.
The Waltrip's have partnered with Noah Lazes, a longtime personal friend and president of the ARK Group. Lazes is a resident of Cornelius and has a tremendous amount of experience developing entertainment oriented projects around the country and creating experiences that entertain people, including North Carolina's largest annual music festival. Lazes is helping the Waltrips put all the necessary pieces together and turn their exciting dream into a reality.
"It was an easy decision for ARK to get involved with Michael and Buffy on this project," Lazes said. "Michael's ideas for this project are cutting edge and are truly revolutionary. His knowledge of the sport and his appreciation of the fans combined with our experience in the entertainment industry will enable our team to construct the ultimate race fan experience. The venue is large enough for Waltrip's current race teams, yet has the space for Waltrip to grow as his opportunities develop."
Cornelius, N.C. Mayor Gary Knox commented on Waltrip's move.
"It is amazing the amount of people that travel to our area just to catch a glimpse of their favorite driver and to look through a window to see how these teams operate. Michael (Waltrip) gets it. He has proposed the ultimate race fan experience while assisting in our economic development and tourism efforts for Cornelius (N.C.). Waltrip Racing World will create many good-paying, highly-skilled jobs and expect to bring 5,000 plus people a month to town. Cornelius is already home to many NASCAR drivers, team owners and team members. We know Michael and Waltrip Racing World will be a first-class neighbor."
Michael Waltrip continues to weigh his options as they relate to his future driving plans.
"Soon I will be able to announce that I will be teaming with a winning organization in the NEXTEL Cup Series."