Bobby Labonte's New Track Paves Way For Future Drivers ROWAN COUNTY, N.C., Monday, March 15, 2004 -- Bobby Labonte, members of the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association and officials from Rowan County, N.C. participated in a groundbreaking...
Bobby Labonte's New Track Paves Way For Future Drivers
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C., Monday, March 15, 2004 -- Bobby Labonte, members of the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association and officials from Rowan County, N.C. participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the state-of-the-art North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway March 15 in Rowan County, N.C.
The track, which Labonte initiated with members of the NCQMA, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, will be the first quarter midget track in North Carolina and is set to be completed in May 2004. The paved track, which is being built by GL Wilson Construction, will be 1/20th of a mile in length, and the 20-acre facility is designed strictly for quarter-midget racing.
"It's great that we're finally able to break ground on the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway," Labonte said. "There's a lot of racing in the area of North Carolina, but there isn't specifically any quarter-midget racing. The closest quarter-midget tracks are either located near Atlanta or all the way up in the Pennsylvania or New Jersey areas. Even though there is a lot of racing going on, there is nothing like this within North Carolina or South Carolina."
The North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway is being built in Rowan County, N.C. about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte and 50 miles southwest of Greensboro, N.C.
"The people of Rowan County have been working with Bobby and the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association for a couple of years to find a spot for the North Carolina Quarter Midget-Association Speedway," said Tim Russell, county manager of Rowan County. "We're very excited about the groundbreaking. We view this as a great way to develop tourism and a great economic opportunity for Rowan County. People are going to have the opportunity to see young drivers at the beginning of their career who aspire to one day be racing in NASCAR."
Labonte, who started his career in quarter midgets, fields cars for his son, Tyler, age 9, and his daughter, Madison, age 6.
"It's a fun sport, and it's probably just as fun for me as it is for Tyler and Madison," Labonte said. "I really enjoy doing it because they like it, and it allows us to spend quality time together. I still have friends that are involved in quarter-midget racing with their kids that I raced with when I was a kid. It's just a great family atmosphere, and it's fun to be part of. It allows the parents and the kids to interact in something they can both have fun with, and by doing so, the kids are learning lessons that will help them later in life."
Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, is one of many top drivers who got his start in quarter-midget racing. In addition to his brother Terry, a two-time NEXTEL Cup champion, others drivers who started in quarter midgets include: Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader and J.J. Yeley.
"I know that by building a new facility like this, it's going to be good for the sport," Terry Labonte said. "And I know if Bobby's involved with it, it's going to be a first-class facility because he's going to see to it that it gets done right. He's pretty determined to get this thing rolling, and more than anything, he wants it to be something we can all be proud of."
Quarter-midget racing events are conducted throughout the United States at purpose-built tracks, mall parking lots and even the garage area parking lot of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Quarter Midgets of America (QMA) will serve as the sanctioning body of the new track.
Official Track Name: North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway
Initial Announcement: Oct. 29, 2002
Groundbreaking: March 15, 2004
Owners: North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association (501(c)3 non-profit corporation)
Projected Completion: May 2004
Track Length: 1/20th of a mile