Richmond group statement on Hall of Fame

STATEMENT REGARDING NASCAR HALL OF FAME PROJECT RICHMOND, VA 1/5/06- "I am extremely proud of our group and the presentation we made to NASCAR," said Josh Lief, Executive Director of Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame (VRHOF), the ...

STATEMENT REGARDING NASCAR HALL OF FAME PROJECT

RICHMOND, VA 1/5/06- "I am extremely proud of our group and the presentation we made to NASCAR," said Josh Lief, Executive Director of Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame (VRHOF), the non-profit group behind the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area's bid to win the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "Our proposal was competitive, creative, thorough and well-researched. It was a long, rewarding process that brought Richmond-area business, community and political leaders together and demonstrated why NASCAR is the major league sport in Richmond and throughout the Commonwealth."

Nearly a year ago, the Economic Development Authority of Henrico County sent a letter to NASCAR notifying them that the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area wanted to enter the running to be the permanent home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I would like to thank the VRHOF board and the many individuals and businesses in our community who helped make this project possible," said Virgil Hazelett, County Manager, Henrico County. "Without their help and unwavering support, we would have never made it as far as we did. I am proud of the way the Richmond region and Henrico County supported this project, including area business leaders who donated time, money and services, and the citizens of this great Commonwealth who sent in postcards of support, signed our online petition and attended our highly successful public rally."

"I am delighted and impressed with the way our region's primary outreach organizations, along with many individuals and business leaders, stepped up and offered their time, money and support," said Fred Agostino, Executive Director, Economic Development Authority of Henrico County and President of VRHOF. "Specifically, I would like to thank VRHOF executive director Josh Lief and board members Jim Dunn of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Greg Wingfield of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Jack Berry of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Doug Fritz of Richmond International Raceway.

I would also like to thank Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel, Governor Mark R. Warner and Governor-elect Timothy M. Kaine for supporting our group's effort."

Still, it is the end of a one-year project of tireless work that stood to further enhance Greater

Richmond as one of the country's leading tourist destinations. "I think many more people are now aware of what the Richmond region has to offer," Lief said. "There was also a buzz in the community that people talked about and rallied around, including how many people are within a one-day's drive of Richmond (55 million), how many cars pass by our proposed interstate site in Henrico County each day (100,000 cars in each direction), our excellent highway system and minimal traffic congestion. Richmond is a 'can-do' region and Virginia is a 'can-do' state. This won't be the last major project Richmond is considered for and I bet our region wins the next one."

Despite the NASCAR Hall of Fame going to another city, the Richmond bid seemed to have it all: strong, bi-partisan support; a focused group of community, business and political leaders; a storied NASCAR history as well as close proximity to NASCAR's northeastern growth markets; an ideal, undeveloped plot of land along the nation's busiest highway; a highly regarded team of consultants and a dazzling presentation to NASCAR that was capped with a boisterous public rally.

"I am sure the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be extremely successful and a model for all sports Halls of Fame wherever it is built," Lief said. "Richmond submitted a world-class proposal, so I am sure the winning city will make NASCAR and its 75 million fans proud."

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