Efforts underway to stave off foreclosure of Rockingham Speedway


For the last several years, Andy Hillenburg and Bill Silas have put everything they had to resurrect and return Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway back to success.

For a while, things looked promising, including NASCAR bringing the Camping World Truck Series there in 2012 and 2013.

But financial difficulties – with more than $4.7 million in arrears – have left the track on the verge of foreclosure.

According to the Richmond County (NC) Daily Journal, attempts are underway to allow Hillenburg and Silas more time to avoid foreclosure.

Superior Court Judge David Lee has issued a temporary restraining order to give the track’s two co-owners additional time to reach agreement on a potential modification of terms with Farmers and Merchants Bank of Salisbury, N.C.

Bank attorneys claim Hillenburg and Silas took out a $550,000 line of credit on a $4.2 million loan in 2008. According to the Daily Journal report, the co-owners now owe $567,909 in principal and interest on the line of credit, as well as $3,964,886 they still owe on the initial loan.

In addition, the pair reportedly owes approximately $200,000 in Richmond County property taxes from 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to court filings.

“I get the sense that this is all going in the right direction, in a positive direction,” Lee said during a hearing Thursday. “I’m certainly going to have the court try to work with you.”

Lee added further, “If you’re asking me that you’re trying to resolve something … take as much time as you need.”

According to the Daily Journal,

“Court filings show that lawyers for the speedway’s owners had been in discussions with the bank’s attorneys to sell the 1.017-mile track at a private auction under a forbearance agreement that would halt F&M’s seizure of the speedway property.

“F&M Bank attorney David M. Schilli requested the order on behalf of the plaintiffs and said the restraining order could be extended “for a very brief period of time so that we can go back and draw up another order that will be tendered to the court with all the parties’ consent.”

The track is currently being operated by The Finley Group, a bank affiliate that Lee appointed on Sept. 8 as managing agent of the speedway and adjacent property.

Hillenburg and Silas are reportedly attempting to sell the speedway and surrounding property at auction, rather than face foreclosure.

“From what we are hearing, various auctioneers have indicated that they would not be surprised by a bid in excess of $5 million for the raceway,” Silas attorney Allen Armour wrote in an Aug. 12 email to the Daily Journal. “Accordingly, the Silas members feel that it is in the best interest of all parties to start the auction listing process as soon as possible.”

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III