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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