Report: ‘The Rock’ saved from potential receivership and auction — for now

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The Rock will continue to roll – for now.

According to Motor Racing Network’s Dave Moody, host of SiriusXM Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Rockingham (NC) Speedway has escaped the possibility of going into receivership for the time being.

Former ARCA champ Andy Hillenburg, who has tried to keep the legendary track operating, has received approval of a reorganization plan by a Richmond County (NC) Superior Court judge.

Hillenburg has a new unnamed group of partners and advisors that apparently stepped forward literally at the 11th hour.

“They are not racers,” Hillenburg told Moody. “They are businesspeople who know my reputation and work ethic, and see an opportunity to create new partnerships that will prove beneficial to all parties, allow Rockingham Speedway to survive and prosper as a racing facility and produce critical economic development opportunities in Richmond County.

“When word (of the receivership hearing) got out a week or so ago, people began offering to help.”

As a result, the track will not be placed into receivership by Farmers and Merchants Bank of Salisbury, N.C., which reportedly planned on placing the racetrack and surrounding property up for auction.

“We went in front of a judge recently and presented our proposal,” Hillenburg told Moody. “We explained that we need 90 days to perform the necessary due diligence, and he issued a Bridge Order to continue the case until today. Now, he has approved our request, and the speedway will remain in our hands.”

According to Moody, Hillenburg and his original partners purchased the racetrack in 2007 for $4 million. But court records showed the group owed Farmers & Merchants Bank nearly $4.533 million as of August 8, 2014.

The track and 244 acres of property are reportedly only worth $2.5 million now.

But Hillenburg and his new group aren’t completely out of the woods yet.

“Our request was for the proceedings to be delayed, in order to allow us to assemble a new financial plan,” Hillenburg told Moody. “We now have until Jan. 1, 2015 to finalize a workable financial plan with our new partners.

“Our goal is to return racing to The Rock, put the track on solid financial footing and continue to make a positive contribution to our community.”

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).