NASCAR: Charlotte city officials propose deal to waive debts on Hall of Fame

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The NASCAR Hall of Fame has been open since 2010. Photo: Getty Images.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame has struggled to make money and bring in solid crowds since its 2010 opening in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, the city has proposed a new deal to help get out of obligations that it owes on the building.

As part of the deal, the city would make a payment of $5 million to Wells Fargo and Bank of America on construction loans. This sum would come from a 2 percent hotel tax that was implemented during the Hall’s early development.

The banks would then forgive the remainder of a $19 million loan, and NASCAR itself would waive $3.2 million in royalties that it has not yet received due to the Hall’s financial struggles.

NASCAR would also see its future royalty payments reduced from 10 percent of Hall revenues to 3 percent of revenues in excess of more than $10 million.

Additionally, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, operators of the Hall, would give each bank five years of Hall sponsorship, valued at $250,000 annually.

The Charlotte city council is expected to vote on the deal next Monday.

Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble said to the Charlotte Observer that the goal was to “bring the Hall into a break-even position,” but the Observer’s Steve Harrison reports that the Hall is still expected to lose money in future years even if the proposal goes through.

Adding to the difficult situation, NBC Charlotte (WCNC-TV) reports that members of the council are mixed on the proposal and whether or not the Hall can survive on its own even if the debt is paid off.

The Hall was expected to bring in 400,000 visitors annually, but last year, it only attracted 170,000 visitors. It has also lost more than $1 million per year since opening its doors, and corporate sponsorships that it expected to sell and use to pay off the bank loans have not come to fruition often enough.

A second, $20 million loan was also used to help build the Hall in addition to the aforementioned one. This loan involves the sale of public land near the Hall.

The Observer report notes that the city has already sold one part of the land and also has a contract of nearly $10 million in place to sell another part. It expects to eventually pay off this loan in full.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).