Debt forgiveness plan for NASCAR Hall of Fame approved

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Last night, the Charlotte (N.C.) City Council approved an agreement between Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and NASCAR that will see those parties forgive more than $22 million in debt from the city’s NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The proposed agreement went through on a 10-1 vote, with Councilman Kenny Smith providing the sole ‘nay’ according to the Charlotte Observer.

Charlotte will now make a one-time payment of $5 million to the two banks, said banks will write off the remainder of a $19 million loan, and NASCAR will waive Hall royalties of $3.2 million that it had been owed since the complex’s 2010 opening.

The banks will also each receive five years of Hall sponsorship, valued annually at $250,000, from the Hall’s operators, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Additionally, NASCAR’s future royalty payments have been reduced from 10 percent of Hall revenues to 3 percent of revenues in excess of $10 million.

NASCAR’s chief communications officer, Brett Jewkes, tweeted the following after the council’s approval:

The Hall has lost more than $1 million annually and suffered from lower than projected attendance. Only 170,000 people visitors entered the Hall in 2014, a far cry from initial expectations of 400,000 visitors per year.

Sponsorships of the Hall, along with the sales of commemorative bricks, were expected to help pay off the loans from the banks but those initiatives have fallen short so far.

Under the new deal, the yearly financial loss for the Hall is expected to be reduced but not wiped out completely.

Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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