Monday, September 24, 2012

Hendrick Automotive Group Contributes to NCM Motorsports Park; Track Designer Hired

The National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park project recently got a major boost.  NASCAR great, Rick Hendrick, through the Hendrick Automotive Group, is making a $100,000 contribution to the NCM Motorsports Park. As owner of Hendrick Motorsports, his teams have collected 10 Sprint Cup Series Championships and over 200 NASCAR victories. While Rick knows racing, he is also a great friend to the National Corvette Museum with a real interest in the Motorsports Park as a recreational and educational facility.

“The National Corvette Museum celebrates an American original and one of the most iconic cars ever made,” said Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports. “Racing is in the Corvette DNA, so the addition of the Motorsports Park is an exciting next step for the NCM facility. Being associated with the track’s message of education and safety is something we’re proud of, and we look forward to taking some laps when it’s completed. The Museum is already a very special place for Corvette and racing enthusiasts, and this new project will grow that reputation even more.”

Museum Executive Director, Wendell Strode, is thankful for the support and all that it means.  “We are grateful for this generous contribution and thrilled by what this donation represents. Coming from one of the most successful individuals in NASCAR history, this is a real confirmation that all of our hard work, planning, and fundraising activity is beginning to get the attention of people who understand and appreciate the full potential of the NCM Motorsports Park. As we continue to move forward, we are confident that validations like this one will lead to increased involvement from sponsors, race teams, and motorsports organizations who will want to be a part of this exciting project.”

In other exciting news, Steve Crawford has been selected as the park’s track designer. Steve’s first track opened nearly 40 years ago, and since then he has designed the Thunderhill Motorsports Park in Willows, CA and more recently, The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, WA.

“We were immediately impressed by Steve’s initiative while still in the interview phase,” said Wendell. “He had already started coming up with sketches as soon as he saw the layout of the land that we had to work with. He was on board from the beginning with the idea of working with Corvette Racing to build in features from Le Mans, Watkins Glen and the Nurburgring.”

With the uniqueness of the track and special features recommended by Corvette Racing designed into it, the track can be used as a test facility for all of the American Le Mans and Grand Am teams. The possibility of some NASCAR teams using it for road course practice has also been discussed.

In addition to the track design and facilities, the close proximity to hotels, restaurants, shopping and such is also appealing to motorsports enthusiasts.

Steve plans to have the track design finished by the end of the year. He will then work with the Museum’s local civil engineering firm, DDS Engineering, to prepare bid documents for the track – a process which is expected to take two to three months to complete. Bid packages should be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

“Of course, continued fundraising is the key issue that will influence whether we send those bid packages out and have our ground breaking in time for the Bash,” said Wendell.  “At this point we are still confident that this will happen but need individuals and clubs to keep the momentum going with donations of any amount. We had six new participants step forward to take part in our Buy an Acre Campaign during our last event. Each time someone steps up to do this, whether it is an individual, a club or organization, it not only gives us the ability to move forward financially, but it also shows prospective sponsors something about how much the Corvette community wants this track to happen. You built this world-class Museum, so your support of this track is a powerful endorsement to potential sponsors,” he added.

For more information on the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park and to see a short video on the plans, visit