Dale Earnhardt Jr. will always have a soft spot for his home state of North Carolina. The NASCAR Hall of Famer first learned how to race in the Tar Heel State, and he still lives there with his family today.
Although his professional racing career has come to an end, Earnhardt is still passionate about supporting and growing the local motorsports community. So, when a $50 million gift became available via the state government, Junior threw on his best suit and marched straight down to lobby for the proposed budget himself.
North Carolina’s newest proposed budget would gift $50 million to motorsports
The North Carolina House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a newly proposed budget that would allocate more than $50 million to support the growth of motorsports in the state.
According to Section 11.14.(a) of the proposal, $10 million would go toward “water and sewer and related infrastructure projects” at Rockingham Speedway. Additionally, $20 million would go toward similar projects at North Wilkesboro Speedway and $15 million would go to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The remaining $5 million would be allocated to the Department of Commerce and the North Carolina Motorsports Association in an effort to “enhance amenities and increase opportunities for events at motorsport venues.”
Earnhardt and Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith have been supportive of the proposed budget, and they’re doing all they can to push it through.
“The proposed allocations from the American Rescue Plan can have a significant impact on renovating parts of Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as starting restoration efforts at North Wilkesboro,” Smith said in a statement, per Alex Andrejev of The Charlotte Observer. “Our team at Speedway Motorsports will get to work on the best ways these funds could be utilized and we’ll watch closely as the proposals continue through the legislative session.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. dons snazzy suit to lobby lawmakers
On Wednesday, Earnhardt decided to take matters into his own hands by visiting lawmakers and lobbying for the proposed budget himself.
“North Carolina is the hub of motorsports,” he said, per Andrejev. “In my opinion, this is where NASCAR lives. Over 90% of the drivers call North Carolina their home. Over 90% of the industry, crew chiefs, mechanics, anyone that has anything to do with the sport lives in this state and it’s something I’m really proud of.”
“My family’s got a big legacy in racing, so it means a lot to me to be from North Carolina and I’m very proud of that, so thank you for giving us a minute to visit today.”
Apparently, Earnhardt’s celebrity appearance in front of the House was enough to sway them to vote his way.
NC House votes to pass the state budget after Earnhardt’s appearance
A day after Earnhardt appeared in front of the state government, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted 72-41 to pass the proposed budget. The House will now meet with the Senate and put together a bill to send to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Earnhardt surely wasn’t the main reason why lawmakers voted to pass the budget, but based on their reactions to meeting the NASCAR legend, he easily could’ve swayed a few votes.