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CHARLOTTE'S WEB BECOMING EPICENTER OF RACING INDUSTRY
Published October 1, 1997
The Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) has become the "preeminent racing facility in the country, second perhaps only to Indy, and that's primarily on historical value," according to Steve Goldberg of CHARLOTTE magazine. The development of the track has "permanently changed the spectator and business sides of racing," creating a "new growth-industry base for the region with significant economic impact." The success "is directly attributed" to parent company Speedway Motorsports "high-octave mixture of innovation and emulation," and since '75, track owner Bruton Smith and CMS President Humpy Wheeler have spent "more than" $200M on improvements. Wheeler says the key to CMS' success is the "three T's: tickets, traffic and toilets." According to a '96 study by UNC-Charlotte, CMS "is the nucleus of a local industry that has grown over" 48% in the past five years. In the area, 135 motorsports-related firms have created 1,790 jobs, with a payroll of $71.4M and $207M in direct expenditures, and an additional 3,347 jobs and "some" $258M in indirect expenditures (CHARLOTTE, 10/97).