Attorneys David M. Schilli and Brian L. Church, represent the Salisbury bank Farmers and Merchants. The bank owns the note on the loan. According to court records, Hillenburg and Silas owed $4,532,796.23 as of Aug. 8. The parties are due in court at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. Both Hillenburg and Silas, who together own Rockingham Racing Park LLC, were served on Aug. 28.
On behalf of Farmers and Merchants, Schilli and Church have asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent either Hillenburg or Silas from accessing the property at 2152 U.S. Highway 1 North. If the attorneys’ motion is granted, Michael W. Smith of The Finley Group will be take control of the speedway and all its assets as managing agent. Smith would, among other things, be authorized to put the property up for sale.
The speedway is situated on 244.24 acres. The land alone is valued at about $2.5 million.
According to court records, Smith is a member of the North Carolina Motor Sports Association and is familiar with any process that goes along with “potential liquidation.”
The motion for a preliminary injunction requests of Judge W. David Lee to grant a temporary restraining order, appoint The Finley Group as managing agent and authorize the managing agent to take “immediate and exclusive custody.”
Hillenburg and Silas purchased the track for $4 million in 2007 from Speedway Motorsports Inc. at an auction that had fewer than 10 bidders. Hillenburg worked as the on-site manager to build and promote the sport of racing. NASCAR abandoned the track in 2004. Hillenburg worked to bring lower-tier racing back and, in 2012, brought back
According to WRAL.com, North Carolina Motor Speedway merged with Penske Motorsports in 1997. The track was renamed North Carolina Speedway and held two NASCAR Nextel Cup races a year through 2003. In 2003, the speedway was sold to International Speedway Corporation. One of its Nextel Cup races was given to ISC’s California Speedway. The track held its last race in 2004 before Hillenburg took over management.
In the interim, the speedway had been as a testing track and often a movie set. Scenes from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Days of Thunder were shot at the speedway.
The final blow to Hillenburg’s efforts might have come in October 2013, when NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series schedule was released sans Rockingham. One month earlier, NASCAR officials announced the the K&N Pro Series East series in November 2013 had been canceled.
In the news release, a NASCAR official provided a telling but vague description of what the Rockingham track lacked: “The track failed to meet its obligations and we were forced to terminate the sanction agreement.”
Details on what obligations were not met.
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