Responding to inquiries about Bruton Smith’s plans to build a new NHRA drag strip on the grounds of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood said such a facility “will do nothing but enhance the region’s reputation as a motor racing Mecca.

“To be honest, all it will do is elevate our industry,” Earwood said of the new track rumored to be the site next year of an NHRA national event.  “I’m looking forward to working with Humpy Wheeler and his talented staff at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to increase interest in the sport throughout the region.”

Earwood, whose track hosts a pair of races in the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, said he anticipates a track similar to those Smith has built adjacent to his other NASCAR tracks in Bristol, Tenn., Sonoma, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev.  Those tracks presently are host to four NHRA events.

“With Bruton’s resources from publicly-traded Speed Motorsports, Inc., I would expect nothing but a top-notch facility,” Earwood said.  “It definitely will help grow our industry. I’m excited.  I think everyone involved in this business will benefit.  It’s a great opportunity to expand the fan base for the sport in the Carolinas and Virginia.

“Bruton will raise the bar for the rest of us and I, for one, look forward to the challenge and to the opportunities it provides.”

The “To Be Announced” event on the NHRA’s just-announced 2008 schedule is rumored to be assigned to the Charlotte track.  It reportedly owes its TBA status to concerns that construction won’t be completed by the Sept. 11-14 race dates.  If there are delays, rumors are that the race will be run the first year at Gainesville, Fla., Raceway.