SPECIAL REPORT: Banking on NASCAR - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

SPECIAL REPORT: Banking on NASCAR

Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT
Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT
Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Six figure crowds. Speeds of 200 miles per hour. And Jackson city leaders see it right off I-55.

“We have gotten farther along than what I thought,” says Ward 6 City Councilman Aaron Banks. “Something that looked like it was a far-fetched dream, is closer and closer to a reality.”

Banks is steering the project for the city of Jackson. They envision a wooded area off I-55 south near the Elton Road Exit backing up to the Pearl River as the future home of a NASCAR track. Banks tells MSNewsNow the area is designated as a flood zone.

“Attracting a base to come here with an anchor sport like NASCAR, then now we get an opportunity to showcase what Jackson is,” says Banks. “We’ve had festivals, but we haven’t had that anchor thing that would just bring people into Jackson.”

Dock Cooper is the CEO of Agape Community Development Corporation. His interest in bringing NASCAR to Jackson dates back to the 1st Lumumba administration, viewing it as a way to expose the city’s youth to different career paths.

“We’re used to seeing 60 to 70,000 people, whether that’s at Mississippi State or Ole Miss games,” says Cooper. “But it’s a whole different atmosphere when you have 200,000 people that are inside or outside of a facility, and the economic is huge to the city.”

Project leaders have found an ally in Max Siegel. The former president of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Siegel now owns “Rev Racing”, the driving force behind NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. 

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba believes Jackson has what NASCAR is looking for.  

“We understand that our interests converge.” says Mayor Lumumba. “NASCAR having the interest of trying to broaden their demographics, and Jackson having the interest in economic development. If the effort of NASCAR is truly to create new exposure, then we see no better place than Jackson, Mississippi.”

What kind of economic boom would NASCAR be for Jackson?

Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch, in a recent interview with Yellowhammer News, says 73 percent of the 400,000 attending two races there last year traveled from out of state, and an average of 300 miles. And Yellowhammer cites an Auburn University at Montgomery study showing Talladega’s $1.77 billion impact on Alabama’s economy since 2014.

But Jackson’s dream of NASCAR remains in neutral, pending the results of a feasibility study later this year.

“We’re sure, we’re quite sure, just based off of research and looking at other cities that it would work well here,” says Banks. “But again, doing this feasibility study is a big part for getting other stakeholders that want to sign on to help make this happen.”  

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