R.I.P.: Mobile-area NASCAR Track Sold

The proposed NASCAR track for Mobile is officially dead.

In 2006, Dale Earnhardt Jr. flew into Mobile to announce a $640-million motorsports park which included an oval speedway, a road course, a dirt track and a drag strip, along with an RV park, restaurants and other entertainment venues. Former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow was a part of the investor group,
Gulf Coast Entertainment.

The project never got much further and than a bunch of pretty drawings. Gulf Coast Entertainment eventually turned the property over to Compass Bank to avoid foreclosure. Recently a new investor group paid $3.2 million for the 1,600 acres at the former auto race track site off Ala. 158 in Prichard and Mobile County, according to court records.

For much of the last decade, the City of Mobile was hailed as the economic development dynamo that the rest of the region envied. Former Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine was a frequent speaker here. He touted his area’s bid with Northrup Grumman for the Air Force Air Tankers, the NASCAR track and the Thyssen-Krupp plant.

Today, Nodine is standing trial for the murder of his girlfriend. Boeing beat out Northrup Grumman for the contract and the NASCAR track never was built. However Thyssen-Krupp plant was completed — $4 billion capital investment.

Pensacola is getting the buzz now -thanks to its re-energized Chamber and Mayor Ashton Hayward. Can they move beyond press releases and ribbon-cuttings and actually deliver? Only time will tell.