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700 jobs lost as recession hits motorsports in N.C.
The economic downturn, dwindling sponsorships and the Car Of Tomorrow have all been blamed for the layoffs plaguing the local motorsports industry in recent months.

For fans around the world, it's been a nail-biting experience to see whether their favorite NASCAR team will survive. It's too early to know what the long-term fallout will be, but the decline of one of Iredell County's biggest industries is going to pack a big punch during the coming year.

Mooresville, known as Race City USA, will absorb the heaviest blow to its work force and economy.

Russell Rogerson, an economic developer for the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation, said that it would take a comprehensive study to determine an exact dollar amount.

Motorsports are a $6.5 billion industry in North Carolina, with the Charlotte region accounting for $5 billion of that figure.

More than 700 racing-related jobs have been lost in recent weeks, and more layoffs are possible in 2009, according to the N.C. Motorsports Association.

Layoffs have been announced at Hendricks Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

And Gillett Evernham Motorsports in Statesville let 65 employees go in November when the team decided to scale back its Nationwide Series operations because it didn't have enough sponsorship in place to run the full Nationwide schedule.

Mooresville has 120 motorsports-related companies, which provide more than 2,000 jobs. Other businesses from catering companies to car detailing businesses have customers who work at the race shops. More at Winston-Salem Journal

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