Alabama ’interested’ in US grand prix UPDATE #3 NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is helping design the oval course at the Alabama Motorsports Park, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway in Prichard. His stepbrother, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Kerry Earnhardt, is in charge of the bass fishing lake.
Both are among the feature venues planned for a $624 million motorsports and entertainment complex on 3,000 acres along Alabama 158 off Interstate 65 in Mobile County.
"Kerry is a fishing maniac," said Rick Skelton, an Atlanta-based investor in the park and himself a driver and car owner in the Grand American Road Racing Association. "The oval track is Dale Jr.'s baby."
Investors have been refining the master plan for the motorsports park, according to former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow, president of the investor group, Gulf Coast Entertainment LLC.
There will be four race tracks: a 7/10-mile, lighted oval track; a 3/8-mile dirt track; a 3½-mile road course; and a quarter-mile drag strip. Investors are working with HOK Sport of Kansas City, Kan., a national designer of sports facilities.
The site includes 2.1 miles of frontage on Alabama 158, much of which will be developed with retail, restaurants, several hotels and gas stations, according to the investors. A lifestyle center with entertainment venues will be also be built in the park.
"The track is the magnet," Dow said.
All four of the tracks will be built at the same time, with construction starting in early 2008, he said, and the tracks should be operating by the first quarter of 2010.
"All of our original concepts are still intact, including a 5,000-space RV park," Dow said.
Other features of the complex include four or five music halls ranging from 500 to 3,000 seats, similar to those found in Branson, Mo. A water park or theme park is possible, as is a 7,000- seat arena. There will also be land that could accommodate soccer and other ball fields. More at Press-Register12/16/06 MOBILE, Ala. — A $600 million Dale Earnhardt race track and entertainment complex will be built on 2,500 acres in the Prichard-Saraland area just north of Mobile, the track's investors announced Friday after ruling out two sites in south Baldwin County.
It could take about two years to build the four-track motorsports park off Alabama 158, near Interstate 65, with a full season of activity expected in 2010, track spokesman Bill Futterer of Raleigh, N.C., said. The chosen site faces the University of Mobile campus.
A 5,000-space RV park, a theme park and a 7,000-seat arena also are planned, along with hotels, retail, restaurants and music theaters. The site, while near the busy north-south I-65, also would benefit from its proximity to the east-west Interstate 10 on Mobile's southern edge.
Investors in the track include NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.; his brother, Kerry Earnhardt, a driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; and sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge.
It is the Earnhardt siblings' first professional collaboration. The 20 investor partners are operating as Gulf Coast Entertainment LLC.
The Earnhardts will help design the seven-tenths-mile, lighted oval track in the complex. There also will be a three-eighths-mile dirt track; a 3-mile road course; and a quarter-mile drag strip.09/13/06
- 7/10-mile lighted asphalt D-shaped oval with progressive banking on turns.
- Planned for ample front-stretch pit stalls and infield garage capacity for 100 haulers and cars
- 75,000 permanent seats, expandable to 125,000. Seating would include significant number of climate-controlled seats.
- Investigating potential of creating significant evacuation center using concrete flooring and seating.
- Track will be designed to accommodate stock car racing, open wheel racing and other applicable motorsports activities.
- 3/8-mile dirt track designed to attract national sprint car events.
- 3.5 mile road course in two distinct, but connecting, sections to provide for unique testing capabilities.
- Investigating drive-on, drive-off condo/garage combinations.
- Some climate-controlled seating planned in addition to permanent seating and traditional infield expanse used for road-racing spectators.
09/13/06 (GMM) An investor into a new motor racing circuit in Alabama (Alabama Motorsports Park) says the project is 'interested' in becoming home to a second United States GP.
- 1/4-mile drag strip designed to attract national drag racing events.
The consortium recently announced plans for an oval speedway and road course, probably to be situated in the coastal city of Mobile and built at a cost of $350m.
Staging a NASCAR race was the original target, but one of the investors was quoted as saying by The Press-Register: ''We're interested in Indy or formula one type races.
''We didn't want to just limit it to NASCAR. We thought if we had a road course, we could open it up for different types of events.''