On the morning of August 28, 2014, the National Corvette Museum officially opened the NCM Motorsports Park, a 3.15 mile race facility in Bowling Green, KY.
A very large contingent of Corvette owners and enthusiasts were on hand to hear from Corvette Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode, along with the special guest representatives from Michelin, Mobil 1, Holley and Corvette Racing.
It’s amazing that the groundbreaking for the new facility was just over a year ago in June 2013. At the time, the goal was simply to have the two mile west track completed. But with the support of individuals, sponsors and those one-acre donors, the track will open with both the two mile west track and the the one mile east track completed, which combines into a 3.15 mile grand course. In addition, special financing allowed the track to fully pave 22 acres for the paddock/skid pad area.
Wendell kicked off the ceremony by going through some of the steps taken to get the Motorsports Park product off the ground. The stage was loaded with special guests and sponsors and each took a turn to discuss their vision as to why they were there to support the NCM Motorsports Park.
Silvia Mammone, motorsports and sponsorship marketing manager, Michelin North America. Michelin was the first major sponsor announced during the NCM’s Bash in late April and they will retain the title as the Motorsports Park official tire. The door for Michelin to become part of Corvette’s history was opened through the racing program. Today, all production Corvettes coming off the line in Bowling Green are wearing Michelin tires.
Tom Kise from Holley Performance spoke about the long history of Holley and Corvettes and they are excited partnered with the Museum and the Motorsports Park in their hometown of Bowling Green. Holley will have their logo on the Race Tower and other signage around the track as part of their sponsorship agreement.
David Tsurusaki of Exxon-Mobil was introduced and he announced that Mobil 1 has become a sponsor of the new track. Mobil 1 has been the factory’s choice for motor oil since the original LT1 engine and they have also been part of the Corvette Racing program for 18 years. David also announced a new addition for the Mobil 1 exhibit inside the Museum, a refurbished Pegasus neon sign which will be installed next month.
Finally, Doug Fehan of Corvette Racing was recognized for all the work he did. Not only did he help define the vision of the motorsports park, but his embrace of the project really pushed the fundraising efforts into overdrive and it helped kick off the one-acre memberships.
Doug talked about how this facility is a dream come true as it was built on the backs and shoulders of Corvette owners and enthusiasts:
“It is personally for me a dream come true. To be here today, standing up here, addressing you, looking out to see what you have created, is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I couldn’t be more pleased, race team is pleased, and as passion spreads, bringing on Mobil, bringing on Michelin, bringing on Holley. Think about the mountain that had to be climbed just from the community. When you had to get the land, get the approval. Building a race track today is virtually impossible in the United States, virtually impossible…and yet Wendell has led the group that achivied that, driven also by what? Your passion. And now to be here today, one of the greatest honors of my career, I want to thank all of you for giving us this, Thank you.”
While the track is now officially opened, there is still work to be done. Wendell says that architectural plans are being finalized for the control tower, conference center and administrative offices. There will also be a building hosting 18 garages anchored by a racing garage/technical center. A pavilion will be built between the tower and garages and there are more garages planned as well. The NCM also holds an option on 219 acres that could be used to further grow the track in the future.
Here’s a gallery of the photos from the event and our video of the entire opening ceremony is available as well.
NCM Motorsports Park Names Road and Pavilion in Memory of Kimberlee Fast
Ron Fellows Performance Driving School Partners with the NCM Motorsports Park
Corvette Enthusiast Ed Glazer Sponsors the Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park Skid Pad
Corvette Central to Sponsor the Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park