Winston-Salem, NC-- Lifelong race fans at Bowman Gray stadium welcome the idea of Richard Childress taking over ownership.
What comes to mind when you hear Bowman Gray Stadium? For many it's one of two things: Winston-Salem State University football or Bowman Gray Racing.
Earlier this week, the state denied Winston-Salem State University the loan they needed to buy the stadium. The news was welcomed by some lifelong race fans who have another buyer in mind.
News 2's Liz Crawford spoke to race fans over the weekend who love the idea one of their own taking over the facility, which is currently owned by the city of Winston-Salem.
"You race other tracks but Bowman Gray is kind of like home away from home. The fans here bring you here every week and it's just the family and the atmosphere," said Michelle Clifton.
For Michelle Clifton, racing at Bowman Gray is all she knows. In the past 40 years, she and her family have spent just about every Saturday there.
"It truly is a family track and we kind of committed as a family that we would make this a family thing," said Clifton.
She's committed in the stands while her husband, son, and daughter are committed on the track. They all race their own cars.
Angela Smith is another lifelong race fan.
"There's people racing here now that were racing here when I was a kid coming over here," said Smith.
Angela Smith's memories of Bowman Gray date back to the 70's. Nowadays she proudly watching her husband from the stands.
"My husband, Randy is a flagman," said Smith.
Angela said there's something about Bowman Gray that keeps the racing roots alive.
"It's about the competition here, just getting the checkered flag," said Smith.
Both Angela Smith and Michelle Clifton want that checkered flag to stay at Bowman Gray and they think Richard Childress can make it happen.
News 2 spoke with David Hart, Corporate Communications Director for RCR.
Hart said, "Richard has a long history, he basically grew up in this area, got into racing back in the probably mid to late 50's going to Bowman Gray stadium with his family."
Without saying what they plan to do with it, Hart told News 2 that his boss wouldn't mind owning it.
As far as race fans are concerned, Richard Childress just might be the best fit for the job.
He's from here, he has ties here, it's part of the history. It's in his blood just like it is everybody else's here," said Smith.
Regardless of ownership, Winston-Salem State University football and racing aren't going anywhere, at least not for a while. Both have thirty year leases to use the property.
Winston-Salem State told News 2 they were disappointed by the state legislature's decision not to loan them the money to purchase the property. A rep said if no one buys Bowman Gray between now and the beginning of next year, they'll ask the state to reconsider.
WFMY News 2