A #3 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr., a legendary figure in NASCAR history, is on exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History. The Richard Childress Racing #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet is a 2000 Monte Carlo body style. Photo credit: N.C. Museum of History
By Laura Leslie
Posted: 4:39 p.m. yesterday
Updated: 8:40 a.m. today
Heads up, hoops fans. State legislators want to name an official state sport – one that has nothing to do with brackets or boards or shades of blue.
Senate Bill 322 and its companion House Bill 333 would name stock car racing (as in NASCAR) NC's official state sport
From the measure:
"Whereas, stock car racing has played a significant role in the history, heritage, and culture of North Carolina; and
"Whereas, stock car racing leads the way in the motorsports industry in North Carolina; and...
"Whereas, North Carolina is the home of "The King," Richard Petty, stock car racing legend Junior Johnson, dubbed "The Last American Hero" by writer Tom Wolfe, and seven‑time champion, the late Dale Earnhardt..."
State lawmakers seem drawn to these symbolic rivalries. They've been fighting for years over whether vinegar or tomato barbecue should carry the official state sanction. There was the official "red berry" versus "blue berry" skirmish. And who could forget the battle between the "snot otter" and the bullfrog for the title of official state amphibian?
But filing this bill during the NCAA playoffs? That's taking it to a whole new level.
Then again, racing is the family business of one of the Senate sponsors, Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt. More here.
UPDATE: Another sponsor, Sen. Tom Apodaca, says the bill is the project of a 4th-grade class. He says lawmakers are hoping to bring the class to Raleigh for a real-life civics lesson.
"But after watching Duke play this weekend," Apodaca joked, "I'm considering running a committee substitute to make Blue Devil basketball the state sport. I don't think I have the votes, though."
AN ACT to adopt stock car racing as the official sport of north carolina.
Whereas, stock car racing has played a significant role in the history, heritage, and culture of North Carolina; and
Whereas, stock car racing leads the way in the motorsports industry in North Carolina; and
Whereas, the motorsports industry has a six billion dollar economic impact in North Carolina annually and creates over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs; and
Whereas, North Carolina continues to grow and advance the grass roots of the sport of stock car racing with over 30 short tracks located throughout the State hosting over 700 events per year; and
Whereas, North Carolina educates and trains individuals in its University system and Community College system for jobs in stock car racing; and
Whereas, North Carolina is the home of the coveted stock car racing NASCAR Hall of Fame and the NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame; and
Whereas, North Carolina is the home of more than 90 percent of NASCAR Sprint Cup stock car race teams; and
Whereas, the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts three stock car races annually in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, more than any Sprint Cup events held annually in any other state, and Charlotte Motor Speedway brings more than one million visitors to North Carolina each year; and
Whereas, North Carolina is the home of "The King," Richard Petty, stock car racing legend Junior Johnson, dubbed "The Last American Hero" by writer Tom Wolfe, and seven‑time champion, the late Dale Earnhardt; and
Whereas, North Carolina is the home of stock car racing and North Carolina is committed to the continued growth and popularity of the sport; and
Whereas, stock car racing should be adopted as the State's official sport; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 145‑33. State sport.
Stock car racing is adopted as the official sport of North Carolina."
SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.