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GOVERNOR WARNER ANNOUNCES FIRST MAJOR RESULT OF VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS INITIATIVE
-HT Motorsports to relocate race team to Henry County and create 75 jobs-
RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck team HT Motorsports will relocate from Harrisburg, North Carolina to Henry County creating 75 new jobs through a $400,000 investment. In addition, HT Motorsports will partner with Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and Arrington Manufacturing to construct the Virginia Motorsports Technology Center (VMTC) to house the race team as well as an expanded PHCC motorsports workforce development program.
Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel joined HT Motorsports Owner Jim Harris and local officials at a press conference at the Martinsville Speedway this morning prior to the Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Series Truck Race.
“Today is a positive step toward our goal of attracting and growing a dynamic motorsports industry in Virginia,” said Governor Warner. “This decision by HT Motorsports showcases the Commonwealth as the preferred location for engine builders, component makers, race car teams, and other businesses in the fast-growing motorsports industry.”
HT Motorsports will initially operate within the Arrington Manufacturing facility at Henry County’s Patriot Centre business park. The team will become a tenant of VMTC when it is constructed in late 2004. HT Motorsports will employ 75 people over the first 30 months, paying an average of $16 an hour. The team will also invest $400,000 in machinery, equipment and site improvements. HT Motorsports operates the No. 59 Dodge truck in the Craftsman Truck Series. Its driver is Mark McFarland, one of the rising stars in the industry. McFarland was the 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series champion and is in his first year with HT Motorsports.
“We are glad to be able to move back to Virginia,” said HT Motorsports Owner Jim Harris. “We are really excited about the partnership with Patrick Henry Community College to develop VMTC here in Martinsville-Henry County. The people here, and the people who will be drawn by this program, will make this a success. The Commonwealth and the community worked extremely hard to build an aggressive relocation proposal. The ‘can-do’ attitude was impressive.”
VMTC will be constructed by Arrington Manufacturing and will be adjacent to Arrington’s current facility in Patriot Centre. The $1.2 million, 50,000-square-foot-facility will also house PHCC’s advanced motorsports curriculum, which will include training in all phases of accelerated motorsports performance technology. The advanced curriculum is scheduled to be offered in January 2005.
“This new venture falls in line perfectly with the racing history of Martinsville and Henry County,” said PHCC president Max Wingett. “PHCC stands ready to do our part to make this a success.”
The Henry County Office of Commerce was instrumental in securing these projects for Virginia. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership negotiated an incentive package to secure the project for Virginia. The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth will contribute $100,000 toward building construction costs. Henry County obtained $50,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to support the projects. The company is eligible to receive further tax credits through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development because it is locating in an enterprise zone. HT Motorsports will also take advantage of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance’s Workforce Services Program.
“We are excited about bringing HT Motorsports and the Virginia Motorsports Technology Center to the area,” said David Davis, Chairman of the Henry County Board of
Supervisors. “Martinsville-Henry County have embraced auto racing for nearly 60 years, ever since Martinsville Speedway opened in 1947. This is a natural fit for our community and one we hope will lead to more announcements like this one today.”
Governor Warner launched the Virginia Motorsports Initiative in August 2003. The statewide initiative, comprised of public and private sector partners, promotes and supports motorsports activities in Virginia as a means for economic development.