So the owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway will move his huge NASCAR track from Concord, N.C., if he doesn't get a drag strip next door.
We, in York or Chester counties, deserve that speedway.
We are just as close to Charlotte and dislike Charlotte more than Concord does. Any place that has a top executive named Humpy, like the speedway does, well that person should make millions here. The estimate is Bruton Smith needs about 2,000 acres for his colossus. I asked a blue-ribbon committee made up of the first three people I found Thursday -- Herald staffers Adam O'Daniel, Barbara Barkley and Andy Burriss -- and after careful discussion, we decided to offer up the following:
1. The Anne Springs Close Greenway: There's plenty of land there in Fort Mill, and super access to Interstate 77. Plus, the signs are already up on the side of the road. Take a piece of silver duct tape, cover the "Green" part of Greenway, and write "Speed" on the tape with magic marker. Close I-77 between Carowinds and Exit 85 every Sunday and let the drag racers use it. There's plenty of crazy drivers already on that stretch of road. My car has broken down on that stretch so many times I know there is plenty of parking alongside or in the median.
Leave the dairy barn in the infield and let school kids who take trips to the greenway run across the track to get to the infield, which could house goats, chickens, cows and a transmission shop.
2. Baxter Village: Raze the entire Disneyesque wonderland that is Baxter. They already cut down most of the trees. Make the Starbucks a go-go lounge. Plus, there's a Love's Travel Plaza right down the street on Sutton Road complete with bathrooms -- male and female -- and a fried chicken stand.
3. Lake Wylie: The lake will be dried up in a matter of weeks. There's two options: Smith could blacktop the whole lake bed after the water dries up, or he could build the speedway on pontoons. If good, long rain ever comes back, he could float the speedway to Gaston County or Mecklenburg County and sell it for each race to the highest bidder.
4. Worth Mountain: Cut the top off that little mountain in western York County and put the speedway out there. The slogan: "200 mph on top of the Monadnock in the Boondocks."
5. The old Celanese property at Cherry Road: Instead of the planned retail, industrial and housing supersite envisioned by developers and politicians, put the track there where the chimneys used to be. Use the nearby Catawba River Bridge on U.S. 21 as the dragstrip.
6. Chester County: Dope growers have been caught several times growing hundreds of acres of pot on wide open land near I-77. Smith could build his track down there without anybody knowing -- the marijuana was only found by helicopter surveillance -- and maybe the infield could still be used for cash crop cultivation. Ingenious, if I don't say so myself.
7. Historic Brattonsville: Instead of re-enactors cluttering up the place every year and the continual money pit of restoring an old plantation, taking away money to be used for real tourist stuff, let the world's NASCAR fans descend on tiny McConnells. Use the infield for re-enacting the Battle of Huck's Defeat during the race. McConnells legend and state basketball scoring champ Ivory Latta waves the checkered flag.
8. District Three Stadium: Instead of a million dollar's worth of artificial turf and scoreboard, pave the sucker for a drag strip. Cheaper than turf, probably fewer knee injuries, too.
9. Downtown Rock Hill: The city banned jaywalking for safety, though. NASCAR fans are notorious jaywalkers.
10. The Textile Corridor: Rock Hill wants its historic mills between Winthrop and downtown to be the nexus of the tourist universe. What better heart than a dollar-pumping speedway and drag strip? The city could offer trolley rides, like they envision for the Textile Corridor. Can't you see it? The NASCAR fan in his Jeff Gordon T-shirt, tugging along the wheeled cooler filled with canned beer, good and cold, hopping on board a trolley to take him past art galleries and upscale restaurants that the smart people call eateries.
Bruton, call me, baby. I'm ready to broker a deal.