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2011-10-27 digital edition

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2011-10-27 / Front Page

Stock Car Racing Coming to Lee County

Could Bring Million Dollar Boost to Local Economy

Julie Irwin-Cotton of Paige and Danny Bennett of Austin announced this week their plans to host a Ground Breaking Ceremony on November 12 for a $1.5 million race track facility scheduled to open in March 2012, that will not only host stock car racing, but also concerts and other events. The 3/8 mile track will boast grandstands that can hold up to 3500 people.

The project is expected to produce 12 to 13 full time jobs immediately, and is projected to create up to 50 jobs within three to four years.

The track, dubbed Julie Irwin’s Cotton Bowl Speedway, will be located at 4667 US 290 West at the intersection of US Highway 290 and CR 202. Part of the facility is in Lee County and part is in Bastrop County.

Bennett, developer and 30-year veteran of professional race car driving, said, “At this point in our design, both the gate that takes in money and the concession stand will be in Lee County. However, the economic boost will affect both Lee and Bastrop Counties. A large portion of our participants and customers will need overnight facilities and should provide a boost for the hotel/motel industry, as well as the tourist industry in both counties.”

Bennett said, “The Speedway will feature a 3/8 mile high banked clay oval 75 feet wide, which is equal to the width of three traffic lanes. The racers will be driving cars with 600 to 800 horsepower that travel at speeds up to 170 mph. We will have 30 races per season, which runs from March through October, every Saturday night. There will be 90 to 120 competitors each night, which will include qualifying races. The track will be surrounded by a four foot concrete wall and a 16 foot steel fence to protect spectators.”

Bennett also said they plan to involve area high schools, including Lexington and Giddings, to be a part of the Julie- Irwin “HOPE” program (Helping Others Pursue Education). This is a 12 school program competing in a front wheel drive class known as the Big 12 Showdown. Participating students will be required to work on their schools’ cars and keep the cars race ready. Up to $30 thousand worth of scholarships will be awarded to the schools at the end of the race season.

The ground breaking will be November 12, at 10 a.m. at the Cotton Bowl Speedway location.

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