• 61°

NASCAR: No Humpy on charlotte’s 50th anniversary

By Mike Cranston
Associated Press
CONCORD ó As Lowe’s Motor Speedway celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend, the man who ran the track for more than three decades is attending the Indianapolis 500 instead.
There’s no end in sight to Humpy Wheeler’s feud with his old boss, track owner Bruton Smith.
“I thought after 33 years there that they would ask me to be there to be part of the celebration,” Wheeler said by phone Saturday from Indianapolis. “When they decided not to, I didn’t get bent out of shape. I wasn’t surprised. I thought about going fishing, but the people up here invited me.
“I certainly miss being at Charlotte and I’m going to miss seeing the drivers and the fans. You get to know a lot of people.”
Smith’s reasoning for Wheeler’s absence Saturday was that, “We don’t send invitations to anybody.” Smith then claimed their relationship turned sour last spring when Wheeler asked for a $5 million severance as they discussed his impending retirement.
“I think that his attitude changed when we said, ‘No, we can’t,’ ” Smith said.
Wheeler claimed a severance deal is common.
“I wanted a severance agreement which is pretty much what you do after someone has been there as long as I have,” Wheeler said. “I don’t remember the amount or it being anywhere near like that. I ended up not getting any severance pay at all.”
Smith said Wheeler is getting paid $13,500 a month as part of his retirement agreement, which includes $1,000 a month as a consultant even though “we weren’t going to consult with him about anything.” Smith said he also gave Wheeler a $560,000 check in November 2007 as a gift after selling a piece of property.
“I made Humpy a lot of money,” Smith said. “Humpy’s net worth is about $26 million now. I’m very proud of that. What else do you need?”
The feud comes after the two men helped create one of the top tracks in the country. Wheeler has been lauded as a leader in motorsports marketing, from introducing night racing at a superspeedway to orchestrating elaborate pre-race shows.
But Wheeler claimed after he told Smith of his retirement plans, Smith wanted to quickly replace him. It led to Wheeler announcing his retirement before last year’s Coca-Cola 600, a week earlier than Smith wanted.
Wheeler said he hasn’t spoken to Smith since.
“It was sad to see it end that way because we have done a lot of good things together,” Wheeler said. “We had a good team going there for a long time.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

Education

RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

Business

Inspired by advice from father-in-law, Angela Mills launches her own business in memory of him

Local

Rowan County Democrats re-elect leaders, pass resolutions

Local

Baseball: Memories come alive in Ferebee book

Local

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, local groups reflect on detecting abuse in a virtual world

Business

Biz Roundup: Small Business Center announces spring slate of workshop for business owners

Clubs

Kiwanis Pancake Festival starts Friday

Local

Rowan fire marshal seeks to clear up confusion, worry caused by solicitation letter

Education

Fun every day: Fifth anniversary for Yadkin Path Montessori School

Nation/World

Charles: Royal family ‘deeply grateful’ for support for Philip

News

North Carolina sites to resume J&J vaccines after CDC review

News

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Playoff time means get ready for ‘big-boy football’

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT