Gov. Mike Easley today signed into law Senate Bills 3 and 754, which provide funding for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex and allow for stock car racing theme special license plates to be issued. Easley signed the bills at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in Concord.

¿The motorsports industry is an important economic engine for the state of North Carolina, bringing in more than $1.5 billion each year and employing more than 10,000 hardworking North Carolinians,¿ said Easley. ¿These two bills send a strong signal that North Carolina is committed to this industry and its future here in our state.¿

Senate Bill 3 amends House Bill 1414 (Appropriations Bill) to increase the appropriation from the General Fund from $2 million to $4 million for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex. This facility will be owned and operated in conjunction with UNC Charlotte¿s automotive and engineering program.

¿As the motorsports industry continues to grow and gain popularity, competition from other states for this industry is becoming more intense,¿ said Easley. ¿Investing in the planning and design of this testing and research complex could result in drivers being able to practice on a state-of-the-art track without having to go out of the state or use a sanctioned track, such as the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.¿

Senate Bill 754 authorizes the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to issue a series of stock car racing theme special registration plates. Proceeds will go to the N.C. Motorsports Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research, tourism and economic development in the motorsports industry. The fund will be used to promote NASCAR and motorsports throughout the state.

The new series of license plates will have the NASCAR logo and the car numbers and signatures of at least 28 drivers. The plates will be available by the end of the year. Each plate will cost $30 plus license fees.