Is Rockingham Speedway deal in the works? Attorneys break after 2-hour session

Previous coverage
Sept. 18: Bank requests ‘immediate and exclusive custody’ of Speedway

By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — Attorneys for Farmers and Merchants Bank, Bill Silas, Andy Hillenburg and Rockingham Racing Park LLC met Thursday afternoon in Richmond County Superior Court.

This photo, taken from, shows an aerial view of the former NASCAR championship track.

This photo, taken from, shows an aerial view of the former NASCAR championship track.

A hearing to consider the motion of moving one step closer to foreclosure was on the docket for 2 p.m. Attorneys for all three sides, however, met in small conference rooms outside Courtroom E on the third floor of the Richmond County Judicial Center in Rockingham in order to try and salvage a deal.

What that deal might be is, as of 4:10 p.m., unknown. At 3:52 p.m., bank attorney David M. Schilli asked Judge W. David Lee to grant an extension of the restraining order that prevents Hillenburg, Silas or anyone from Rockingham Racing Park LLC to enter the premises at 2152 U.S. Highway 1 North. Schilli asked for that extension to be granted “for a very brief period of time.”

Schilli said he hoped to have a new motion filed by the end of the business day, 5 p.m., with the Clerk of Superior Court. Update 5:15 p.m.: A new motion was not filed. Lee continued the case. A new date has not yet been set.

Lee consented.

“I’ll be pleased to stay here until that’s accomplished,” Lee said.

After Lee met with attorneys from all four parties for nearly 20 minutes, Lee said he felt the discussion was “going in the right direction.”

According to court records, Hillenburg and Silas owed $4,532,796.23 as of Aug. 8.

* * * 

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Along with the aforementioned parties, including track co-woners Bill Silas and Andy Hillenburg, County Manager Rick Sago and Steve Futrell, county attorney, all parties gathered in the hallway of the third floor outside Courtroom E.

At 2:07 p.m., Hillenburg’s attorney asked Lee for additional time.

“We’re working hard at it,” he told Lee, declined to elaborate on what “it” was.

Lee agreed to wait and exited the courtroom at 2:08 p.m.

At 3:14 p.m., one of the attorneys left the sidebar conference and came into the courtroom to get Craig Northacker. Northacker is a forensic certified public accountant and executive director with, an organization that aims to assist American military service members from separation of service through stable, good-paying jobs. The idea is to rejuvenate the American economy through veteran leadership and labor, Northacker said.

“Did I make my point,” asked Northacker, who said he had approached the attorneys about an opportunity for the future of the speedway.

“Yes, I think you did,” the attorney responded.

The attorney and  Northacker left the courtroom. Six minutes later, attorneys for all sides re-entered Courtroom E. At 3:22 p.m., Lee asked the attorneys for all sides to meet him in a private office as he disposed of a couple of unrelated cases.

At 3:33 p.m., Lee left the bench and went into the private office to meet with the attorneys.

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