Mooresville's Red Bull Racing closed down Thursday | Business
MOORESVILLE - In the next to last race of this year's Sprint Cup season, Kasey Kahne drove the Red Bull car to Victory Lane, but it was a bittersweet celebration.
The team it had lost its sponsor for next year, but tried to find another.
On Thursday there was confirmation that the plan to find a new sponsor didn't work out, so approximately 150 workers are out of a job.
It's the latest in a rough off season for race teams close to home.
A steady stream of cars and trucks left the employee parking lot at Red Bull Racing in Mooresville on Thursday.
Sources say the team is out of business as of today, and the sponsor web site confirms that Red Bull is no longer sponsoring this team.
VIDEO: Red Bull Racing closes
Red Bull remains active in other forms of motorsports, including Formula One.
The beverage company was involved in NASCAR for five years and compiled two victories.
Red Bull driver Brian Vickers posted on Facebook that "a day like today isn't easy," and that he wishes the best to everyone.
Vickers is also out of a job.
"I hate to see any of them shut down, I really do," said Jean Sheets, who was running the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame today, right across the street from the Red Bull shops. "Red Bull is a well known team and you hate to see those well known teams go under."
Racing insiders agree.
"Red Bull Racing which won a race this year and quite frankly was among the top five best teams down the stretch during the Chase, although they weren't in the Chase."
Sportswriter Ryan McGee from ESPN The Magazine notes that while lay-offs haven't been as traumatic as 2008, they have been surprising.
"This winter there is all this uncertainty and we don't know where it's all going to end," McGee added.
It has been tough on Race City.
The big industrial park just off Interstate 77 that includes the Hall of Fame, was created around and for race teams and fans, now there are many empty buildings or race shops converted to other uses.
Visitors can still hear the deep growl of race engines in the air, but not like it was prior to 2008.
And even when teams don't go out of business, Jean Sheets say they are cutting way back.
"A lot of them are laying off, even those staying in business are laying off people, cutting down on their employees," Sheets added.
And with the calendar racing towards Christmas, these lay-offs are especially difficult for families.
In 2008 it was estimated that between 1500 and 2000 jobs disappeared from the sport as a result of teams shutting down and sponsors going away.
This year, so far, that number is already estimated around 4-500.
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