MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. and three other current and former NASCAR drivers’ takeover of a grassroots racing series could have a big impact on the economy. The four NASCAR stars have taken over ownership of the CARS Tour, based in Mooresville.

The CATS Tour is where NASCAR drivers can get their start. Charlotte’s own William Byron and Ty Gibbs raced there before making it big in NASCAR. The series also gives some of the smallest towns in the Carolinas a chance for economic growth a few weekends every year.

The series is more than just fast cars and future stars. Every season the CARS tour races at homegrown short tracks across the Carolinas. This year 16 races will be in North or South Carolina.

Justin Marks is already a team owner in NASCAR with Pitbull. He can now add CARS Tour series owner to his resume, alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton.

“Grassroots racing in America is the foundation for all of the motorsports that you see live on television on the weekends,” said Marks.

The CARS Tour is the definition of grassroots racing. Drivers are racing for the love of the sport, not dollars.

“I sort of liken it to high school football. My high school football coach used to tell us this is the purest form of the game. You’re not making any money, you’re doing it because you love it,” said Marks.

Fans love the CARS Tour too. The series sold out an event at North Wilkesboro Speedway this past summer. It was the first time the track sold out since it closed in 1996.

Of course, Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced, which helped put fans in seats. So could we see Justin Marks do the same?

“I think it’s incredibly fun, I am not very good at it,” said Marks.

Competing in the series isn’t the focus for the four new owners. Their expertise in racing will be used to help the series thrive. Motorsports as a whole, not just NASCAR, has a $6 billion economic impact in North Carolina.

“It’s about amplifying those teams and drivers who race every week in that series and just try and give them the biggest opportunity to be successful,” said Marks.

The North Carolina Motorsports Association says there are 25,000 direct and indirect jobs related to motorsports in the Tarheel state.