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Speedway Motorsports Inc. tries to return NASCAR to Nashville

Geoff Bodine was the last NASCAR Cup Series race winner at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville in July 1984 (photo courtesy of ISC Archives via Getty Images).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Speedway Motorsports inc., through Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, cast a bid for control of Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., last year but lost to Tony Formosa. The track ownership company, though, isn’t giving up on returning big-time NASCAR racing to Music City.

“We remain very interested in exploring ways that our company could work with you to bring high-profile national racing events to Nashville and restore the Nashville Fairgrounds to national prominence,” Smith wrote in a letter to Nashville Mayor David Briley, as quoted by Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean.

SMI President Marcus Smith has met with Formosa at least twice and Briley about a deal to host races at the city-owned, half-mile track. When Smith submitted his bid last year, he asked for a 30-year lease. According to an Auto Week article, that request played into his loss in the auction. Formosa has controlled the facility since 2010 on a year-by-year basis.

Meanwhile, Nashville city government is exploring options for a home for its recently acquired Major League Soccer franchise. One plan includes the construction of a complex at the fairgrounds. Smith has expressed his ability to work alongside the new soccer team.

SMI owns eight tracks that host Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, including Bristol. For a Cup Series race at Fairgrounds Speedway to become a reality, SMI would likely have to move a date from one of its other tracks. There may be room on the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck series schedules to add dates, though.

Another obstacle is the cost of needed renovations. To bring the facility to NASCAR national-level standards, a SAFER Barrier would need to be installed, along with additional fan seating and a modernized medical facility. The cost of those renovations has been estimated at more than $20 million. Smith wants the city to foot the bill; however Big Machine Records founder Scott Borchetta has stepped forward with an offer to assist.

Fairgrounds Speedway, formerly called Nashville Speedway USA, hosted NASCAR’s premier series until 1984 and continued to host other national-series races through 2000 when Nashville Superspeedway opened in nearby Lebanon, Tenn. Nashville Superspeedway has since shuttered operations and the land on which it sat has been sold.

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Posted by on August 30, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR,NASCAR Camping World Truck,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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