Nashville Fairgrouds Speedway
Despite a deadline that passed over the weekend, Speedway Motorsports Inc. remains committed to obtaining the lease to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
It’s a goal that would likely result in the first NASCAR Cup Series race at the venerable downtown short track since 1984.
After several exploratory conversations in 2018, Speedway Motorsports began that process in earnest in February when it signed a letter of intent with Nashville Mayor John Cooper to bring NASCAR back to the city owned facility.
Any agreement is first subject to approval from the Fair Board of Commissioners and City Council before making its way to Cooper’s office.
There are still details concerning financing, noise mitigation and community engagement that need to be addressed before a formal pitch is made to the city.
The letter of intent had a provision that either party could walk away after July 31, but SMI president and chief operating officer Marcus Smith is still optimistic about securing the lease. A renovation process can’t begin at the speedway until one is formally presented the city and approved.
“We’re still continuing conversations and deliberations, all very positive, and making progress in Nashville for the Fairgrounds Speedway,” Smith said during an online press conference that introduced Rob Ramage as the senior vice president/general manager of Texas Motor Speedway.
The 0.596-mile track hosted at least one Cup race a year from 1958-84. The Busch Grand National Series raced there in 1984, ’88, 89 and from 1995-2000.
NASCAR, meanwhile, has yet to post a 2022 schedule but it’s expected to include Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas — which was promoted by SMI and Texas Motor Speedway. Despite a race marred by rain, the event was highly attendances, and took place at a modern facility in a coveted market.
Would SMI again promote that race in 2022?
“I’d love to give you a definitive answer on that, but we’re not completely ready to do that yet given that’s part of the overall (NASCAR) schedule,” Smith said.
“We had a really successful first event at COTA with NASCAR. COTA, we think, we can do it again and we’re working to that end but we’re not ready to give that a definitive answer yet.”
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