Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

Here’s why Bristol lost bid to operate Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway

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A late bid by Bristol Motor Speedway to operate Fairgrounds Speedway was rejected Thursday by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville (Tennessee) and Davidson County.

An intent to award the bid to Tony Formosa to continue running the track was issued Thursday. The Tennessean reported that the city would offer Formosa a 5-year contract.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s bid had received support on Twitter from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott, among others.

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County released its reasoning Friday based off an evaluation on the four bids. Bristol Motor Speedway’s bid ranked third.

In the comments for the Bristol bid, the government report stated: “The proposal relies on Metro capital funding commitment for improvements with no financial contribution from the proposer (“As the facility owner, it would be desired that Metro would fully fund the renovation capital costs”); shared revenue would be Metro’s share of sales tax only with no lease payments or direct revenue to The Fairgrounds; 30-year lease not desirable; lacked details throughout the entire diversity plan.’’

In a statement from Bristol Motor Speedway after the bid was awarded: “Since news of Bristol Motor Speedway’s interest in Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway became public, the groundswell of local and national support for our vision to bring NASCAR back to Nashville has been humbling. We along with the entire racing community have a deep respect for the Fairgrounds Speedway history and would love to renew its tradition through NASCAR national series events as well as local races. We believe that the historic Fairgrounds racetrack can again become a premier destination that builds on the strengths and traditions of Nashville. We hope there will be future conversations with the city about how Bristol Motor Speedway is well-positioned to help accomplish these goals.”

As for the winning bid by Formosa, the government report stated:  “Detailed plan evaluation criteria section was slightly less detailed and comprehensive; demonstrated a strong understanding of neighborhood impacts and the fair board operations; proposed the highest guaranteed lease payment for proposed motor sport and non-motor sport events; proposed creative non-motor sport events to activate speedway on non-race days; committed more towards revenue while providing less guarantee towards improvements; while the funding amount of $500,000 for improvements was not the highest, it did not rely on any Metro funding that may or may not be available; considerations of noise reduction.’’

The bid by Formosa was given an evaluation score of 78.25 of 100. Bristol Motor Speedway’s bid scored 50.50. A bid from Alexander Racing scored 74.50, and a bid by Alabama Track Ventures LLC scored 48.30.

The evaluation scored up to 40 points for detailed plan, 35 points for qualifications and experience, 20 points for financing proposal and five points for diversity plan. Bristol Motor Speedway scored the lowest (15 points out of 40) for its detailed plan. It also ranked last in its financing proposal (10 points of 20).

Intent to Award Letter and Justification document 

 

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Sam Bass, famed paint scheme and race program designer, dies

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Sam Bass, the artist known for designing many iconic NASCAR paint schemes and race programs, died Saturday.

His wife Denise confirmed Bass’ passing on Twitter. He was 57.

Bass, who designed Jeff Gordon’s striking “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme, had spent the last few years looking for a new kidney. That was a result of a sepsis infection that originated in a blister on his left foot in 2005 and led to a below-the-knee amputation in 2008. Bass also had Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29.

Bass was inspired to become a NASCAR artist when he was 7 after attending his first race at Southside Speedway in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

“I was so amazed that night not only by the excitement and watching those cars run around and beat and bang on each other, but also the color – how all the cars were painted so many different colors,” Bass told NBC Sports in 2017. “I was like, ‘How cool is this?’ I couldn’t wait to get home to pull out my markers.”

The first car Bass designed was Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life car in 1988. That car went on to win the Daytona 500.

He went on to design the first Cup schemes for Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bass first designed a race program for the 1985 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He designed programs for it and other Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks through 2018.

Marcus Smith, the CEO and President of SMI, issued the following statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Denise and her family today. Sam Bass has been a significant part of NASCAR’s history. He poured his heart, soul and talent into producing souvenir program covers at many speedways including Charlotte for more than 30 years. His work provided our fans a keepsake to treasure, and that was so appropriate, because Sam was always such a fan of our sport and he was such a treasure to the entire NASCAR family. His body of work will be a legacy that lives forever. We will miss Sam’s smile and positivity.”

NASCAR issued the following statement.

“Though he may have never turned a lap or a wrench, few captured the essence of our sport through his work more than Sam Bass. He was a consistent presence in the NASCAR garage, and his ever-present smile and endearing personality welcomed all. Though we have lost a member of the NASCAR family, his legend will continue in his art – all of which illustrated the greatness of our sport and the talent of a true friend.”

Michael McDowell leads final Daytona 500 practice

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Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell was fastest in the final practice session for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

McDowell and his No. 34 Ford recorded nine laps and a top speed of 191.440 mph.

The top five was completed by Ty Dillon (191.432 mph), pole-sitter William Byron (191.339), Alex Bowman (191.278) and Daniel Hemric (190.921).

Only 20 cars made at least one lap in the session.

Kurt Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 16 and was 11th on the speed chart at 189.741 mph.

Of four drivers to make a 10-lap run, Bowman had the best average at 190.334 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for the practice report.

Jeffrey Earnhardt honors grandfather Dale Earnhardt with helmet design

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Xfinity Series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is honoring the “GOAT” in his family with a helmet he’s debuting this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The “GOAT” – or “Greatest of All-Time” – is his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

The helmet, which you can see below, bears an image of the seven-time Cup champion riding a horse while shirtless and wearing a cowboy hat.

Next to the image is the text, “Just a goat on his horse!”

Earnhardt will have the helmet today as he starts on the front row of the Xfinity Series season opener (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).

It is the first of nine Xfinity races he’ll start for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

MORE: Jeffrey Earnhardt ready for challenge of winning in Xfinity

Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off the 2019 season today with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The 38-car field will feature defending series champion Tyler Reddick, who seeks to become the first driver to defend his Xfinity championship since Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won in 2011 and repeated in 2012.

Here’s how today’s pre-race schedule looks:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Drew Patey, VIP Partner of the NASCAR Racing Experience, at 2:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:49 p.m.

PRERACE CEREMONIES: Driver introductions begin at 2:10 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:30 p.m. by Sonny Gallman, Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. The National Anthem will be at 2:31 p.m. and sung by Gina Marie Incandela.

DISTANCE: The race is 120 laps (300 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at MRN.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for cloudy skies with a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won last year’s season-opening race. He started 11th and led 11 laps en route to the victory.

TO THE REAR: Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick will start from the rear after changing a tire with an air leak. Max Tullman also will start from the rear for a tire change. Jeremy Clements, unapproved adjustments.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.