2023 viewed as ‘soonest’ for NASCAR at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

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Conversations continue for Speedway Motorsports to bring NASCAR racing to Fairgrounds Speedway even though the deadline from a letter of intent expired July 31.

Speedway Motorsports Chief Executive Officer Marcus Smith said Wednesday that he felt good about the ongoing conversations with Nashville officials. He noted the “soonest” the track could host a NASCAR weekend would be 2023.

The city of Nashville and Speedway Motorsports agreed to a letter of intent March 4. Either side could terminate the letter of intent if an agreement was not reached by July 31. Both sides are moving forward.

MORE: Chase Elliott makes impassioned plea to bring Cup back to Fairgrounds

“We’re still continuing conversations and deliberations, all very positive, and making progress in Nashville for the Fairgrounds Speedway,” Smith said during a media session that introduced Rob Ramage as the senior vice president/general manager of Texas Motor Speedway.

A deal would permit Speedway Motorsports, through Bristol Motor Speedway, to be the track’s promoter.

The Nashville Fair Commissioners Board and Metro Board must approve an agreement.

The 0.596-mile track hosted at least one Cup race a year from 1958-84. The Xfinity Series raced there in 1984, ’88, 89 and from 1995-2000.

A rendering of Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville that Bristol Motor Speedway presented in a public meeting May 11. (Photo: Bristol Motor Speedway)

NASCAR is expected to return to the speedway once a deal is done and renovations to the facility are completed

Among the renovations the track would need before it could host NASCAR would be sound barriers to reduce the noise for nearby neighbors, who have spoken against the plan during fair board meetings.

Also, NASCAR has yet to release the 2022 schedule, but indications are that the series will return to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Speedway Motorsports served as the promoter for the NASCAR weekend in May. Despite rain, the Cup race’s attendance was lauded.

Asked Wednesday if Speedway Motorsports would again serve as the promoter for that event, Smith said:

“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.

“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.”