Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

SMI ‘continuing conversations’ to bring NASCAR back to Nashville Fairgrounds

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If NASCAR ever returns to Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, it could be in the form of an Xfinity, Camping World Truck Series race weekend, according to a report by The Tennessean.

Tony Formosa, the track’s promoter, told Nashville’s Metro Board of Fair Commissioners Tuesday that Speedway Motorsports Inc. has expressed interest in the races but warned talks are “still very premature.”

“We haven’t even come close to reaching an (agreement),” Formosa told The Tennessean.

“I’d like to be the guy that brings NASCAR back to the Fairgrounds Speedway, obviously. I don’t want to be the guy that keeps NASCAR from coming back to Fairgrounds Speedway. I think that it would be good for our city and obviously good for our speedway.”

Formosa is in the first year of a five-year agreement to run the .596-mile track after beating Bristol Motor Speedway’s bid last year. Bristol is owned by SMI.

Fairgrounds Speedway last hosted a Cup race in 1984 and Xfinity and Truck Series races in 2000.

“We continue to see a lot of potential at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway in a statement to NBC Sports. “Now seems to be the right time for meaningful preservation of the great local short-track racing and modernization of the historic facility. We look forward to continuing conversations with the Formosas, the fair board and Metro on how we can all work together to bring NASCAR racing back to Nashville.”

Laura Womack, Executive Director of The Fairgrounds Nashville, provided NBC Sports the following statement.

“I can confirm that Mr. Formosa discussed briefly his interactions with SMI at our Tuesday Board meeting. What I cannot comment on is the full nature of those discussions as they are between Formosa Productions and SMI at this time. That said, we are aware of SMI’s interest in the speedway both from a racing perspective and facility upgrades this potential partnership could bring. We will participate more fully, along with Metro, in those discussions at the appropriate time.”

MORE: NASCAR President says “Everything is in play” regarding series scheduling

The Tennessean reported Tuesday’s board meeting also addressed potential World of Outlaws events at the track, with the series visiting the track for two weeks in May. That would bring the total number of races held at the track to 11 annually.

Fair board commissioner Jason Bergeron shared concerns about the track hosting too many races.

“That’s the thing that’s given me pause a little bit is I don’t know where we are with Bristol,” Bergeron said according to the The Tennessean. “It’s suddenly a lot of weekends. I’m kind of just wondering about where we’re heading.”

Three Xfinity crew chiefs suspended for lug nut violations at Bristol

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NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has suspended three Xfinity crew chiefs for lug nuts that were not secured at the end of last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Matt Swiderski, Austin Cindric‘s crew chief, was fined $20,000 and suspended three races because Cindric’s car had three lug nuts not secured at the end of the race. The team has been penalized 35 driver and owner points. Even with the penalty, Cindric remains in a playoff position. He is 110 points ahead of Michael Annett, the first driver outside a playoff spot, with four races left in the regular season.

Jason Miller, Spencer Boyd‘s crew chief, was fined $20,000 and suspended three races because Boyd’s car had three loose lug nuts not secured at the end of the race. The team has been penalized 35 driver and owner points.

Brian Wilson, Joey Logano‘s crew chief, was fined $10,000 and suspended one race because Logano’s car was found to have two lug nuts not secure at the end of the race.

In the Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR announced the following penalties:

Three-race suspensions to crew chief Danny Gill, truck chief Melvin Burns Jr. and mechanic William Guinade for loss of a ballast container on Clay Greenfield‘s truck at Bristol.

A $2,500 fine to crew chief Carl Joiner Jr. for having one lug nut not secured on Matt Crafton‘s truck after the Bristol race.

NASCAR America: Challenging the Big 3 – Kyle Larson, team have work to do

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In last Saturday’s race at Bristol, Kyle Larson finished second for the fifth time this season. He finished sixth in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2 giving him a combined points total of 48 – two more than the winning driver Kurt Busch. For his effort, Larson locked the No. 42 team in the playoffs based on points with two races remaining in the regular season.

But he’s still looking for his first win of the season and was frustrated with his result.

Aside from the frustration in his voice, Parker Kligerman noted that he seemed much more tired than he was when he won the Xfinity race Friday night.

“I’ve never seen that out of Kyle Larson,” Kligerman said on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America. “You know when he won the race the night prior … I joined him in victory lane and he looked like he had never run a race or broken a sweat at all. And there, he looked pretty wore out and I think that is indicative of where he finds those cars. He’s having to work very hard inside that 42 car.

“This race team is trending the wrong direction because if he’s having to run harder to get a second-place finish on strategy … that is not a good sign for the 42 team.”

Larson began the season regarded as one of the most likely challengers to Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. based on his third-place finish at Las Vegas and seconds at Auto Club and in the Bristol spring race. In the first 14 races of the 2018 season, he earned nine top 10s – including another runner-up at Pocono. That is a top-10 percentage of 64.2.

The following week, he spun at Michigan trying to get more out of the car than it had on a course where he’d won the three previous races.

Larson has only four top-10 finishes in the last 10 races (40%) and that means he is trending the wrong direction.

“This is a race team that came out of the box … he was able to find a way because of things, I would assume, they had from last year that were brought forward and helped them compete,” Dale Jarrett said. “They’ve stayed in that. They have not made any improvement from that standpoint and they’ve got a championship caliber driver driving this car. That’s the only way they finished second the other night, because he had no business being there and getting that.”

The driver can make a difference, but only to a certain point according to Kligerman.

“I think if you look at Bristol, why was he so dejected?,” Kligerman asked. “He is a driver that if you give him a 10th-place car, he is going to find a way to run for the win late in the race. … But he was not given that chance because the car was simply not fast enough.”

For more, watch the video above.

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NASCAR America Scan All: “The dude that started last hit Kyle”

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Short track racing is always filled with a lot of drama. That is even more so the case when one of the Big 3 spins on lap two, collects a sizeable portion of the field and then races his way back into the top five.

That incident highlights the Bristol Night Race edition of Scan All.

Here’s what the drivers and crew had to say Saturday night:

  • “We got a good car. Let’s do it. Let’s win one for the team.” – Kurt Busch on the pace lap
  • “99 came flying by. I don’t know what he was doing.” – Reed Sorenson
  • “Everybody hit Kyle. The dude that started last hit Kyle.” – Brett Griffin, Clint Bowyer’s spotter
  • “Truex ran over the splitter – the nose part.” – Kyle Busch
  • “Oh yeah, we got [expletive] damage right where the hood flap is.” Kurt Busch following his involvement in the Lap 2 wreck
  • “We’re a long way’s away from being average.” – Kyle Larson
  • “We’re faster than everyone but the 18.” – Mike Bugarewicz, Bowyer’s crew chief
  • “I’m kind of worried about that guy behind the 78 (Kyle Busch). I ain’t worried about the 78,” –Brett Griffin
  • “Holy crap; that hurt.” Truex Jr. after getting spun by Kyle Busch
  • “God. Son of a Hell. Damnit. I just misjudged by like six inches, maybe less.” – Kyle Busch

The field had plenty of opportunity to contemplate the NASCAR rule book as the No. 18 drove through the field, with Kevin Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers had the final word on the subject

  • “The 18, he can’t run like that without a bumper cover, right?” – Kyle Larson
  • “Well, I didn’t think so,” Chad Johnston, Larson’s crew chief
  • “That no bumper’s got to help, don’t you think? It helps on a street stock.” – Tab Boyd, William Byron’s spotter
  • “I thought you had to have a rear bumper cover. Is that not the case?” – Kevin Harvick
  • “I don’t think so. I think Daytona and Talladega they make you.” – Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief

For more, watch the video above.

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What the world was like when Kurt Busch last won at Bristol

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The jokes and observations began flying in the Bristol Motor Speedway media center not long after Kurt Busch won Saturday night’s Cup race.

It had been how long since Busch visited Victory Lane at the half-mile track?

Some media members had covered that race. Others – specifically this writer – had been *checks notes* a freshman in high school when Busch won the Food City 500 on March 26, 2006.

Oh, that long.

Twelve years have passed between Busch’s Bristol wins, the latest bringing him six career wins in “Thunder Valley.”

That fifth win, in Team Penske’s No. 2 Dodge, came in a very different time in NASCAR.

For one, that was two versions of Bristol ago. A year after his win, the track added progressive banking in the turns. That was then retrofitted in 2012, which resulted in the top groove often being the preferred lane.

“This track has been kicking my butt since they redid the concrete, reground the outside lane, then have been throwing the traction compound on the bottom lane,” Busch said. “It’s great to win on the old one and the new one.  It’s been a while.”

What else was going on in NASCAR when Busch claimed his fifth Bristol win? Get ready to feel the kind of nostalgia that will make you feel old in all the wrong ways.

– Even if you don’t remember Busch’s win in 2006, you might remember what happened on pit road after it. Jeff Gordon showed off his temper for the first time, when he shoved Matt Kenseth after Kenseth spun him with two laps to go.

Jimmie Johnson hadn’t even claimed his first of a record-tying seven Cup championships. He would go on to do so that year, beginning his stretch of five titles in a row.

– In the field for the Bristol race were three rookies by the name of Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer.

– Also in the field: Sterling Marlin, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield and Kyle Petty.

Ken Schrader was driving the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing.

– Nextel was the title sponsor for the Cup Series and would be through 2007. Sprint took over in 2008.

– The much maligned Car of Tomorrow was exactly a year away. It would make its part-time debut in the Food City 500, and race winner Kyle Busch (his first of seven wins at Bristol) did not like it.

Chase Elliott, Cup’s most recent first-time winner, was 9-years-old.

Pop Culture

Music

This is what was hot in the world of pop culture on March 26, 2008.

The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 was “So Sick” by Ne-Yo, an artist I don’t remember and a song title I couldn’t have told you. But I definitely remember hearing this on the radio.

If that doesn’t jolt your memory of the time, “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt was the previous No. 1 song for a week and two weeks later, Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” would start a five-week run as at the top before being the year-end No. 1 song.

2006 was a bad year for music.

Film

– The No. 1 movie at the box office that weekend was Denzel Washington’s “Inside Man.” It made $28.9 million and beat out Natalie Portman’s “V for for Vendetta” and the video game horror film “Stay Alive.”

Video Games

The Play Station 2 was in its last months as Sony’s primary gaming console. The Play Station 3 wouldn’t be released until November of that year.

Books

The top book on the New York Times’ bestseller list was “The 5th Horseman” James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. The following week, “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown would start its second, two-week stretch at the No. 1 book.