Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville

Deal reached that could bring NASCAR back to Nashville Fairgrounds

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A deal has been reached between track operator Formosa Productions and Bristol Motor Speedway that could lead to the return of NASCAR to the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, BMS announced Wednesday.

The deal is “an agreement to explore bringing major NASCAR racing events” to the .596-mile track.

The two entities will work “on a long-range plan of significant track improvements and high-profile race events that could include NASCAR events upon the facility meeting standards.”

The deal must be approved by Nashville’s Metro Board of Fair Commissioners.

“Tony and our team both see the same bright future for Fairgrounds Speedway,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of BMS, in a press release. “Nashville has a special reputation as one of the most exciting tracks in the history of motorsports, and the region has a remarkably large and passionate fan base. The motorsports industry – the sanctioning bodies, drivers and race teams – is excited about Nashville’s potential to be a regular site for major events. With Metro supportive of that vision, we are eager to start working tomorrow with the city, Tony (Formosa) and other stakeholders at the Fairgrounds and beyond, to develop a first-class racing facility and program.”

2018 was Formosa’s first year in a five-year agreement to run and promote the track after beating Bristol Motor Speedway’s bid to operate the track last year. Bristol is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

“This is terrific news for fans of racing and drivers all across the country and will bring a brighter future for Nashville Fairgrounds,” Formosa said in a press release. “I’m excited to work with Bruton and Marcus Smith and the Bristol team who I feel will bring this historic facility back to where it belongs. Today marks an exciting new beginning for the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.”

Autoweek reports that if the deal is approved it would see Claire Formosa, vice president of Formosa Productions, become a full-time employee at BMS as a liaison between the two tracks.

Tom Formosa told the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners in October a deal was “still very premature” according to a report by The Tennessean that said a possible deal could lead to the Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series competing on the track.

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

Marcus Smith, the CEO of SMI, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “SiriusXM Speedway” that “there is potential” for Cup to make a return to the track.

“That is really dependent on how big the vision is we all settle in on,” Smith said. “My preference is to always go big. If we really set our sights on it, that would be the ultimate goal.”

Smith said the track, located roughly four miles from downtown Nashville, “would be a great place” to try holding a mid-week race.

But before any of that can happen, the track would need to see some major improvements.

“I love the classic style, the huge canopy that hangs over the grandstand,” Smith said. “I think there’s a lot of the character and the history you want to preserve. But you have to bring it up to current specs with proper crash wall, with SAFER foam, a catch fence and network-worthy lighting. There’s a lot that needs to be done.

“The good news is we’ve done it before.”

Smith said work on the track would “ideally” begin in 2019. The earliest any major changes to the NASCAR schedule can occur is 2020.

Smith also said the partnership between SMI and the Formosa’s has “gotta be long-term” and “that’s the only way it really makes sense to do the things we want to do.”

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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.”

Bristol Motor Speedway to give Food City 500 tickets to victims of November wildfires

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Thousands of people continue to rebuild their lives following last November’s devastating wildfires in east Tennessee.

Many lost everything, including their homes, cars, businesses and possessions, particularly in the Gatlinburg and Sevierville areas. Many victims were left with just the clothes they were wearing at the time they fled the fires, which charred over 17,000 acres, claimed 14 lives and injured nearly 200.

The folks at Bristol Motor Speedway are reaching out to give those impacted by the fires a few hours of enjoyment and try to bring some smiles back on their faces.

The track announced Monday that, in conjunction with the Dollywood Foundation’s “My People Fund,” it will give away four tickets per family to several hundred families for the April 23 Food City 500 NASCAR Cup race at BMS to area residents impacted by the fires.

“We wanted to do something nice for these folks that hopefully will help brighten their day,” said Jerry Caldwell, BMS executive vice president and general manager. “It’s incredible to see the outpouring of support from the region and we wanted to do our part to show our neighbors that we care.

“Gatlinburg and Sevier County hold a special place in the hearts of all NASCAR fans and especially all of us here at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

The “My People Fund” is a charitable outreach of singer/actress Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation. It provides those impacted by the fires up to $1,000 per month for up to six months to help victims get back on their feet.

The wildfires literally reached the doorstep of Parton’s Dollywood amusement park, but caused only minimal damage.

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Regan Smith halfway to earning $1 million Dash4Cash prize

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The third of four editions of the 2015 Dash4Cash takes place during Friday night’s Food City 300 Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The highest finisher of four drivers – Regan Smith, Elliot Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Blaney – will win the $100,000 prize.

Smith has won the first two rounds (Dover and Indianapolis). The final round is next week at Darlington Raceway.

“Every race at Bristol offers a lot of bumping and banging, but this race-inside-a-race concept will take the action on the track and the entertainment to the next level,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “The $100,000 bonus is nearly double what an XFINITY Series race winner takes home, so you know these teams will put it all on the line to win the Food City 300.”

Smith is the only driver currently eligible for a grand total of $1,000,000 in winnings if he takes the overall Dash4Cash title. To do so, he’d have to be the highest finisher of the four contestants at Bristol and then win at Darlington.

If Smith does so, he’d the first driver to collect the $1 million paycheck in the history of the Xfinity Series.

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