CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In recognition of four decades of dedicated service to Speedway Motorsports, officials have named Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark as the O. Bruton Smith Award recipient.
Additionally, Las Vegas Motor Speedway earned Speedway of the Year honors and Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter was named Promoter of the Year. The awards were announced this week during a Speedway Motorsports Awards Ceremony in Nashville.
“It is an honor to recognize the invaluable efforts of those who blaze a trail at Speedway Motorsports’ eight world-class motorsports entertainment facilities,” said Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. “It has been a privilege to have Ed Clark’s vision and leadership enhance our company in the vital roles he’s served since he joined the Speedway Motorsports family nearly 40 years ago.
“We’re also glad to recognize Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its phenomenal track record of entertaining race fans from around the world, as well as the extraordinary leadership displayed by Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Greg Walter in setting the standard for excellence as an innovative promoter.”
Created seven years ago to recognize one employee annually across all of Speedway Motorsports and its subsidiaries, the recipient of this prestigious award is someone who exhibits Speedway Motorsports’ Executive Chairman and Founder O. Bruton Smith’s traits: character, enthusiasm, drive, a heart for helping others, respect/appreciation for team members, vision and determination.
Clark began his tenure with Speedway Motorsports in 1981 as a member of the public relations department at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For the next decade, he worked his way through the ranks of the public relations and events departments, serving on the leadership team that developed the first NASCAR All-Star Race and NASCAR Media Tour.
In 1992, he was named General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway, and added the title of AMS president in 1995. During his 27 years in Atlanta, Clark was integral in overseeing modernization projects, expanding the speedway’s major event schedule, and increasing Atlanta Motor Speedway’s track rental business, brand awareness and regional economic impact.
Speedway Motorsports announced earlier this week that Clark will retire in 2020, following the March 13-15 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR weekend.
“When you think about the characteristics that this award is meant to represent, it’s easy to see why Ed was such a clear choice to receive it this year,” said Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports’ President and CEO. “His love for motorsports is only outmatched by his desire to exceed the expectations of every race fan. He is admired by his peers in Atlanta and across the motorsports community. Ed reflects all that the O. Bruton Smith Award represents.”
Las Vegas Motor Speedway was chosen as Speedway of the Year from among eight state-of-the-art Speedway Motorsports entertainment complexes. The award is presented to Las Vegas for the best overall performance during 2019 in such aspects as fan friendliness, attendance, financial performance, sponsor relations and creativity.
Under the leadership of President and General Manager Chris Powell, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted two tripleheader NASCAR event weekends in 2019 including the September kickoff to the NASCAR playoffs, as well as two NHRA national events and an immensely successful Electric Daisy Carnival in May that attracted more than 135,000 attendees per night.
As part of a never-ending commitment to entertainment, Las Vegas produced or hosted more than 1,400 events at multiple locations throughout the year across the facility complex, including dozens of high-profile corporate outings; a Blancpain GT World Challenge in October; the Duel in the Desert at The Dirt Track in November; and more than 60 events at The Strip and The Bullring.
Promoter of the Year is an annual award chosen by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith and given to one of eight Speedway Motorsports general managers. The Promoter of the Year is awarded to the general manager who best displayed the creativity, innovation, leadership and execution that are fundamental to Speedway Motorsports’ way of doing business.
Walter, a 20-year leader within Speedway Motorsports, was recognized for his extensive efforts to promote a remarkable cavalcade of annual events including the historic 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600, the Bank of America ROVAL™ 400, the NASCAR All-Star Race, two Pennzoil AutoFair car shows and wildly popular races at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and zMAX Dragway. Walter supervised the 11th consecutive sellout of the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track, launched a new monthly Cars & Coffee Concord franchise and instilled a year-long effort amongst his staff to bring a ‘Wow’ factor to every event in Charlotte’s aggressive season schedule.
Additionally, Walter visited several military bases as part of the speedway’s Mission 600 initiative to promote the Coca-Cola 600’s patriotic pre-race show on Memorial Day weekend. Under Walter’s leadership, the speedway’s collaborative relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense set a new standard for paying tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces.