SMI Reveals Proposed Plan For Nashville Fairgrounds

Speedway Motorsports Inc. has revealed its proposed plan to bring NASCAR back to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. (Jim Denhamer photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Speedway Motorsports Inc. has gone public with its plan to bring NASCAR national series racing back to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.

The plan, revealed by Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Executive Vice President Jerry Caldwell to members of the local fair board, featured ideas for a 30,000-seat facility with an expanded concourse, premium seating, pedestrian tunnels and a sound barrier according to The Tennessean.

While funding for the project was seen as a challenge, Caldwell said the proposed $60 million renovation would be financed through bonds and a revenue stream created through alternate uses of the speedway property.

Another remaining hurdle is an apartment building, which is located 20 feet from the track’s entrance. The building and its parking lot impede the flow of traffic on and off speedway property.

At this point no decision on the return of NASCAR to Nashville has been made. Local political officials and Speedway Motorsports officials are continuing to discuss the potential idea. The earliest NASCAR could return to Nashville is 2021. NASCAR’s current contracts with race tracks expires in 2020.

Even if Speedway Motorsports gets the funding and approvals from the city and updates are made to the track, it is up to NASCAR to grant Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville a race date.

The track held at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race a year from 1958 until 1984. The NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series competed there in the 1990s, with the last event for each tour taking place at the track in 2000.

Though NASCAR national racing hasn’t been back to the track since 2000, regional NASCAR tours have competed there in the years since.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competed there from 2007 to 2008, the defunct NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast competed there from 1991 to 2006 and the defunct NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour held an event there in 2007. The ARCA Menards Series, which was purchased by NASCAR in 2018, has competed at the track since 2015.

Tony Formosa and his company, Formosa Productions, has operated Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville since 2010. Formosa sanctions weekly racing at the facility as well as the annual running of the All-American 400 for super late models, which will take place on Nov. 2-3.