The NASCAR Awards took place in Nashville, there’s a lot of talk about the short track just down the street
In 2021, a bulk of NASCAR track contracts expire.
Just recently, NASCAR also acquired International Speedway Corporation. That gives the sanction full control of about half the tracks on the schedule. For those races, NASCAR has the freedom to move dates around without jumping through contract hoops.
Due to both of the above, the door is now wide open for new tracks to join the NASCAR schedule. So, where is the sport of stock car racing going next?
Short tracks and road courses are what fans have been calling for, for years. NASCAR has heard the noise and their ready to give the fans what they want.
NASCAR has invested in Nashville, in a big way. They’ve moved their NASCAR Awards Show from Las Vegas to the city in the Midwest. That show just concluded last night.
Ironically, one of the short tracks that regularly surfaces with this discussion is Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. The half-mile high banked oval has already hosted the NASCAR Cup Series from 1958 to 1984.
If NASCAR fires the engines in Nashville, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jimmie Johnson plan to come out of retirement…
Dale Earnhardt Jr on Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
“I think we belong in Nashville racing cars,” Dale Earnhardt Jr told the Tennessean.
“That’s more important than even having the banquet there. It’s a great place for us to be racing and we should be racing there.”
“If they ever did run an (NASCAR) Xfinity race there and it’s in the next four or five years I’d love to put that on my calendar as a race to go run.”
“Because that was a lot fun when we used to race there in ’98 and ’99. I had more fun probably racing the late model there with (Joe) Buford and (Chad) Chafin and all of those guys back in the day.”
“The door is open for (NASCAR) to think about where we need to be or should be and I have to feel like Nashville and the Fairgrounds specifically has to be in that top three places we should be trying to go to.”
“I know Marcus Smith (general manager of Speedway Motorsports) and Bristol (Motor Speedway officials) and those guys are extremely interested in doing that.”
“Marcus is an amazing guy and has the best interest of the track and the community in his heart and would do an amazing job not only bringing NASCAR back, but improving the facility; putting the money and efforts into the facility to see it be able to thrive.”
“We certainly don’t want to see a track with so much history just become an afterthought. The great way to continue that tradition is to have truck races, Xfinity races, even Cup races at that racetrack one day and it put on an amazing show.”
Jimmie Johnson plans to exit retirement for Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
Jimmie Johnson is a 7-time NASCAR champion. That’s tied with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most all-time.
Johnson is set to enter his 20th year in the NASCAR Cup Series. But, it will be his last. At the end of the 2021 season, Johnson will retire from full-time racing.
But, he already knows what will pull him out of retirement…
As Dale Earnhardt Jr stated his interest in running Fairgrounds Speedway, Johnson stated via twitter, “Count me in as well. Can you bring me a hot rod Dale Jr?”
Speedway Motorsports Inc attempts to bring NASCAR to Nashville
The track is run by the city. They lease out ownership to promoters.
Speedway Motorsports Inc sent a proposal to the board back in May. It included 30 year lease of the track and a $56 million renovation of the complex.
Mayor David Briley and the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners elected to turn down the offer. SMI wanted most of the funding for the project to be provided by the city.
Instead, the board selected The Formosa family to continue as the promoters of the facility.
In late 2018, the Formosa Family and Bristol Motor Speedway inked a partnership deal. The plan was to bring one of the NASCAR divisions back to the track.
Formosa Promotions no longer the promoters of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
In April 2019, the Metro Fair Board claimed a breech of contract with the Fairgrounds Speedway promoters.
In summery, the Formosa family wasn’t paying bills. However, they stated that the contract didn’t include any due dates until the end of their contact. Additionally, the family stated they never received an invoice.
The Metro board agreed to adjust the contract, putting clear due dates for various fees.
In Mid-November 2019, the Board of Fair Commissioners voted to terminate their contract with the Formosa family. The contract wasn’t due to expire until March 2023.
The board noted that Formosa owe’s $180,000 to the city. Tony and Claire Formosa were given 90 days to vacate the facility.
In a statement following the contract termination, Speedway Motorsports Inc still has interest in working with Metro.