Weekly racing events may not be on the table for Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in 2020 as Bob Sargent enters contract negotiations
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville is in talks with a new promoter for 2020 and beyond. The city is in talks with Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises Inc.
Each month, the Nashville Fair Board hosts a meeting to discuss operations at the speedway. On Tuesday, Fairgrounds Director Laura Womack announced she was in contract discussions with Sargent.
The track was formerly promoted by the Formosa family. However, they failed to pay outstanding debt to the city. The Formosa group was given a few months to vacate the facility.
In February 2020, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville will be able to welcome a new promoter.
Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises in talks with Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
Fairgrounds spokesperson Holly McCall detailed some of those talks in an interview with The Tennessean. Current talks include at least three races promoted by Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises. She noted that the deal has potential for more.
In 2019, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville hosted weekly racing events. If the deal goes through with just three races, that’s not likely to include a local racing program. However, as she said, there’s potential for more events.
Sargent promotes a wide range of dirt and pavement races.
Tracks hosting Track Enterprises events in 2019: 5 Flags Speedway, Terre Haute Action Track, Eagle Raceway, US36 Raceway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Tri-City Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Angell Park Speedway, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Lucas Oil Raceway, I-80 Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Brown County Speedway, Black Hill Speedway, Milwaukee Mile, Gateway Motorsports Park, Paducah International, Wilmot Speedway, Elko Speedway, Big Sky Speedway, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Duquoin State Fairgrounds.
Series races promoted by Track Enterprises in 2019: ARCA Racing Series, USAC Silver Crown, ASCS Sprints, USAC Sprint, All Star Sprints, ARCA Midwest Tour, AMA Flat Track, UMP Summer Nationals, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and MSCS Sprints.
Speedway Motorsports Inc still interest in Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
The fair board typically opens a bidding process. The highest bid doesn’t always get to become the promoter but that’s how new promoters are using put into place.
The most recent bidding was back in 2017. The fair board rejected an offer from Bristol Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc to become the promoters at the speedway.
In that case, the speedway wanted a 30-year lease of the speedway. They also wanted the city to fund capital investments at the complex.
The board elected to take the offer from the Formosa family instead. Months later, Speedway Motorsports Inc announced that they had partnered with the Formosa family.
That deal was expected to help bring NASCAR sanctioned events back to the Tennessee race track. In May, SMI sent in a $60 million dollar renovation plan for the track.
The city now has a new mayor. In his first day, Mayor John Cooper spoke on the Fairgrounds and possible NASCAR sanctioned events.
He stated that he needed information on MLS stadium financing and legal issues before commenting on NASCAR returning to Nashville.
Speedway Motorsports Inc has sent in a new proposal to Mayor John Cooper. That is currently under review. However, the board itself has not seen the proposal.
“The fair board will have to see (the new) proposal and what it entails — which they have not yet,” McCall said. “The bottom line is, the fair board wants a full and successful racing schedule, whether it is with Bob Sargent or SMI or a combination.”
The track could see a combination of promoters with Bob Sargent, Speedway Motorsports Inc or others that may step up to the table.
Nashville MLS Stadium
In 2018, a $275-million dollar Soccer Stadium project was approved.
However, the costs are rising on that project. Nashville SC, the soccer club itself will foot the bill for costs beyond $250 million. Total costs for the project are now expected to be in the $325-345 million range.
Nashville is set to add soccer to it’s portfolio of entertainment venues. That new soccer stadium is set to go up right next door to the speedway.
While that sounds like a positive thing, it also creates hurdles. There’s a mixed-use development and parking lot that will go up next to the stadium and the speedway.
Those elements create infrastructure hurdles. Tax payers are still unsure how much funding will be needed to upgrade water and sewer lines, roads and a new bridge for the soccer stadium.
Once finalized, the old expo centers will be torn down. But, as of now, the city doesn’t have a concrete idea of what the infrastructure will look like.
“There is substantial unfunded infrastructure work necessary to make the site a success,” Mayor Cooper said.
“Demolition will occur when the next stages of the project are ready to go,” the Mayor added.
Once that project is finalized, it will give the city a better idea of what options are available in regards to upgrades at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.