Nashville Superspeedway looks to be reborn with a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time
But, it doesn’t look like they’ll go going to the track you’re looking for.
Nashville, Tennessee hosted the NASCAR Awards following the 2020 season. And the city welcomes NASCAR back with open arms.
Currently, two former NASCAR tracks sit within close proximity of the city. But, neither of them have been in use.
NASCAR is looking to fix that…
“Especially after the awards banquet, it was, how do we get to Nashville as soon as we possibly can?” Dover CEO Mike Tatoian told The Associated Press. “It made it a fairly easy discussion that it was through Dover Motorsports.”
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville formerly hosted the NASCAR Cup Series between 1958-1984.
Speedway Motorsports Inc sent a proposal to the city owned track to take over the lease of the speedway. The 30 years lease proposal requested that the city would fund all of the capital investments at the speedway.
Millions would need to be pumped into the facility to host a NASCAR National Series event. But, that proposal was rejected.
Instead, Tony Formosa was awarded the lease, for another 5 years.
SMI didn’t quit. They formed a partnership with the renewed lease holder of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. The goal of that partnership was obviously to bring NASCAR back to the legendary high banks.
However, in November 2019 the city tossed out Fermosa due to back payments and other issues. That created issues for a NASCAR return.
Things are working out, at least in the short term.
Track Enterprises is now the promoters of the speedway for 2020. They have an ARCA Menards Series, USAC and other events on the schedule for this year.
Meanwhile, NASCAR is still looking to bring the sport back to Nashville.
Nashville SuperSpeedway has a formal address of 4847-F McCreary Road Lebanon, TN 37090. That’s 30 minutes from city center.
The track is a 1.333-mile oval with 14 degrees of banking. It’s hosted 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, 13 NASCAR Truck Series events and 8 IndyCar Series events since the track opened in 2001.
At the end of the 2008 season, Indycar left the track. After 2011, NASCAR also left the speedway. It was shut down on August 3, 2011.
However, the track is still owned by Dover Motorsports Inc. The same company that owns Dover International Speedway.
Dover Motorsports Inc owned tracks in Delaware, St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville. They were looking to cash in on populated markets during NASCAR’s mid-1990’s expansion.
But, it didn’t play out like that…
“The thought at the time 20-something years ago was that if NASCAR was going to have an expansion, which at the time was the right time to be thinking, we wanted to claim those markets,” Tatoian said.
The Dover CEO added, “It didn’t happen. It just never lended itself to move one of our races at that time. So in 2011, after 10 or 11 years of operating, we decided it was time to shutter the operation. But we held onto it, fortuitously, just in case there was ever an opportunity in the future to do what we’re doing now.”
NASCAR schedule shakeup in 2021
Reports are suggesting that Nashville Superspeedway will be hosting their first NASCAR Cup Series event in the 2021 season.
NASCAR is looking to shakeup the schedule in 2021. Multiple track contracts expire, all at once. It gives NASCAR more control for adjusting the schedule. At the same time, NASCAR acquired ISC who owned many NASCAR tracks.
The stars have aligned for a major schedule shakeup. Dover Motorsports Inc is looking to play ball as well. One of their two Dover races will likely be moved to Nashville. But, Dover won’t be losing a race under the tentative plan.
“It looks more and more like we’ll be hosting a doubleheader,” Tatoian said. “That’s a strong scenario and that’s what we’re focused on.”
300 acres surrounding Nashville Superspeedway totaling around $10M in revenue. Ironically, it will cost $8-10M, to upgrade the Nashville SuperSpeedway to host an event in 2021.
Upgrades are to include WiFi and a detailed inspection of the racing surface. The track seats 25,000.