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DATE News (chronologically)
11/10/07
track news
Bruton 90% certain to move Lowe’s track  UPDATE #6 More proof that Bruton Smith probably has no intentions of moving the Lowe's track and is just posturing to squeeze more money out of the local Concord government.

A NASCAR speedway in York County? Don't start your engines just yet.  City and York County officials say they have no plans to pursue a track, despite occasional media reports that Rock Hill would be a viable spot if billionaire racing mogul Bruton Smith makes good on a threat to move his speedway out of Concord, N.C.

In fact, the notion was met with laughter by county Planning Director Susan Britt, whose workdays are spent planning for subdivisions and road projects -- not superspeedways that would be equal in size to a small city.

"This is the first I've heard of it," Britt said. "That's not to say it's not being talked about, but no one contacted the county's planning department or economic development office."

The rumors grew from Smith's threat last month to close Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord because of a dispute with Concord leaders over plans for a drag strip next to the speedway. Smith said he'd put up $350 million to build another track elsewhere in the Charlotte region. A secretary said Smith was unavailable for comment Friday. More at ThatsRacin.com

11/08/07 Cabarrus County officials expect to hear by Thanksgiving whether billionaire Bruton Smith really will move Lowe's Motor Speedway out of Concord.

Smith has threatened to spend $350 million to move the track elsewhere in the Charlotte region following a dispute with Concord City Council over his plans to build a drag strip at the speedway. The city council has since retreated from its opposition to the drag strip, and also wants Smith to proceed with plans for extensive renovations at the track.

One of the many ideas being floated to keep Smith in town is to have the speedway area become part of a new tax increment financing district.

Such a designation, fairly new to North Carolina, lets governments issue bonds without voter approval to pay for some public projects within a specific district, such as infrastructure improvements. New tax revenue generated from the district is used toward paying the bond debt.

The track is a big moneymaker, and last year accounted for $169 million in tourism spending in Cabarrus County.  ThatsRacin.com

Bruton Smith

10/28/07 Anyone who thought Lowe's Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith was bluffing when he threatened to move his track away from Concord, N.C., better think again.

Although the Concord City Council overturned its original decision to allow Speedway Motorsports Inc. to build a drag strip on the Lowe's Motor Speedway property, Smith, 80, said on Friday that he was "90 percent" certain that he would be moving the speedway regardless of further resolutions Friday.

"Maybe we've worn out our welcome," Smith said.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the new facility would be a high-banked .75-mile track or smaller with stadium seating similar to Bristol. The speedway would not just be a generic racetrack, it would be an attraction.

"I didn't realize that speedway was so valuable," Smith said of the existing property. "We've had some tremendous offers. All sports stadiums, they age out over time. I've been working on a master plan for Charlotte for a year and a half."

As far as the location of the motorsports complex — which would include a drag strip and Speedway Club — Smith says he's looking at an 18-mile radius of Charlotte Airport. He's received 15 different proposals, some including $300 million worth of tax incentives and 600 acres of land including grading expenses.  More at Fox News

10/18/07 This article paints a real picture of why Bruton Smith might not be blowing smoke out of his arse and Lowe's Speedway could indeed move out of Concord.

10/17/07 Lowe’s Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith now says there is a “90%” chance he will move his track out of Concord for another site around Charlotte. And if he leaves Concord, Smith said, he will raze the track and sell the property piecemeal. Smith’s comments to the Observer on Monday are the latest twist in an episode that began when the city of Concord moved to stop work on a $60 million drag strip on speedway property.

After the City Council’s Oct. 1 vote to rezone the property to ban drag strips, Smith threatened to move the track. Last week, the city reversed its position on the drag strip and started talking about offering incentives to help reduce noise from the drag strip, a concern among neighbors. Smith said he would feel obligated to buy back the 52 condominiums at the speedway from their owners.

A final decision on the move won’t be made until after the Concord City Council revisits the issue Oct. 26, Smith said. That meeting will be held at 6 p.m.; it originally had been scheduled for Oct. 24. Local officials are continuing to try to persuade Smith to stay put. Several state lawmakers approached him at Saturday’s Bank of America 500 race, telling him how much they appreciated his being in North Carolina, said state Rep. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus. Smith declined to encourage speculation that he was considering a move to Rock Hill, saying he has not disclosed where he is looking to move. He did say he was considering about 20 sites within an 18-mile radius of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

Smith also has said he is willing to spend $350 million to abandon the Concord track and build another elsewhere in the Charlotte area. Charlotte Observer

10/10/07 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  The city of Concord, North Carolina, has "reversed its opposition" to SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith's plan to build a $60M drag strip on the property of Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS).  The City Council, which last week “unanimously banned” drag strips at LMS, last night voted to ask the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission "to consider amending the speedway's zoning to allow” strips on the property.  Smith, who had threatened to relocate LMS, said that it was "a small step" toward resolving the issue  Charlotte Observer

10/07/07 The war of words between Bruton Smith and the city of Concord will take a serious and sobering turn Monday when the Speedway plans to file a lawsuit against the city. The spat began earlier this week when Smith threatened to shut down LMS and build a new speedway, drag racing strip and airport in the Charlotte region after Concord City Council members turned down his request to build a drag strip near the speedway. Bill Diehl, Smith's attorney said the property in question has been zoned for motorsports for more than eight years. He said the city's decision not to allow drag racing was sudden and he wants the decision reversed. "Basically the lawsuit will ask that the arbitrary and capricious actions of city council be set aside," Diehl said.

Smith wants to build the drag strip so that National Hot Rod Association sanctioned races could come to Concord.

As soon as Smith threatened to move races from Concord, other local areas wasted little time trying to woo the multi-million dollar business. Smith has already explored some of those proposals and others are still coming in. One of the most recent offers is from Gaston County. A county commissioner wants to let Smith know Gaston County is an option for relocation, but the county manager and others caution that relocating the speedway anywhere would not be easy. cupscene.com
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