Questions surround buyer for Nashville Superspeedway

Robert "Robb" Sexton and his company, NeXovation, have big plans for the dormant Nashville Superspeedway.
His goal is to turn the track near Lebanon into a "52-weeks-a-year" operation providing "hundreds of people with living-wage jobs."

But there's a lot of mystery about the 60-year-old Sexton, the inventor of an innovative "Flatwire" technology, who has no experience in the motor sports business. Questions abound, including: Who is he? Where is his money coming from? And how, with no motor sports background, can he expect to turn around a business that couldn't survive under an operator with decades of experience running tracks like Dover Motorsports?

"I can't disclose it all now," Sexton said during an interview last week at the modest NeXovation headquarters in a warehouse park off Harding Place in Antioch. "We have a definite plan, not just from the perspective of motor sports. But it will definitely remain a motor sports facility, as well as a showcase for our other technologies."

Ultimately, Sexton wants to bring IndyCar and NASCAR racing back to the track — which hasn't hosted a race since 2011 — but he insists that making the facility a success "does not require us to have large racing events."

There's more Sexton wants to do, including other motorsports such as drag racing, along with concerts and automotive testing, for instance. He says his long-term intent is to spend "hundreds of millions" of dollars on additional development at the nearly 1,400-acre site. He's not sure the track needs more seating, he said, even though the current 25,000 capacity has long been criticized as too small for big races.

First, though, Sexton says he's focused on getting financing in line so he can close the deal to buy the track and related property by this fall. He agreed earlier this month to pay $27 million in cash and provide a nearly $20 million letter of credit to Wilson County to buy the facility from Dover.

"We are in the process of finalizing the financing," he said, "We have put some cash down, and we have a good set of investment bankers in Denver. We also are bringing in partners on the project."

He identified the money connection as LoHi Merchant Bank, a Denver-based investment bank and strategic advisory firm. Most of the money to buy the speedway will be borrowed, Sexton said, but there will be cash from the equity partners, as well.

Wilson County still has nearly $20 million in bond debt it incurred to pay for roads, utilities and other improvements along State Route 840 and around the speedway when it was built in 2001. Sexton says the money to pay that back will come from sales and property taxes generated by the facility.

But until then, he said, there will be cash on hand from the partners. He did acknowledge, though, that NeXovation — which has a website showing an array of divisions, products and services — has not actually begun selling any products, and has no income yet. The Tennessean

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