Truck and XFINITY races for Nashville? (2nd Update)

Carl Edwards winning at Nashville in 2011 in what is now the Xfinity Series
Carl Edwards winning at Nashville in 2011 in what is now the Xfinity Series

UPDATE An executive involved in Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s efforts to bring NASCAR national series racing back to Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, responded Tuesday to a report about the company’s talks with city officials.

SMI officials have had discussions with Mayor David Briley and his administration about how to finance the upgrades needed to the track to bring NASCAR national series races there. The Tennessean reported Tuesday that SMI pitched a plan that called for $54 million in bond payments and $2 million cash from the city. The proposal was rejected by Briley’s administration.

Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, issued a statement responding to The Tennessean’s article.

“Our very first step has been to engage Mayor Briley to explore potential renovation of the speedway that would allow major races to return to Nashville. This renovation can be accomplished through a cooperative partnership by utilizing revenues from increased activity at the Fairgrounds and private investment without the use of current Metro tax dollars.

“Recognizing that the city has an obligation to maintain their racetrack long into the future, we are offering an opportunity for private partnership that delivers an attractive, long-term solution to improve a historic, public treasure that has been in decline in recent years.

“We look forward to sharing our proposal with the Fair Board, Councilman (Colby) Sledge and the neighboring community. We are confident that this partnership will achieve a brighter, more successful future for the speedway, the Fairgrounds and the community. We appreciate interest by the mayor and Fair Board so far because in the end we all want the same thing – a first class facility."

“It’s been eight months and we haven’t heard any details, and I don’t think there’s been any real talks with the community … it’s just a little frustrating," Fair Board member Jason Bergeron said during the meeting, according to video by The Tennessean. “We have these renovations ready to go with the speedway. It keeps going on and on. We have no concrete proposal and there has been no real engagement with the community."

04/04/19 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today.

Two roadblocks "have emerged" in the ongoing talks between SMI and Nashville Mayor David Briley about bringing a NASCAR race to the Fairgrounds Speedway — "clashing with plans" for the new MLS stadium there, according to Rau & Jeong of the Nashville TENNESSEAN.

Briley's administration has "not seen details on how the upgrades necessary to bring NASCAR to the fairgrounds would be financed."

The feasibility of a major upgrade to the racetrack "remains questionable since the soccer stadium project will place a building so close to the track that the current operator says he’ll have trouble putting on races in the future."

Despite those major questions, a top SMI exec "expressed optimism about the company’s talks with the city."

Part of the site plans for the soccer stadium development "places a mixed-use apartment building and parking garage about 20 feet from the current front entrance to the racetrack."

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Promoter Tony Formosa said that a building in such close proximity "would make the flow of fans into and out of the stadium impossible."

A possible solution to the financing question "appears to be on the table with state legislation that would redirect tax revenue generated at future NASCAR-sanctioned races to help pay for upgrades at the racetrack"

10/12/18 The owner of Bristol Motor Speedway is in preliminary talks about holding two yearly NASCAR races at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, but the two sides appear no closer to a deal.

Tony Formosa, the longtime promoter of the fairgrounds racetrack, said Speedway Motorsports, the company that owns Bristol Motor Speedway, has expressed interest in holding a NASCAR Xfinity Series race and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the fairgrounds.

"If the Bristol deal matures, I think they're talking about two races," Formosa told the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners at the board's monthly meeting.

He said the two NASCAR races floated by Speedway Motorsports would be held over one weekend, but dates are unclear. He stressed that talks are still very early.

"I think everything is still very premature," he told The Tennessean. "We haven't even come close to reaching an (agreement).

The interest from Speedway Motorsports comes as The Fairgrounds Nashville is slated for a major overhaul with the addition of a new Major League Soccer stadium, tentatively set to open in 2021. The plan is for the speedway to remain and continue holding events. Tennessean

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