NASCAR returns to Nashville Superspeedway on June 24-26 after its first tripleheader weekend in 2021. This previous trip served as a successful test run for Speedway President Erik Moses and his staff, and now they can look ahead to building an even better, fan-centric experience for the future.
“I like to say last year we were building the plane while flying it,” Moses told Heavy during an interview on February 15. “And while there’s still some of that going on this year, you know, at least we got both the wings on and the tail is there. There are seats in the plane. It is not what it will be a year from now, two years, three years, etc., but we’ve got some experience and that certainly makes us feel a lot better.”
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Moses remains hard at work putting plans in place for a memorable weekend. There are several discussions taking place about the potential performers for pre-race concerts and other special events for the attendees, and the Nashville Superspeedway staff is using all of its connections to ensure that there are some big names taking part in the race weekend.
The Nashville Superspeedway president was in attendance for the first-ever Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum, and he witnessed the unique atmosphere created by NASCAR. New fans headed to the football stadium for a packed day of racing, as well as special performances by Ice Cube and Pitbull, and they responded with massive amounts of energy.
“If I could bottle that, that’s kind of what we’re going for in Nashville,” Moses said. “We’re obviously a destination. We’re a place — to your point earlier — where people expect entertainment and big names and compelling entertainment. And so we want to be able to capture some of that and we want to bring in our traditional fanbase. The people who have made our sport what it is over the last several decades.
“But we also want to introduce this fantastic sport to new fans and the people who never thought that they would come to a NASCAR race. Never thought that they would have any interest in our sport. We want to open their eyes up to what a great sport it is and how much fun they can have at the track.”
A Diverse Crowd & Incredible Energy Will Remain a Focus
The grandstands were packed for the inaugural Ally 400 in June 2021 as fans headed to Lebanon to watch Kyle Larson win another race in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. However, the roughly 40,000 in attendance were not all longtime fans of NASCAR.
The crowds at Nashville Superspeedway featured people from numerous backgrounds. Soldiers from nearby Fort Campbell received an up-close look at the garage area while college students and local citizens curious about racing took in their first races from the grandstands. They sat among the NASCAR faithful, many of which wore merchandise for Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and several other top drivers.
While there was a noticeable split between newcomers and diehards, it did not lead to friction. Instead, those well-versed in NASCAR provided some important information about stage racing, cautions, slide jobs, and other factors while helping create new fans.
“Those people love this sport,” Moses added. “And guess what people who love something want to do. They want to share it with other people. They want other people to love the thing that they love and that’s the real opportunity that we have.”
This trend of adding crowd members from various backgrounds will remain a focus for Moses, as will maintaining the level of energy from the 2021 race weekend. Securing top talent for pre-race concerts is one part of the equation, and Moses has no shortage of options in the Music City area ranging from country to hip hop or rock.
Moses & His Staff Will Address ‘Pain Points’
The first race weekend at Nashville Superspeedway was a success. All three races had impressive performances by top drivers, and the fans expressed their appreciation for stock car racing’s return to the 1.33-mile track. However, there were some “pain points” that Moses and his staff will address ahead of the 2022 race weekend.
One particular point of discussion prior to the Ally 400 was the traffic outside of Lebanon, Tenn. There were thousands of fans trying to reach the track at the same time, and they had to wait for a considerable amount of time before parking and heading toward the grandstands.
Moses is aware of these past problems, and he is taking steps to address them. Namely, he is working with local authorities while also making changes to the parking procedures.
“This was more like pre-COVID,” Moses said. “We had 40,000 People descending on Sunday to the same place at the same time, generally. And you know that causes kind of a traffic jam. So we’ll work more closely with our public safety partners to work on our traffic plan and to make some improvements there.
“We’ve also decided not to charge for parking when you come into the facility. That will speed things up. So we’ve added a parking fee to all of our tickets, because you still need the help. Right? You still need the labor, you still need the people who can help folks to drive. So there is an expense there, but we’ve decided to add a $5 surcharge to every ticket rather than charge people $10 or $20 to park so they can get in faster. And we think that will help one of the major pain points that we had last year. Other than that $5 fee, we have kept pricing level. We haven’t changed pricing other than that $5 parking surcharge.”
Tickets for the tripleheader weekend at Nashville Superspeedway are now available to the general public. Fans can make their purchases at NashvilleSuperSpeedway.com or by calling 866-RACE-TIX for details.