Nashville Mayor to Announce Deal to Bring NASCAR to Fairgrounds: Report

Joey Logano

Getty Joey Logano does burnouts in Nashville.

The return of NASCAR to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is within a reach. The Tennesseean has reported that Nashville Mayor John Cooper will announce a deal between the city and Bristol Motor Speedway officials that would bring NASCAR to the fan-favorite .596-mile short track in the heart of the city.

According to The Tennessean’s Mike Organ, the announcement of the deal is expected to take place during the NASCAR trip to Music City for the annual awards celebration. Though this deal will need the approval of the Board of Fair Commissioners and Metropolitan Council.

If the two entities grant their approval for NASCAR’s return, Bristol Motor Speedway will agree to a long-term contract to operate the historic short track. They would also assume the financial responsibility for track renovations, operation costs, and maintenance with the Metro Council issuing up to $50 million in bonds for renovations.

Speedway Motorsports unveiled a $60 million renovation plan to the Metro Council in May 2021. According to NBC Sports, the list of proposed changes included expanding the seating capacity from 15,000 to 30,000 and expanding the concourse. The renovation plan also included the addition of premium seating, pedestrian tunnels, and sound barriers.

42 Cup Series Races Took Place at Nashville Speedway

Now the home of regional races, the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway once served as the site of high-profile battles between NASCAR Cup Series stars. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, and many others took part in the 42 Cup races at the short track.

Joe Weatherly won the first-ever Cup Series race at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which took place on August 10, 1958. Geoffrey Bodine won the last, which took place on July 14, 1984. Though Petty won the most races at the track, taking the checkered flag on nine occasions.

While the Cup Series stopped racing at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 1984, the Truck Series and Xfinity Series both held events until the year 2000. Randy LaJoie won the final Xfinity Series — known as the Busch Grand National Series at the time — while driving the No. 28 Chevrolet. Randy Tolsma won the final Truck Series race while driving the No. 25 Dodge.

The Camping World SRX Series Took On the Fairgrounds Speedway

2021 featured some active and retired NASCAR drivers taking on the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, albeit in different race cars. They suited up for the Camping World SRX Series finale, which Chase Elliott won after a battle with his dad, Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart.

The field also featured several other big names from multiple racing series, including Michael Waltrip, Hailie Deegan, Helio Castroneves, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, Ernie Francis Jr., Bobby Labonte, Marco Andretti, and Tony Kanaan.

There were weather concerns heading toward the main event, but fans still flocked to the grandstands to see these motorsport icons battle. They watched as the Elliotts jockeyed for position for the majority of the feature event before Chase took the lead for good. Stewart passed his fellow Hall of Famer for third place and secured the inaugural SRX championship trophy.

“To me, it was a great night. My hat’s off to everyone at SRX for what they did and I’m proud of those guys,” Bill Elliott said after the main event, per Racer. “I just hope that we, as a racing community, can embrace this and learn from it, especially what we saw here tonight at the Nashville Fairgrounds. I haven’t seen a crowd like this here in many, many years.”

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