WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time in 37 years, Middle Tennessee hosted the best and fastest drivers for a NASCAR Cup Series race. The Ally 400 also brought out thousands of racing fans, back out to Nashville Superspeedway for the first time since the track closed in 2011.
In every aspect of the race, it felt like the heat was on. There was pressure to get the pageantry right, for the drivers and pit crews to have the fastest car on the track. Then of course, there was the literal heat only Mother Nature can bring.
"It’s worth the steam to come out here, as long as you’ve got a lot of water, stay hydrated, put all your sun clothes on, you’re good to go, you have a good time," said Kevin Koloski, a NASCAR fan from Clarksville, Tenn.
But it also felt like the track itself was basking in the limelight. "Being this close, you can’t beat it," said Ronnie Conner, a racing fan from Fairview, Tenn.
For nearly ten years, there was nothing super about Nashville Superspeedway. It largely sat empty and races were given to other cities. "You know, we didn’t think it was coming back," said John Miller, a racing fan visiting from North Carolina.
But this weekend, the drivers and fans came roaring back. The Ally 400 was a total sellout, with 30,000 fans packing into the grandstands and infield to watch the race. "Oh my God Nashville, I’m glad the race is back here man," said Koloski.
NASCAR fans from both near and far seemed to lap it all up. "I can’t say enough about that feeling of just, you know, power that comes from the sound of the engine or people competing out in this hot sun," said Miller.
For the fans a few closer miles to home, they took pride in showing off our community. "Been a long time waiting on them to bring it back to Nashville, we’re really excited about it, us NASCAR fans, and we love it," said Koloski.
If it was up to the fans we spoke to, this red hot Sunday was just the first stage in a new era for Nashville Superspeedway. "It’s good to be back, it’s good to see NASCAR in Nashville," said Miller.
"They’ll fill the stands every time there’s a race here. Should have been done a long time ago," said Conner.
Kyle Larson took home the Les Paul Guitar, the Ally 400's Music City themed trophy. Racing will return to Middle Tennessee in August when the Music City Grand Prix races up downtown streets for Indy Car.