Nashville in talks with Bristol Motor Speedway to bring racing to Fairgrounds

Posted at 9:58 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 12:02:10-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The City of Nashville says it’s in talks with Bristol Motor Speedway to bring televised NASCAR racing to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. If the partnership comes to fruition, racing could begin as early as 2022.

According to a release from Mayor John Cooper’s Office, an agreement would preserve and upgrade Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and would also turn the track into a “significant money-making operation” for the fairgrounds.

“The racetrack can stop being a financial drain on taxpayers. Instead, it can generate positive cash flow and help fund community improvements at the racetrack, at the Fairgrounds and at Fair Park. This historic site can be a great, long-term asset for the community and the city,” Mayor John Cooper said.

The two parties will discuss the following:

  1. “management of the track to be potentially taken over by Bristol Motor Speedway”
  2. “shifting financial responsibility for track renovation and maintenance to Bristol Motor Speedway”
  3. “generation of additional revenue to the city through lease, rent and shared-event-revenue agreements”

The city’s goal is for the additional revenue to cover the capital cost of needed track repairs and upgrades, in addition to funding adjacent community and park improvements.

Metro says early priorities in the project include community engagement with neighbors surrounding the Fairgrounds, District 17 Metro Councilmember Colby Sledge and the Fair Board. Some of the proposed improvements include “noise mitigation, safety upgrades, more seating and the addition of auxiliary facilities.”

Improvements to the speedway would potentially be funded through ticket user fees and increased lease revenues from an improved facility. The city says a portion of ticket sales taxes, which would exclude the dedicated share of any ticket revenue reserved for Metro Nashville Public Schools, would also potentially fund improvements.

The speedway is the second-oldest operating motor speedway in the U.S., dating back to 1904.