The city of Nashville has been in NASCAR news a lot as of late.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series awards banquet will be moving to the city starting this year. In the meantime, discussion has heated up as to whether Speedway Motorsports, Inc. can get NASCAR to return to the Nashville Fairgrounds racetrack. If SMI is successful, it’ll be the first time an upper NASCAR division has visited the legendary oval since 2008 (Cup hasn’t raced there since 1984). And it’ll be the first time since 2011, when NASCAR raced at now-dormant Nashville Superspeedway, that the sport returns to Music City.
Throughout the process, people have been vocal on both sides of the NASCAR debate. But the fans on the pro-NASCAR Fairgrounds side have the potential to boost their argument this weekend. On Saturday, the ARCA Menards Series returns to Nashville for the fifth straight year.
Every year since 2015, the ARCA has run at Fairgrounds Speedway. But this year, more than ever, it’s an important way for fans to show support for NASCAR’s return. You may always hear that the best way to support your local short track is to attend it. Well, fans have the opportunity to do that on Saturday or Sunday (depending on if Mother Nature cooperates).
The crowd that’s turned out for ARCA racing at Nashville has been sour as of late. But poor attendance in recent years could largely be blamed on the weather. Three out of the last four years have seen colder than normal temperatures, making promotion more difficult with the race run early in April.
This year, ARCA worked to correct those issues by moving their event to the first weekend in May. But while the temperature looks good for tomorrow night (somewhere around 65 degrees) there’s another threat underway: severe weather. A 90% chance of thunderstorms may push the race back to sometime on Sunday.
Either way, if fans want NASCAR to return to Nashville, attendance for this race could play a large role. Remember, this stock car series is now owned by NASCAR. They may consider this weekend a sneak preview as to what attendance could be like with a larger division in town. SMI will be looking at this weekend’s event, including the grandstands and ticket sales, to guesstimate potential profitability going forward.
So if you’re a vocal supporters of a potential NASCAR return to Nashville, buy yourself a ticket. And if you aren’t in the Nashville area and want to support the event? MavTV is showing the race live if run as scheduled Saturday night.
If a combination of both ratings and attendance are high, that’ll send a message. It’s hard for both government and track ownership to ignore a full house.